2009 Picnic Table
The theme for the 2009 local county fair was “Re-cycling” and since I had registered in the cake division, I wondered what I should create. Since summer was approaching and barbecues, picnics, and everything outdoorsy was being planned, I wanted to do something that would elicit a summer feeling. So I chose to create a simple picnic table setting for my design, incorporating a re-cycling refuse can to fit in with the theme of the fair. This particular cake was a “real” chocolate cake baked from scratch, so one could slice off a piece and eat it.
Ginger bread for the benches. Colored fondant for the table spread and gum-paste fixings on the table. The water cooler and ice chest were smaller cakes covered with fondant. The background tree was my first attempt at poured sugar, so I put some leaves on it to avoid having the tree look dead. It is suppose to be summer with a lot of life and fun — no dead things around, right?
The mounting board was plywood covered with poured sugar and highlighted with sprinkles and small chocolate rocks and bits of grass from colored frosting. The refuse can was real cake, as well, covered with colored fondant. To add a touch of life, I added a gum-paste feral cat, who was looking for some affection and treats, no doubt.
While the cake was on display at the fair, I noticed that some tried to gingerly lift up the hardened fondant checkerboard table cloth. Nope, could not do it. Many, though, reacted in disbelief that what looked like a picnic table was actually an edible cake.
This cake won Best of Show, my first award!
In 2010, the theme for the local county fair was “International Brotherhood.” So I wanted to display a simple idea of a study desk that someone had just stepped away from.
On the desk would be research material, paper and pencil, a desk lamp, a globe and a Bible, as its message is one of the brotherhood of man. So I set about making a “working,” battery operated desk lamp with a switch behind the cake. The lamp shade was gum-paste and the pole was a copper tube covered with textured fondant. The glasses were gum paste and poured sugar. The desk itself was an actual edible cake, made from scratch, and I covered the desk with wood-grained chocolate frosting with an edging of pure molded chocolate. The paper on this desk was edible rice paper with edible ink printing, or food color ink, as some manufacturers call it. The Bible, book and desk were chocolate cake. I was more confident using poured sugar, so I made a sugar picture frame and flower vase.
The frame held an edible picture of interracial friends and the vase held a gum-paste rose with wired leaves. Most of my work, though, went into creating the chocolate globe. I put forth a lot of effort to create an accurate rendition of our gem of a planet, carefully painting the continents with colored chocolate, all on a custom, 6-inch, hollow chocolate (candy) globe set on a sugar stand.
This simple idea won me the Best of Show award again in my category for 2010. My second award.
2011 Wedding cake
Wanting a change of pace, I decided to do a wedding cake for the county fair for 2011. Three tiers, with the top being heart-shaped and angled. This year, though, the created cake was not “real” cake. I made the wedding cake using what the cake industry calls “Dummy” cakes — a Styrofoam shape specially used for cakes that will be displayed. Mine would fit this description, plus I wanted to keep this wedding cake for years to come, which is something I could not do with “real” cake.
Two round cake dummies were used and a heart-shaped dummy for the top tier. All of these were covered with ivory colored fondant. The bottom decorative rings of each tier were gum paste, made using pressed molds. The flowers and butterflies enabled this cake to go from OK to WOW!
The wired flowers were modeled in gum-paste after the Brazilian Kapok Tree Flower, with wired buds and leaves. The butterflies were gum paste modeled after the Tiger swallow tail. I made a small yellow ladybug, too, and hid it on the middle tier among the flowers.
This cake proved to be stunning at the county fair. Observers could not comprehend that the flowers were made of sugar; many thought the flowers were printed fabric.
This cake won the Best of Show award plus a first-place ribbon and a monetary award. This was my third win!
2013 Modernized school desk
This cake took its inspiration from the theme of the Marin County Fair for 2013: “School Rules”, highlighting the role schooling has played in our lives throughout the years. So I created an old-fashioned school desk with fondant coverings, antiqued it with food coloring and alcohol and placed it on a base made of royal icing that had been wood grained also with food coloring.
I modernized this desk with a touch screen keypad made of a food print-out icing sheet, a click-on style monitor made of gum paste and printed icing sheet for the screen shot, some gum paste ear buds on 30 gauge white floral wire and a cord for a gum paste cell phone that is sitting on a ginger bread chair pad. I also ‘installed’ a printer into this desk with in and out-put ports, a gum paste catch tray with small color print-outs made from icing sheets. The printer even has a start button and it is ‘plugged in’ with the cords being black licorice strings.
The yellow pad on top is icing sheets glued to a small gum paste block/pad and gum paste was used for the pencils. A gum paste apple too completes this presentation. The gum paste butterfly on the ginger bread chair back adds a bit of life to the project.
My fourth entry to the County Fair and fourth win bringing Best of Show, Special Award and first place ribbons.
2016 Roller coaster
Since the theme of the fair was What A Ride!, I did a cake highlighting a roller coaster ride with a few twists.
From Star Wars, I gave Chewbacca a lightsaber … and who in their right mind gives a lightsaber to a Wookie? Now we know why no one has. On my cake is a bunch of minions scoping things out and noticing that two of their number, Kevin and Bob, are in the same car with Chewie.
Chewie is seen having the time of his life, seemingly unaware and unconcerned that he is cutting everything with his saber — the flag poles, tunnels and anything on his side of the car. What a mess he is making, too!
Also there is a floating cloud-like image of Yoda just to the left of Chewie with his sage advice…”Give a wookie a lightsaber you should not.”
In ‘Yoda’ language, what do you suppose his words would be of my way of thinking in the field of cake decorating?