Having lived in the central Florida region for quite a few years now (especially considering the time I spent here in college), it's amazing that I never got around to entering the cake competition at the Central Florida Fair. Despite my procrastinating ways, though, this year, I finally entered!
And of course, I had to feature some sugar flowers in my design. I worked on the flowers for this cake for about three months. It was pretty cool to be able to create some new designs for my Etsy shop in tandem with working on my show cake! The ranunculus, tulips, and orchids are all for sale now as custom orders.
My other favorite cake decoration technique is piping, so of course I featured a lot of that! I love the delicate and intricate look of the stringwork. I've taken some piping classes with Kathleen Lange and Barb Evans before, but I'm always itching to learn more and practice more! Those ladies do phenomenal work, and it's so inspiring to be able to learn from them.
I chose black fondant as my backdrop to highlight the bright, bold colors of the flowers, and the delicate detailed work of the strings and piping. As it usually happens when I'm working on a show cake, I ended up doing a lot of the work at the last minute. My plan was to finish at least a week ahead of schedule in order to give myself room for error. And it was a good thing I did!
The cakes were entered the week after Valentine's Day, which was so hectic at work! On top of that, I had car trouble, too! Ran over something on the interstate and got a flat tire. There went an entire day's worth of work (but I'm very lucky there wasn't more damage and no one got hurt!) And of course, I wanted to spend Valentine's Day with my boyfriend and make him a cheesecake. But instead I spent the day working on my cake and he got the cheesecake 2 weeks later. What a trooper!
Despite the occasional pitfalls, and the design options that I changed my mind about (repeatedly) throughout the process, I really enjoyed working on this cake. It's my third attempt at competing, and I really relish being able to challenge myself and stretch my skills.
I haven't gone back to the fair yet to check out the results, but win or lose, I know I did my best and I'm proud of my efforts.
Quick Update! I'm happy to say that I finally went back to the fair to see how I did, and I won first place! I'm so excited! It's so cool to see all that hard work pay off. :) And I'm so grateful for all the support and encouragement I got from everyone along the way. I seriously could never even attempted this without my cheerleaders! And now of course I've got my eyes set on the next competition, so there's no time to rest. I'm already thinking of things I can do better than the last few times!