When I started learning about cake decorating and sugar art over 8 years ago the furthest thing in my mind was actually attempting to compete or attending more classes. I had already completed the four Wilton Method Courses offered at a local craft retailer. I was still learning but decided to give it a try and entered a Wilton Castle Cake contest. It was the most stressful thing I ever did. I made a lot of mistakes that I learned from along the way. One was the fact that if the only requirement is a picture to be posted use Styrofoam cake dummies and not real cake. I have a great picture of a real cake that took so long to decorate the cake was inedible in the end and was promptly thrown out after the picture was taken. My kids were disappointed because we couldn’t eat it.
I was hooked though. I continued on making birthday, anniversary, retirement and a few small wedding cakes. Then I took an even bigger plunge into cake decorating and became a Wilton Method Instructor. I was an instructor for four years and did very well took a break for a couple of years and recently signed back up to start teaching again. As time went on my interests also turned to sugar art along with cake decorating. Sugar art is amazing and the things I’ve seen created have been so awe-inspiring. I continued on finding cake websites, magazines and more people to gain inspiration from and also continued to enter online competitions. The most exciting day happened in 2013 when I entered an Inspiration Challenge on the Cake Central website and my cupcakes won. A picture of my cupcakes are now forever in their April 2014 issue.
It was thrilling to say the least. 2013 is the same year I became brave enough to enter the Oklahoma State Sugar Art Show and also signed up to be a volunteer that year. I met so many more like minded people who enjoy this art form either as a hobby and some have made it their careers. It continues to inspire me to learn more and get better. The competition itself is an awesome experience that I always encourage others to enter or give it a try. I did receive a blue ribbon in 2015 for my chocolate bag entry but being the self-deprecating person I am , I didn’t feel it was an honest win since I was the only one entered into that category but as another cake friend told me “A win is a win”. Yeah but this upcoming year, I’m entering into a categories where hopefully there will be more competition than just me. 🙂 I still hung up my ribbon on the wall next to the other awards I earned while in the military. The one thing I appreciate the most is the comment cards from the judges at the competition. Finding out what they did or didn’t like and the fact that they are the best cake decorators and sugar artists out there only aids in gaining knowledge to grow more as I go along.
It has been surreal to receive recognition from others for some of the work I’ve done because they liked what I created or it inspired them. I’ve never been comfortable with receiving compliments and sometimes feel embarrassed but I’m slowly learning to how to be more receptive to praise in whatever form it comes in. It’s all a learning experience that I hopefully will continue to grow from.
Classes are an important aspect in learning anything new. In a previous post I wrote about being fortunate enough to be able to attend a few classes over the last few years in my pursuit of more cake knowledge and skills. Most were hands on demonstrations hosted by the local ICES chapter in an event called the Day of Sharing as well as a local event called Fun with Sugar. Both of these normally host a variety of people within the industry that give their time and talents to keep the knowledge going. They have been reasonably priced and also afforded the ability to buy products not available locally that would normally have to be ordered online. I encourage anyone new to this art form to attend a class in person because you can have the person right there to ask questions. If that isn’t possible there are some wonderful sites that offer tutorials or classes that can be purchased or some are free. I will post in another entry a listing of some my favorites.
To conclude this post I have included a picture montage of some of the things I created in these demonstrations and classes as well as some my competition entries.
Have a happy Tuesday!