On April 9 I had the ULTIMATE pleasure of competing in an invitation only cake competition at the Southern Women’s Show at the Nashville Convention Center. The contest was sponsored by the devastatingly handsome and extremely talented Clint Redwine from Mix 92.9, the always fun and amazingly wise Kathy Wise Gentry of Sweetwise Cake and Candy Supplies, and the tiny piece of fast-talking dynamite Michelle “she’s the Bomb bomb bomb” Bommarito from Michelle Bommarito LLC of Detroit, Michigan, and also viewed frequently on the Food Network’s Cake Challenges.
If you have EVER read my blogs you know I’m a HUGE fan of Michelle. Hanging with Michelle is like hanging out with my own little superhero. She’s infectious but not like a disease. Her huge grin and fast talking puts me at ease. She’s full of positive comments and helpful hints and she makes me feel good about being ME. She thinks if you choose to do a project you should tackle it full force and make it the best project you have ever done. As a cake artist she has taught me to never let my cake control me and has helped me put more love and inspiration into every cake I create. She encourages only positive attitudes, never negative, when working on a wedding cake, as you want ONLY love and positive vibes to reflect in that couple’s first shared dessert of their married life. How can you not love a person that teaches that?!
Only because I must move on, I was pleased to be competing with my fellow cake artists and friends, Stephanie Felts of The Sweetest Day and Carolyn King Pennekamp of Royal Icing. Stephanie had previously competed in a live competition and knocked it out of the park-she’s always up for something new and exciting. Carolyn and I had never been involved with a live competition but we were ready for anything. We were given the theme of “Spring Garden” but we could do anything we wanted to involving that theme. We were given 3 cake dummies of any size or shape we wanted, 10 lbs of FondX that we could color before we showed up for the competition and a 10 x 10 x 6 cake box to put any extra gumpaste or fondant items in to use on our projects. We were allowed to be creative with the cake base and get it ready ahead of time as well as we only had 90 minutes for the competition. In the cake world, that is like 5 minutes. Literally. Cakes take HOURS and sometimes WEEKS to prepare, especially if it is to have gumpaste flowers, an edible topper, etc.
I had decided to do a three tier tulip garden, wrapping each fondant covered tier with a white picket fence. I painstakingly handcut 100 picket fence pieces only to find out on the day of competition there is actually a fondant cutter that does that!! Oh, well…next time. I prepared the gumpaste tulips ahead of time so they could properly dry. I made some leaves and ivy and intended to make an ivy trail down my fence. Alas, I ran out of time so the ivy was placed a little more sporadically though nobody knew that (until now-God bless blogging-HA!).
Stephanie is not much of a gardener and decided her cake should reflect her gardening ability. She made a large bag of potting soil with a flower pot on top and a crispy rice treat mole sticking out with a daffodil on his head. It was SO cute I wished I had been as creative!
Carolyn had lost her mother only 10 days prior to competition and decided that her mother would have wanted her to go on. She buried her mother in the Garden of Time and her cake reflected all things in remembrance of her. She used a garden bench as her base with a book that her father had written, a gardening bag with her mother’s initials, and her mother’s gardening hat and tools. It was a beautiful tribute and I’m pleased to say she won the competition with the strongest audience vote.
During the competition Michelle, Kathy, and Clint were asking us questions every so often and checking in as they demonstrated some techniques we were using on the White Lily flour stage. It was a FUN and exciting afternoon. I had such a great time and I thank Kathy for giving me the opportunity to participate and anxiously await the next time!