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Cake International 2017 – Day One

Sorry for the radio silence of late, but I have been crazy busy working to get everything ready for Cake International this weekend.

The last week has seen me and my fellow Dragonistas working hard to pull everything together ready for the grand reveal of The Magical Dragon Machine and I must give a shout out to my #teamdragon colleagues, who worked like trojans this week to finish the main build. They genuinely had their work cut out and yet have managed to make him even better than I could ever have imagined!

Of course, I also had a competition entry to do. With all of the other projects that I have had on my plate recently, I had actually pretty much decided not to bother with an entry, but then some of my friends got wind of this and strongly encouraged me to ‘pull my finger out and get on with it’. So as a result, I had three days to get something together. I can’t give anything away about my piece yet – we’re not allowed to reveal them until after the judges’ results are released on Saturday – so you’ll have to come back tomorrow to see what I managed to produce.

Roll on to this morning however and when my alarm went off at the ungodly hour of 3.45am (after going to bed at 1.30am – ouch), I just managed to gulp down a couple of pints of coffee and then it was time for the madness of show life to begin.

The first drama of any cake show is of course getting to the venue. Cakes don’t really like being transported and often have a tendency to misbehave, so when one is transporting a competition piece you really have to be sure that you pack it safely in your car. The best places are where the centre of gravity is lowest – the boot or a footwell ideally. However, when your showpiece is ridiculously huge, you often need to get creative – particularly when you have a tiny convertible! I had to pretty much build a wooden shelf over my minuscule back seat and then put the roof down, place the cake on top of the boot, climb over the side into the back seat, lift the cake into the car and onto the board (on a non-slip mat) and then pop the roof back up – so nice and simple really. Unfortunately, the journey didn’t pass without incident – being cut up by a lorry at one point required an emergency stop and that had an impact (quite literally) on the cake. But bearing in mind, four days ago, I wasn’t even entering, I’m feeling rather zen about everything.

Once my competition piece was on the table, it was time to Dragon! Revealing this awesome collaboration, after almost a year of planning, organisation and more, was amazing. Our cast of tinkers, critters and florals are simply delightful and when coupled with the dragon in all his moving, flapping and smoke-breathing glory, the wonderful projections by the amazing Stu Harris of Motion Mapping and the Stomp-esque soundtrack, it’s simply breathtaking. Do make sure you swing by The Magical Dragon Machine Facebook page to see everything that we’re sharing across the weekend.

We also feature at the end of Cake Masters Magazine’s Facebook Live walkaround video where I tell them all about the project and you can also see a lot more of the display, so feel free to go check it out here.

Of course, across the day, there have been a multitude of fantastic demos, classes and tutorials by all sorts of wonderful talents too!

A personal highlight for me was watching my ‘cakebro’ Ben Cullen, The BakeKing complete his first ever demonstration.

Cake International had challenged Ben to create one of his signature head cakes in only 45 minutes. Only 45 MINUTES! He coped admirably with the pressure, until rather meanly, they then surprised him with an appearance from his muse, the legendary Karen Portaleo herself! In our completely unbiased opinion, we think Ben smashed it – but what do you think?

To be honest, I could write and write and write about the excitement of the day, but I think I need to ration myself – we still have two more days to go! Instead, I’ll end with my other best part of the first show day – the chance to catch up with the whole host of wonderful cake friends that travel here from across the globe. It really is lovely to see everyone and I can’t wait to spend the next few days with my bestest cakey chums!

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