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Guest Post: International Cake Show Australia by Helen Wilkinson

Returning for its second year, ​Australia’s largest international cake, cookie and sweet show, the International Cake Show Australia (ICSA) hosted by Australian Cake Artists & Decorators Association (ACADA) ran from Friday 18th – Sunday 20th May 2018.

With their awesome tagline, Watch & Learn – Create Make & Take – Shop & Taste, attendees were invited to join the party being held at Brisbane Showgrounds Exhibition Building where thousands of cake, cookie, foodie and sweet lovers came together to celebrate, learn and taste all things sweet and decadent.

ICSA looked like it was a really fun event and I was rather gutted that I wasn’t able to be there in person, but luckily the lovely and uber-talented Helen Wilkinson of ‘Who did the cake?’ was there and she has put together a super-detailed guest post to share all the fun of the weekend with us all.

Over to you, Helen!

Last weekend, I had the pleasure of attending the International Cake Show Australia 2018. Hosted by the Australian Cake Artists & Decorators Association (ACADA), the show is chaired by Joan McDermott and organised by an amazing team of hardworking volunteers.

For me, the journey to the show started days before the doors the show opened, with a two day, 1,000km car journey to complete before two intensive days of preparation and set up for our show installation piece, Alice: Down the Rabbit Hole.

When I arrived on Wednesday to begin the mammoth process of setting up Alice, the show space was already a hive of activity and this year’s show was promising to be far bigger and better than the previous year’s inaugural event. The press were expected to arrive on the Thursday, before the show opened, so everyone was keen to be ready on time.

Amongst those working hard to be ready for the official opening were the many amazing decorators attending from around the world – whether to exhibit, teach, take part in the Internationals vs Aussies two-day Cake Off event or to contribute to the Cake Oscars awards event.

Some of the amazing cake artists attending this year’s show were Karen Portaleo, Paul Bradford, Susan Trianos, Margie Carter, Verusca Walker, Sedar Yener, Marta Hidalgo, Marta Torres, Timbo Sullivan, Dorothy Klerck, Faye Cahill, Sharon Wee, Paul Delaney, Greg Cleary, Handi Mulyana,  Raewyn Read, Kerrie Wyer, Monica Cavallaro, Mio Shih, Anna Maria Roche, Caitlin Mitchell to name just a few – we were even lucky enough to be joined by the beautiful Rosie Mazumder of Cake Masters Magazine.

As the show opened, the competition area filled with a dazzling array of stunning entries – from Royal Wedding cakes, fit for a princess; enchanted forests; beautiful figurines; decorated cookies; sculpted animals; realistic busts; beginner’s and children’s sections; and, of course, realistic floral displays.

The competitors had come from as far afield as Malaysia and China for the event and, when they dropped them off on the Wednesday afternoon, there was a cake hospital set up for last minute repairs and a photographer on hand to capture the competitors with their cakes. It was all so well organised.

I absolutely loved all of the entries, from the beautiful wedding tables to the immaculately sculpted realistic busts. The bust category is always my favourite – I love seeing what people can dream up.

Congratulations to all of the competitors – and to the judging team too. Watching those guys judge well over 100 cakes, starting at 8am right through to the wee small hours was incredible.

There was a special section where nine finalist decorators were also vying for the title of Haute Couture Wedding Cake Designer of the Year. Each of the nine entrants, including Shayne Greenman, Lousia Massignani, Greg Cleary,  Maria Shaw, Zoe Clark, Faye Cahill, Monica Cavallaro, Caitlin Mitchell and Sarah Jane Wicks had crafted a beautiful cake for the display and each one was over a metre tall! Congratulations to Caitlin Mitchell who emerged victorious with her blue, gold and white masterpiece.

Alongside the competition displays, there were a huge amount of amazing displays, exhibits and installations, including Faye Cahill’s Giant Wedding Cake, produced in collaboration with a hugely talented team of artists, including Greg Cleary, Dell Khalil, Jacinta Perkins, Caitlin Mitchell, Paul Delaney, Liz Russell, Robin Apted, Sharon Wee and Monica Cavallaro. At six metres tall and three metres in diameter, the giant cake – complete with a life-sized bride and groom – had to be trucked into the event from an outside location and it was such a feat to even get it the site.

As I mentioned above, I was delighted to be involved in another of the show’s highlight displays, the Alice in Wonderland-themed, Alice: Down the Rabbit Hole.

Working with an amazing team, we created a fantastic display that was over four metres wide and three metres tall. It was definitely popular with the visitors to the show – not to mention the press too. I thought you might like to see some shots from behind the scenes.

Over 400 hours of work (and few bottles of wine!) went into our display, over a period of three months from design to finish. We used a whopping 130kg of fondant to bring Alice to life and some of the contributory parts travelled over 1000km to get to the show, with the final assembly taking two days prior to the show’s opening.

Along with my teammates Zoe Byres, Trina Thomson, Louisa Massignani and Annette Ibrahim, we were delighted to win the 2018 Collaboration Award and we hope that you enjoy our Alice display as much as the visitors to the show did.

As well as all of the amazing things to see at the show, there was also plenty to do as well. With a variety of half-, one- and two-day classes on offer with some of the industry’s best across the weekend and a colossal amount of incredible hour-long demonstrations running on the show’s three demonstration stages around the venue.

Check out this incredible demonstration programme!

There were also some great demonstrations on offer from the many suppliers’ stands, including Fondtastic and Bakels, while Renshaw had some industry greats constructing a life-size velociraptor live (although Raewyn Read and Karen Stack were looking a little green by the time they had finished airbrushing it!).

And check out the home team’s awesome entry for the LIVE International Cake Off!

The weekend also saw the annual ACADA Australasian Cake Oscar Awards and what a memorable night it was.

And check out the elevator shot of the year…

With visitor numbers already up on last year, after a really successful PR campaign and TV, radio and newspapers coverage, we are already looking forward to the 2019 show. If you fancy joining us, the 2019 show will run from the 17th-19th May at the Brisbane Showgrounds Exhibition Building.

A big thank you to Rob at Mr Baker’s Blog for letting me cover and showcase this amazing Aussie event and I hope to see as many of you as possible next year. It really is an amazing three days!

Helen Wilkinson – Who did the cake?

Thank you so much for taking us behind the scenes of what looks like an amazing weekend, Helen. I have heard so many wonderful things about the first two years of the International Cake Show Australia and I definitely want to be able to attend in person one day.

As Helen has already explained, the International Cake Show Australia (ICSA) will return from the 17th to 19th May 2019 at the Brisbane Showgrounds, Exhibition Building. To find out more and to stay up to date with all the 2019 announcements as they are released, head to the ACADA website.

3 thoughts on “Guest Post: International Cake Show Australia by Helen Wilkinson”

  1. You summed it up nicely Helen. It was a fantastic weekend. I totally enjoyed the cake off between the Australian and International teams with commentary from Karen Portaleo Shayne Greenman and Susan Trianos. It’s about time for Australia had a high standard cake show.

  2. Awesome blog Helen! The install you guys did was a amazing. And a huge shout out to you also as you cake and helped all of us, including me, set up my wedding cake and the giant wedding cake install! Plus also my class!! You’re a legend Helen! Hugs!! Monica xxx

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