Why should I take a cake to the cake show?


So many times I hear people say that they don’t think they are good enough to enter a cake at a judged cake competition.  “I just do it for fun.”  “I would never win.”  “Next year, I will think about it.”  This is incredibly frustrating for show organizers and judges.  There are a few really good reasons for why you NEED to take a cake with you the next time you attend a cake show.

First, cake shows will die if people don’t enter.  A couple of shows have experienced real pangs in the last year as people did not sign up to bring cakes or as they waited until the last minute and showed up with an unregistered cake.  Cake shows aren’t cheap to host.  The show directors have to book the hall, rent tables, linens, and so much more.  They have to buy ribbons and awards.  They do this on the assumption that cakes will come.  I know you like to come look at the cakes; we all do.  But if people don’t bring cakes, the shows cannot cover their expenses and they will have to host shows less frequently, if at all.

Second, it doesn’t matter if you’re going to win a ribbon.  If you are entering to win an award, you may have already lost.  If you enter to push yourself to try a new technique or to get that cake out of your head to make room for the next one…you have already won!  Sure, the ribbons and awards are nice and it is incredibly wonderful to be recognized in that manner, but when you go home…it is you and the cake.  If you have done your best and feel like you worked at the level to which you are capable, then you have succeeded.  If you taught yourself a new technique, you won.  If you tried something you learned in a class, you won.  If you got to use that cutter or veiner or mold you’ve been dying to use, then you won.  This is about stretching yourself to your limits so that you become a better, more well rounded decorator.

Third, you have been given a talent and you have an obligation to share that talent.  Artists and creative people make the world more beautiful.  I promise you that if you bring a cake, you will hear someone ooh and aah over it at the show.  Even when I personally have found a cake unattractive, I’ve heard the person behind me go nuts for the same cake!  We don’t all have the same taste, so don’t worry about if everyone will love it.  Just make sure that you love it and share the cake with the world.  You will make someone’s day when they see your cake…isn’t that truly the best reward?

Finally, think about how cool that cake is going to look on your facebook page or web site!  Your friends are going to post all over your timeline telling you how awesome you are and how no one decorates as great as you.  You get to be their sugar hero.  Put on your cape and get that cake ready for the show!

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14 thoughts on “Why should I take a cake to the cake show?

  1. Very good summery . As a Show Chair and Founder of Florida ICED, along with our great committee, we hear these words all the time. They say, “Next year, or I am not good enough. We have all started in the same place. I love competing and whether I win or not, I always learn something new to make myself better. The bottom line is supporting cake shows, so they can keep coming back every year! It is so much work and cost to have a great show. So thanks Ruth for a great outline of why you should jump in with both feet and get sugar all over you:)

  2. You said it all…. It’s exciting and scary at the same time to enter a cake in a show, expecially for the 1st time. Can’t wait to see all the new creations at the Ocala show this month.

    • Jeanene, can’t wait for you to come and share! We must all remember, we got into cakes for the passion, art, learning, and making friends to last a life time! See you there! Thanks for your support!

  3. I would have felt left out if I had went to KC without a cake- first time for a show and loved the experience, and the un-biased opinion for feedback on the judging. I think everyhting I tried was firsts:first wired flowers, first tall tiers, first use of copper tubing, …might as well go a little crazy and have fun:)

  4. Ruth. Ruth. Ahhhhhhh. Ruth…… You are awesome. This is not my world, as you know, but what you have said is perfect. There is nothing more I can say. Perfect.

  5. Ruth, you’ve once again demonstrated why you’re one of my heroes. What a great first blog entry! I’m looking forward to keeping up with your blog and newsletter. Keep up the great work and keep stoking the fire under everyone!

  6. First – I am not a ‘cake’ person, but I have no choice about having one foot in the business (not sure why… LOL). And sorry – I’m a bit long-winded today…

    Although I’m an outsider, I have been to cake shows large and small and I’ve seen a few universal facts.

    Every decorator I’ve spoken with at a competition:
    – who did not bring an entry, vocally regrets not having done so
    – who brought a entry ONLY to win a prize, has been disappointed at some point

    Every decorator I’ve spoken with at a competition who brought an entry because they love the art and want to learn and/or improve their skills are:
    – always walking around smiling and absorbing ideas and inspirations for their future
    – the decorators most likely to encourage new-comers to enter the next show
    – truly amazed, sometimes to the point of tears, when they hear or realize their own cake is an inspiration for another decorator

    So, if you are a decorator, please take at least one entry to the next cake show nearest you. And while you are there please do yourself a favor… take a few minutes away from looking at the cakes and really look at the people at the show. Look for the smiles. Look for the amazement. And especially, look for the ‘light-bulbs’ turning on in another decorators head because this, the inspiration, is where the future of every cake show resides.

  7. Dear Ruth

    Thanks for the list. I really enjoyed taking a class with you at the Connecticut Cake show. (By the way, my dog ate the Zari Embroidery – apparently he likes really old fondant!).

    Anyway, Connecticut was the first cake show I ever attended, and when I was there, I sure wished that I had entered a cake. But for me the problem was that I had driven 3,5 hours to the cake show from Vermont (I live almost up at the Canadian border) and the organizers of the show require cakes to be there Saturday morning by 9:30am and then they can’t be taken away until Sunday at 5pm. For me that would mean at least another night in the hotel to make the 9:30am deadline, and then wait it out until 5pm on Sunday or even go home without my cake.

    I understand that the organizers need the cakes there to show to the public, but maybe if they adjusted the hours a bit, then it would be possible for decorators who live farther away to enter as well?

    Nevertheless, I had a great time and already thought up a cake that I want to enter next year. Now I can’t wait for next year 🙂

    Regards,
    Barbara

  8. I am so glad I learned about this post through The North Texas Cake Show. I was extremely anxious about entering and after I entered I was anxious about the outcome. However, it turned out to be a blast. As I continue to mature and grow I learn. You put it in real perspective. Win, lose or draw my voice was heard in my cake and my soul spoke. Thanks

  9. I Agree Ruth! I know it’s scary the first time you enter a show to put yourself out there but that is your win! Winning isn’t everything- winning or losing inspires you to work harder on your next cake or learn a new technique. We live in a society that is sometimes too winning oriented, I have learned sometimes more at a cake show by not winning and hearing the judges comments, that is my favorite part is to see what they liked and what they thought i could improve on. I remember people by the cake they made at certain shows, i always remember the pink/white/gold heart cake you made for one of my first Austin shows. That cake was truly amazing! I still have it on my camera feed! I only got to speak with you for a moment in Austin but love your blogs!
    🙂 Bren

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