May 11

My First Cake Competition : #1 The Lead Up.





Yes, its all happening and I am getting the nerves already … and the competition isn’t even happening for another 4 weeks!


R has been a darling. He came home from work one day and shows me a flyer ~ the American Bookstore round the corner is celebrating their 40th anniversary and they are having a birthday cake competition. R felt it would be an excellent start for me to challenge myself and for me to push my boundaries. The goal is to produce a multi-layered cake. The catch is … I have never made a layered cake before. Nothing like being thrown in to the deep end of the pool to get you’re creative juices flowing, eh?





So I have decided that we’re going to make the competition cake out of chocolate, red velvet or a classic vanilla white ~ whichever suits best. Style of cake really depends on my abilities. I have never made a tiered cake before but I am determined to give it my best shot. I’d like to say I work best under pressure, so it can’t get any better than this. Am going to have to come up with some sketch ideas, but I am fairly sure I want to do either a cupcake tower (priority #1) or a 3-tier cake ~ which is plan B.  *squeal!!*



It’s all well and good in the style department, but I’m not so lucky in the colour scheme arena. I wanted to have a plain white cake with lots of pastels accentuating the rim and borders, possibly some swags of spring flowers … etc. But R has other ideas. He is convinced that I should do the cake in the colours of the bookstore, namely red, white and blue, for extra brownie points. I am still undecided. I mean I want my cake looking gorgeous and unique … not like the 4th of July or a home-coming cake for US troops. Then he said I should also re-create the store’s logo out of icing. Sigh. I dunno … I seriously want to be unique and not have my cake looking like a corporate commissioned cake. Over the past few days I have had visions (of grandeur??) of elegantly stencilled cakes, dotted with pearls and sugared flowers; pastel pinks & lavender.



I will be the first to admit that I am no sugar crafter … hence why I am NOT confident about making the bookstore logo. It is my belief that if you’re going to do something, you gotta do it well. If you can’t guarantee it’s going to come out well … choose something else to do. Having said that I do think R has a point (about the logo) and I am going to have to try and trace out this design on a piece of glass.






R has been very, very, VERY supportive of this venture. He has been offering feedback and suggestions (many of which I have ungraciously pooh-poohed) all week long. The prize money is pretty crap, but its not the money we are after ~ we want the publicity. First place winner gets their cake featured in ELLE foodie magazine along with an interview with its creator.



Initially I was taking things pretty easy and I was thinking of being a lot less competitive ….> a simple 2-tier chocolate cake surrounded by white chocolate cigarelloes and a satin ribbon would be my contribution …. and then I read the actual rules and regulations.  *cringe*  NO INEDIBLE COMPONENTS ALLOWED!!


Rules and Regulations:

  1. All entries in the Birthday Cake Competition MUST be received by the pre-registration date of Monday May 21st, 2012 at 1:00pm. Entries will not be accepted after this date.
  2. Entry is limited to one cake per person.
  3. All parts of the cake must be edible. All cakes must be presented on a disposable tray or platter.
  4. The American Book Center cannot be held responsible for cakes or display material. Every precaution will be taken to ensure that your cake is handled with care for the judging.
  5. Judging will take place behind closed doors.
  6. The decisions of the judges will be final.
  7. The Show Committee and the judges reserve the right to disqualify displays that, at their discretion, are in poor taste or fail to adhere to these rules.
  8. After judging, the remaining cake will be sold at our Charity Bake Sale on the Spui in Amsterdam.
  9. Prizes will be distributed during the Prize Ceremony. If you cannot attend the ceremony, please make arrangements for someone to collect your prize should you win.
  10. Entries may be photographed and photos used by The American Book Center for promotional purposes. The winners may be requested to make themselves available for promotion or publicity photography for the American Book Center website or blog.
  11. The American Book Center reserves the right to adapt the nature of the competition due to unforeseen circumstances.

Any entry that does not adhere to the abovementioned rules and regulations will not be judged.

The top 15 finalists will be judged by a professional jury, including world-renowned pastry chef Cees Holtkamp, Elle Eten magazine’s Lieke Sniekers, and Amsterdam chef and entrepreneur Philippe Jacobsz.




So it’s a little bit more serious than I had anticipated … yikes! I have got to get my act together and bring my A game.







Today R took me shopping for baking supplies. I don’t bake tiered cakes so I did not even have a 6″ round cake tin. No rolling pin either! But all these issues were addressed today as I stormed the craft shop for items. Baking has really taken off in this country, as I am sure it has around the world; more and more baking supplies are filling the shelves. Everywhere you look the cupcake craze has taken hold. Brilliant!!



Here is a list of everything I had to get today :

  • Rolling pin
  • White fondant blocks
  • Navy blue fondant blocks
  • Various sprinkles
  • Round cutters
  • 6″ round cake tin
  • Tub of Satin Ice® gum paste
  • Icing nozzle container (a bonus buy for me)











It’s going to be SUPER interesting to see how I do in the cake design department because I have never done it before. I personally expect a lot of tears and tantrums. I have a vague idea how I want my cake to look like …. the challenge would be making it a reality. More things will be arriving by mail from the UK. Last week I spent a whopping € 200 on online shopping. I buy pretty much everything from The Cake Decorating Company.

They are freakin amazing! I love them and I cannot say enough about them. They are my ultimate one-stop-shop destination for all my baking needs. They sell top quality products and their service never ceases to impress. I used to get my silicone moulds from the US but the VAT charges put me off ordering more. I mean I once bought 4 silicone moulds and the VAT charges cost more than the moulds themselves. But I soon discovered, to my utter delight, that the Cake Decorating Company sold these very moulds from this one particular manufacturer, and I started ordering thru them instead. In my latest order I have a bag of edible bling and a chandalier stencil coming. Can’t wait!!



To be continued ….







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