On Monday I was lucky enough to attend the inaugural #TheCakeProfessionalsAwards as a Regional Winner! I did the usual checklist before going... ordering 5,000 'black-tie' dresses to try on, crying when they all looked rubbish (we all do that right?!), finding the cheapest nearby hotel to stay in and wondering whether I should actually pay three times the cost to stay at the hotel where the awards were held!
Well after finally settling on a very subtle, blend into the background bright red jumpsuit and inviting my lovely cakey friend Jo to come with me, I discovered to my dismay that I needed to send in a photo of myself for the awards brochure - cringe! I hate all photos of myself! Cue an hour of caking on make up (see what I did there?) and then another 40 minutes trying to take a photo where I didn't look like A) a meat head B) smug or C) showing off my rather attractive resting-bitch-face. I finally picked a photo and HEAVILY edited it - smoothing this and highlighting that! Job done.
My subtle red jumpsuit and my Regional Win certificate (oh and my shiny face - it was the end of the night to be fair!)
On the night of the awards Jo and I got ready and headed to the venue. Jo asked if I was nervous with my cake being up for a national award but weirdly I wasn't. I wasn't expecting to win anything more and was more than happy with my regional win. I was more nervous about not fitting in amongst all these cakey people I admired and followed.
At the awards we walked in to a beautiful room with glasses of fizz, people dressed to the nines and a string quartet playing modern songs in the background (very cool!) Oh my word I have never felt so out of my depth. Luckily we saw some other cakey people we knew - Zoe of Zoe's Fancy Cakes and Rhianydd Webb of Dragons and Daffodils. We chatted to them and then mingled.
Jo and I meeting the lovely Phil and Christine
Cherish Finden - super lovely!
The awards themselves started an hour later and were so much fun, very professional but also really funny and entertaining. It was such a good night. After a fab Q&A with the amazing #CherishFinden - who is so lovely and really funny - baker of the year was announced and then it was my category - Sculpted Cakes. The six regional winners were announced and up popped photos of us all on the huge screen. OH MY GOD!! There is my heavily edited face now 6ft tall on the big screen with the lighting so bright and smoothed compared to everyone else!!! Hahaha! Remind me not to go into photo-shopping as a second career!
Look at that photo!!
The winner of the national award actually went to my favourite cake of the category and this was also later announced as the cake of the year too - well done to Lindsay Ross of Cake by Lindsay Ross for this amazing achievement.
After the ceremony it was more bubbles and mingling. It was lovely to meet some cakey people I have followed for a long time including hosts Phil and Christine of Peboryon and Rob Baker-Gall of Mr Baker's Cakes.
More fizz and lots of giggles later, my feet were about to fall off (I live in flats or flip-flops so heels do not agree with me) so me and Jo being the absolute hardcore rock stars we are, headed back to our room for a nice cuppa!
The awards were so much fun and I will definitely enter again in the future but I promised tell you the story behind the cake that got me there.
The cake that saw me snag a regional win was the camera cake! I was soooo excited to get this order. I was contacted by a lovely lady - Lizzie - who wanted a cake for her dad's upcoming 70th birthday. She had a few ideas based on his hobbies - one of which was photography. After some discussion of ideas we settled on the idea of the cake itself being a camera and we would base it on the make and model he owned. We decided to put an edible image of the birthday boy when he was a child in the ‘lcd screen’ on the back of the camera and have the birthday message along the camera strap. Oh my god I was excited!
I was also terrified... it was my first sculpted cake! I got planning right away thinking of how to best make the cake, drew out templates and worked out what I was going to do. When the time came to make the cake I baked the layers and started layering, filling and carving to shape.
Hmmmm... problem! The cake was too small. I wasn’t happy with it. It looked fine and I was quite a way into the process but it just wasn’t right. Cake for dinner it was then and I started again.
I baked a bigger cake and more of it. I remade my templates to fit the increased size. Second time round - perfect! Much more of an acceptable amount of cake! I wasn’t going to make much money on this cake now but at least it would be good! I enjoyed decorating the cake. It was so much fun making the textures look realistic and getting all the little details that I’d found when researching the actual camera (who knew it was so hard to find a picture of a camera from a birds eye view?!) It took so much longer to decorate than I had anticipated so definitely wasn’t going to make any money on this one but put that down to experience and would remember for next time. When it was done I was really pleased and hoped Lizzie and her dad would love it too. On the date requested I packaged the cake up and delivered it to Lizzie. She was ecstatic with it! It made my night!
The cake that got me to the awards!
On the way home I was so tired and thinking I was really looking forward to getting home, getting in my pjs and chilling out on the sofa. I was also starving as hadn’t had dinner yet (fab hubby had it in the oven though so all was looking good for a chilled out evening!) I was almost home when my drivers side wheel clipped the kerb and when I say clipped I mean ran at it at high speed on a dual carriageway and rammed into it! It immediately blew the tyre! I’d like to say at this point that the path stuck out into the road suddenly and there should’ve been one of those light barrier things there but it was missing (presumably knocked down by someone else who drove into the sticky out road!) Anyway I immediately pulled over (unable to go anywhere without said tyre) and phoned my husband. As soon as he answered I burst into tears and the first thing I said was "I don’t know what happened I’ve just hit something...’ He thought I’d hit a person!
After he calmed me down, hubby phoned the breakdown company for me (yes I was a useless damsel in distress and he was my knight in shining pyjamas at home saving me!) I had to wait an hour and half for them to come and they dragged my car home broken and un-fixable. I had to buy a new tyre and pay to have someone come out to fit it at home.
So underestimating the time the cake would take, under-sizing it to begin with and £150 new tyre later I definitely made no money on this cake! In fact I lost quite a lot on it - I’m such a good business woman! BUT... I still loved that cake! It’s one of the cakes I’m most proud of and it allowed me to push myself and challenge myself by doing something I had never done before. And it certainly proved it’s worth after the event getting me regional winner at The Cake Professionals Awards. So not everything always goes to plan with cakes but I’ll always keep going until I get it right and sometimes I do just get a bit caught up in the enjoyment of making them! And you never know, each cake may just go on to bring you something fabulous later on... whether that's a recommendation or an award or just an opportunity to meet some new amazing cakey friends!
The Cake Professionals Awards