The Great American Cake Show and Wedding Cake Competition, the Mid-Atlantic’s premiere cake show and wedding cake competition hit Westminster this weekend, taking over the Carroll County Agricultural Center and Shipley Arena. We at Collegetown love cake decorating, and watch all the competition cake shows on Food Network. So we were super excited to hear about this great event coming to town. So this past weekend, we braved the rain and headed out to Westminster to take in the show!
The Carroll County Agricultural Center grounds are great, because they are large enough to house several different types of events all at the same time. Primarily serving as a great place for horse shows and auctions, the Shipley Arena also is a great venue for more formal gatherings and large-scale fairs and festivals. The wide open set-up was perfect for the Great American Cake Show, as it allowed for plenty of display space for completed cakes, separate cordoned off areas for classes and demonstrations, ample space to set-up a children’s corner, and rows and rows of vendors selling their wares. The venue also provides a full on kitchen, so the show was able to provide tons of food for the event, including hot dogs, turkey sandwiches, and tons of baked goods. (Satisfying your sweet tooth was a definite theme for the day.)
The Cake Show brought in competitive cake decorators from all over the country, and even featured international competitors. There were separate categories for professionals, amateurs, and even younger novice divisions. The theme for this year’s competition was to create a wedding cake inspired by a greeting card. All the cakes were beautifully constructed, and though we got to vote for a “People’s Choice” cake, we found it hard to figure out which one was our favorite. We spent a lot of our time looking at all the beautifully constructed pieces, and admiring the detail work that went in to each cake. (For cake enthusiasts, you’d find piping, string work, gum paste figurines, and exquisite flowers adorning these cakes.) Unfortunately, the weather didn’t make for the best environment for the cakes’ delicate structures and several of them fell victim to the humidity and broke or wilted.
We also were able to see some demonstrations while at the event. Here we learned how to construct some of the pieces required to make our own cakes look like the ones in the competition. We learned frosting techniques, how to work with gum paste, and even ways to make our cakes taste better! The kids area was constantly full, and we were kind of jealous we weren’t allowed to participate. The activities included creating gum paste figurines and decorations in fondant, and creating gingerbread houses complete with candy decorations. We personally spent a lot of time in the vendor area of the show. Here we could pick up any cake decorating tool we could imagine. From books, to videos, to gum paste, to cake toppers, to molding tools, to cake stands – there was nothing for the amateur or professional cake maker to leave the show needing. Some vendors were also putting on their own demonstrations, teaching people how to roll fondant properly, how to create gelatin flowers, and even showing off their flavorings by letting us sample their own baked goods.
Overall, we’d have to say we were impressed with both the atmosphere and the entire show. It was exciting to see such a premiere event (even in a world so unique as cake decorating) make its home right here in Westminster. After the day, we’d have to say we are already looking forward to next year’s show!