The Cake That Would Not Quit!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Squeeeeeel! I'm beyond happy and excited... they picked my cake!!!

This is the cake that would not quit...  I say this because several times during it's construction I tried to quit, not finish it, and just walk away!  

Last year Cake Central held a "Wedding Cake of the Year" contest. They ended up choosing 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners plus 4 Honorable Mentions. I was fortunate enough to be one of the Honorable Mention cakes they published in their magazine! Squeeeeeeel (again)!

The grand prize for this contest was worth $2000, so I figured there would be a million entries. (OK, so that's an exaggerated number, but I'm sure there were a lot!) I debated for several months whether or not to even enter... but eventually convinced myself that it was a great opportunity. My only goal was to try and get published in their magazine.

The contest deadline was November 30th, but by mid November I was not as far along as I'd hoped. A few days before Thanksgiving I realized I had a decision to make:  Either spend the entire holiday weekend pushing myself to get this cake done; or quit, relax, and just enjoy the time with my family. I decided to enjoy the time with my family..... so no cake.

A few days after Thanksgiving, Cake Central announced that the deadline had been moved back to December 31st. "Wow!" I thought, "Maybe I can finish this cake after all." I'd already invested a lot of time into the design and making the gumpaste flowers. So I made up my mind to give it another shot.

For the next couple of weeks I worked on the cake whenever I could. But December can be very unpredictable, and my Christmas shopping didn't go as planned. Well, everything that could go wrong... did go wrong. UGH! December's deadline was creeping up on me too fast, and I was waaaaaaay behind schedule. So once again... I debated whether I should even try to finish.

Several days later I drove to my local cake decorating store to buy more tylose and food coloring. While there, I walked past the cake dummies and checked to see what they had. The store was low on supplies and didn't have what I needed. I already knew that there wasn't enough time to order dummies online. So it just confirmed to me that I wouldn't be able to finish my cake. I have to admit that I felt a little sad but realized it was out of my hands.

As I was checking out, the store employee asked if I'd found everything I needed? At first I said yes, but then stopped and told her that I couldn't find cake dummies in the right sizes. She mentioned that they'd be getting a new shipment in right after the first of the year. I explained to her that I was entering a contest and needed the dummies before January. She thought for a minute... then said she wanted to go check in the back to see what was there.

A couple of minutes later she returned carrying 2 cake dummies in her arms. She said, "It's your lucky day! The only dummies we had left were the exact sizes you need!" Wow! I thought to myself. This must be a sign... maybe I'm supposed to finish this crazy cake after all. LOL! 

I went home that day determined to finish. After working very hard and putting in some extra time... my cake was finally done! This was on December 31st... the last day. I quickly set up a backdrop and lighting then started taking pictures. After finishing the photos, I looked at the clock and it was 5:00 pm. Whew! What a feeling of relief... I was finally done. Best of all, I was very happy with the end result!

I had 7 hours left to send my information to their website. "That's plenty of time." I said to myself. So I began uploading my pictures... but there was a problem. It wasn't working! I tried and tried for quite a while but with no luck!!!  Something was wrong. By this time I was getting frantic! I'd been through so much with this cake. Now if I couldn't enter the contest because of a computer glitch??? I didn't even want to think about it!

After a bazillion attempts, (OK... I'm exaggerating again but that's what it felt like!) I decided to email Cake Central explaining my problem. All I could do now was sit back and wait as the clock ticked closer and closer to the midnight deadline!

Finally, after waiting a couple of hours (It seemed like a lifetime!), I received an email back. They sent me instructions with an alternate way to submit my information. So I tried once again and... Voila! Upload successful! OH HAPPY DAY!!!  ;D

Starting to put it all together.

 The cake had to be at least 18" high. So they wanted a picture of me, with a ruler, showing the height.

 To help the judges remember my cake, I needed to find a way to make it standout from the others. 
So I decided to push the limits with the color scheme.

Lime green, burgundy, and coral... not colors I would normally put together. In fact, I was very worried about how the cake would look once everything was assembled. It wasn't until I'd completely finished that I felt it pulled together and actually "worked".

I wanted to add an elegant Victorian influence to the design. So I made an old fashioned broach, used a damask design, and finished the detail with dragees and a few mini flowers.

Cabbage roses, tea roses, green cymbidium orchids, hydrangeas, green daisies, berries, and filler flowers. Just in case you're wondering... Yes, it took a long time to make all these flowers!

The little medallions that go around the outside of the two shorter layers were made from white chocolate pearls and silver dragees. I think I started seeing double after making them!

 I was so happy with the end result. Seeing the cake turn out as I'd hoped was a great feeling. If I hadn't finished decorating it, I probably would have kicked myself forever!

The cake in Cake Central Magazine.


  1. Great job Judy! What a story you've got there, but it was worth it, no? Love the cake! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Thank goodness you didn't give up - it is just beautiful.
    Well done indeed Judy - again you have CREATED.....

    And may i say.... CONGRATULATIONS on your placing - and being published - how thrilling and soothing for you all at the same time.

    I love it - love the colours -so vibrant - so crisp -

    Maxine x

  3. AnneMarie- It was definitely worth it! If I hadn't finished... the "what if's" would have haunted me forever!

    Maxine- Thanks so much


  4. Love it! I just showed Matt and he was impressed, too. He said I should start making cakes like that and buffer his income. Men.

  5. Oh my goodness. That is a work of art. Great story too !

  6. That is the most beautiful cake I have ever seen! Well done. You were always "that good," now the world gets to know that too.


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