Cake International Birmingham 2016

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Cake international Birmingham 2016 was amazing! It was a huge show, with over 1300 entries to the competition and a huge arena full of stalls. It has become somewhat of a tradition for me to enter CI, and 2016 was no different. Each time I go I come away inspired by the other cakes there and determined to create more of my own cakes!

As I was packing my cakes into te boot of my car  I suddenly realised I had to make this year’s journey on my own – previously my amazing Mum has been with me as chauffeur (slight obstacle of not being able to drive!) and great helper. I have to admit the nerves started to set in and it was a great relief to arrive at the hotel and checked that my cakes had arrived in one piece!
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All entries need to be in nice and early on the Friday, so I set off early to the NEC to get my entries set up. On arrival there is a queue for the registration desk, so I joined and waited (nervously!) to collect my badge and entry numbers. Next on my list is to find out how far I have to carry my cakes to their tables. It can sometimes be a long walk, definitely don’t want to be searching for the right entry number while carrying a cake!

Next it’s unpacking time, so I headed back to the car to bring in my first entry – the wedding cake. Sudden realisation that there’s no way to carry a 4 tier wedding cake and close a boot door (thank you lovely lady from the car next to me for jumping out to my rescue!) – helper Mum I really missed you!

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Once back in the building there is a set up area with lots of tables for unpacking the cakes so I found a space then ran outside again to get my second entry – baby dragons. (Thank you Mr security guard for closing and locking my car!) A quick check over my cakes and repositioning of some coal pieces and I made the nervous walk to position them on the display tables – I swear the walk gets longer every time. Shaking arms and carrying cakes is not the best combination!

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Finally they are all set up and the wait for judging commences….I really think this is the worst part! This is the first time that I haven’t been able to visit the show on Saturday so I wasn’t sure that I’d even find out the results before Sunday which probably added to my nerves. Luckily Vicky from the Yellow Bee Cake Company did a facebook live tour of the show and was able to find both my entries…. WOO! Golds!!
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It definitely is a huge buzz to have won gold awards, and to know that the cakes I’ve created are liked by the judges! The drive back to Birmingham on Sunday was full of excitement.

Feedback is always important, even with gold awards there is always room to improve and learn and where better than with judges with years of experience. Dutifully waiting in line for feedback I missed part of the award ceremony (only 1st, 2nd and 3rd place are given out at the ceremony). First up was my baby dragon cake. feedback was very positive, they suggested more movement could have been added, perhaps a tongue pointing out or outstretched wing.

Back again to join the queue for feedback (it’s a slightly frustrating system!) and finally a wedding cake judge was free. She advised me to think about the back of the cake, adding extra details to keep interest even looking at the back, but otherwise thought it was a beautiful cake (yay!) loved the contrast of black and purple flower and thought the textures were great.
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On my way round photographing the other cakes, a fellow cake maker Michelle tapped me on the shoulder and congratulated me on my awards and placement. Stopped me in my tracks completely and I had to ask her what she meant – what placement?  To my complete amazement my baby dragons had been placed 3rd! Could not believe it, the judge hadn’t let on at all earlier when he gave my feedback!

It was a huge buzz, and of course I spent quite some time bouncing and with a stupid grin on my face! Suddenly it was time to start getting ready to leave, so I power walked back to the car and moved it round to the collection point. It’s a bit of a rush to collect cakes, get them boxed up again and back in the car (the rules state that cakes left after 6pm will be disposed of!)

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All in all it was great fun, full of excitement, nerves and friendly faces! Cake International is such a big show, with so many other cake people there it really is a place you can catch up with other cake makers, meet new cake minded people and just go to look at all the cake!

The competition area seems to be getting bigger and bigger every year, and the standard is rising too! If you’re thinking of entering, take the plunge and do it 😀

Who else was there? What was your favourite cake?

And in case you were wondering – there’s my wedding cake on the leaflet for  Cake International in March (yes, I’m wearing that silly grin again!)

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