Updated: Feb 15
Cake International is the world’s largest cake show and competition. Boasting nearly 2000 entries this year, it seemed like the 25th Anniversary Show was going to be the biggest and best show yet!
I had a great experience over the weekend, and am going to be focusing on some of my favourite highlights, a week after attending the show.
First I’m going to mention the exhibitors. Although the volume of exhibitors has declined in the past years, the quality of them this year was absolutely great. You were able to get pretty much anything you wanted, often at a cheaper ‘show price’ as well! Many of the stalls were showcasing brand new products, such as The Sweet Stamp by Amy Cakes. This is something I had waited months to purchase here, and I wasn’t disappointed (I’m going to be doing a full review on this soon). Returning exhibitors like The Vanilla Valley ensured that you were able to get all the basics, like food colourings and pastes. The Vanilla Valley never fails to have everything I need.
Next, we had the show pieces. Every year, the world’s most renowned cake artists create the most incredible cakes for display over the weekend. Most notably, Molly Robbin’s created a mermaid cake, Phil and Christine Jensen (Peboryon) recreated famous works of art, and there was a phenomenal Day of The Dead inspired ‘Catrina in Bloom’, created by a team including Marc Suarez. There were also collaborations, including a Road Dahl themed ‘Peach Life’, and cakes created over the weekend, one of them being made by Daniel Dieguez. Once again, Emma Jayne’s absolutely phenomenal ‘War Horse’ was in attendance and never fails to draw a crowd. The displays and collaborations this year were truly some of the best, and they never cease to amaze me.
Obviously, you can’t go to Cake International without watching some demonstrations. This year they had both the ‘Cake International Theatre’ and ‘Cake Pro Theatre’ (not forgetting to mention the paid demonstration theatres and workshops). This year they had fewer household names, and more people recognised by cake makers. One of my favourites will always be Zoe Hopkinson (Zoe’s Fancy Cakes), she is one of the few YouTubers I watch and she’s just as great in person. The way she explains the simplest things to such detail, truly do allow everyone to recreate the masterpiece.
Next, I watched Molly Robbins create a simple but effective pizza cake. After that I saw Phil and Christine Jensen, from Peboryon. They exceeded all my expectations. On the Friday, they went through baking cakes, and on the Saturday ganached the cake, before decorating on the Sunday. I was only there on the Friday and Sunday but both days they amazed me. The passion they have for the taste, not just the look of the cake is wonderful. They were truly inspiring to any aspiring cake makers and decorators.
After them, I attended Karen Portaleo’s demonstration. She is believed the be the best at sculpted cakes and created a realistic piglets face. At the end of the day, it was time for Marc Suarez. Creating a realistic human face, he discussed how to create an accurate profile and how to achieve the desired colour of skin tone. The finished piece was outstanding.
When I returned on the Sunday, I started the day by watching the Cake Off final, hosted by Rosie Cake Diva and Paul Bradford. Each team had to create a cake inspired by ‘Planet Earth’. Cake International do The Cake Off every year, and I definitely recommend attending. Next, I was planning on watching Rosie Cake Diva but due to The Cake Off taking too long, they had to cancel her slot. However, after that it was the last segment of Peboryon’s three part cake. They did a hatching egg; the use of airbrushing and modelling was extraordinary.
The very last thing I watched was Sachiko Windbiel, of Mimicafe Union, show an inventive technique when making cupcake toppers. The process mimics the same process as making Japanese candy, a tutorial is included in the latest issue of Cake Masters so I’d definitely recommend checking it out. Although this was great, I was really hoping she was going to showcase some of her amazing modelling skills, that I have loved for years. (If unfamiliar definitely check her out in social media)
Last but not least, we have the competition. Possibly the biggest draw of Cake International. This year the standard was phenomenal and the judging seemed extra brutal. Also, they decided to do the judging slightly different at this show, now giving you the score card so you can see what your scored in each section. In my opinion, this was a genius addition because it allowed you to see just how difficult it is to get into Silver or Gold.
Due to my age I took part in the 13-16 decorated cake category. This year they decided to theme it as ‘Protect the Planet’. Personally, I felt this was quite a restrictive theme, however I scored 10/10 for creativity. (I made the Operation Board Game themed around the earth and global warming). In my case, I scored 73/100 and received a Bronze, showing that you need nearly all top marks in order to get to the higher achievements.
Competitors really showcased a ranged of creativity creating some of the most inventive cakes I’ve ever seen. The attention to detail carried out by some participants is outstanding, and it’s clear they spend days (and weeks) creating this single cake. The ‘Best in Show’ this year was intricately piped to perfection and was a real showstopper. However, my personal favourite was a cake which looked like a dog was eating a wedding cake!
It’s a great experience being able to walk around the pieces each year and see the introduction of new trends, techniques and products, and helps to further everyone’s knowledge ready for the next show.
Overall, this years Cake International was absolutely great. Although I wouldn’t call it the ‘biggest Cake International ever’, and certainly didn’t feel the size warranted them to stop doing the Spring show. The quality was outstanding, and my highlights definitely include watching Peboryon over the weekend, Marc Suarez creating a phenomenal realistic face and competing in the competition.
If you are debating attending, or even competing next year, I’d definitely go! If wanting to compete carefully read, and choose which, of the many, classes you want to compete in. However, if you just want to attend, I’d definitely buy tickets when they go on sale. It’s a brilliant learning opportunity for any cake decorators and just an all-round fun day out.
I’m itching to return next year, and see if I can beat my previous competition pieces!
Talk soon ✌
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(Photos were either taken by myself or used from the Cake International Facebook Page)