Thursday, August 13, 2015

Cake Contest - Latvijas Gardaka Kuka

To those of you who so faithfully supported me with your daily votes, and many kinds thoughts. Thank you for believing in me!  And for those of you who have wanted to follow up and know how the contest went here is my LONG and detailed summary with photos :) 

I was very nervous in the days leading up to the contest- knowing I had very little time to devote to my cake planning due to the wedding cake I had to finish in order for me to even participate. I was on a strict deadline to complete the wedding cake by Friday evening so that I would be able to go to the contest Saturday morning and participate there and then come home and in the evening deliver the wedding cake. 

Saturday morning I was so nervous I could  not even eat and headed to Valmiera ( a 2 hour drive one direction) for the competition with my friend along. At least our chatting helped ease my nerves on the drive there. 

We arrived, got my stuff taken to the tent and waited for the other participates to arrive. The day was already hot- probably about 90 degrees F. and inside the tent it was hotter. 

I did all my prepping, was informed of the days schedule and tried to decide when to remove my butter from the fridge so that it would be soft, but not squishy. I cut it into the glass bowl I had along and immediately it started melting along the sides of bowl- proving that the heat of the tent had so warmed my bowls that they could melt COLD butter. I then placed both of my glass bowls and butter in the fridge to chill. 

The contest started with a nice introduction and we each had to tell why our cake was the best. I had been so nervous to get up and talk in front of everyone- but my neighbor here in the orange dress was also nervous and we chatted and got to know one another a bit. 

Once the contest started, we were sweating with the heat of the 90 + degree weather inside the tent, and constantly being photographed and filmed and working our fastest while being bombarded with questions by the jury. 

Breaking the caramelized sugar. My amber. . . 

 Answering questions. 

Because of the heat several of us had problems with our cakes. My whipped cream filling separated, making it impossible for me to decorate with it as planned. I was thankful I didn't have any more problems than I did- though because of the distance and heat I was not able to assemble my cake ahead of time which resulted in it being very hard to cut. 

 My neighbor was one of the ones who went on to advance to the next level with her beer chocolate cake (which supported the local city festival). 

It was great fun participating, and a delight to get to know some other bakers. I wish those who advanced to do their best. 

I was not disappointed not to have advanced because I knew this was not my best work- I submitted this recipe because it was different and unusual and I knew full well that it was not a good cake for clarity and precision- but the taste is amazing! 

That being said I was so relieved when the whole thing was over because of the stress, the horrible heat and extreme cake decorating conditions. 

I hope the next contest I am is in a nice cold/comfortable setting where we don't have to battle with the heat melting our fillings. 

I got to redeem myself in the evening with my well received and very tasty wedding cake which was very quickly devoured.

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