The highly anticipated Cake Bake and Sweets show arrived in Sydney, from March 21-23, for the country’s largest gathering of celebrity chefs, bakers and cake artists.
The event has run in the UK and the US for years with great success. Now, with tens of thousands of people walking through the doors of the Sydney Olympic Park Dome, it’s clear the local baking and cake decorating scene is just as enthusiastic.
The event saw more than 5000 cups of flour sifted, in excess of 550kg of butter stirred and at least 2500 eggs cracked. With around 600 cakes produced and on-show across the three days, it’s no surprise attendees – small business owners, professional bakers and pastry chefs and home cooking enthusiasts – were as excited as kids in a candy store.
Along with a range of exhibitors displaying innovative products and services, demonstrations and workshops spanned the duration of the three-day show. Not a seat was spared in the Lifestyle Food’s All Star Theatre, with celebrity chefs including British baker Eric Lanlard, US cupcake stars Pick Your Poison and local talent Kirsten Tibballs and Adriano Zumbo attracting massive crowds.
In the KitchenAid-sponsored theatre, Delicious Kitchen, local gluten-free expert Rowie Dillon explained the science of flour, while pastry chef Anna Polyviou delighted audiences with cheesecake push pops [see page 54 for Anna’s push pops recipe].
A stellar line up of live demonstrations by internationally-recognised artisan bakers and chefs also took place in the Bakery Theatre by Devondale. Dan Lepard broke down Australian staples – meat pies and burger buns – while Michelle Green workshopped baked breads and Graham Prichard conducted a timely ‘how to’ on Easter sourdough hot cross buns.
Specialty skills were also a hot topics, with hour-long classroom demonstrations covering everything from how to master butter truffles (Adora Handmade Chocolates), the art of airbrushing (Dawn Butler), sugar decorations (Le Cordon Bleu’s Andre Sandison) and delicate chocolate flowers (Dean Gibson).
The show was also the base for several competitions, including the Australian Cake Decorating Championships, judged by the Cake Decorators Guild of New South Wales Inc.
Jacquie Goldstaiz from the Gold Coast was awarded the honour of Australian Champion with her intricate sugar craftwork capturing a horn of plenty overflowing with fruit and vegetables.
In an intense 10-hour judging process, The Cake Decorators Guild of New South Wales Inc. announced Jacquie as overall Australian Champion from a total of 150 entrants.
Cake Decorators Guild state president Helen Robinson said the panel adhered to a strict judging criterion of visual impact, presentation, cover, creativity, degree of difficulty and originality of design.
“The attention to detail of Jacquie’s entry was incredible. You could actually pick up the fruit and think it was real. The realism was absolutely amazing and she showcased loads of different textures in her piece,” Helen said.
The labour of love took Jacquie two months to complete and was inspired by the abundant fruit and vegetable supply Australians are blessed to have at their beck and call.
The biggest difficulty in completing the work, Jacquie said, was battling the hot, humid Gold Coast climate.
“I had to be so cautious getting this cake down to Sydney. I felt like I was transporting a rare Egyptian artifact,” said Jacquie, who was awarded $2000 in prize money for the creation, which also comes with a prestigious badge of honour from industry veterans.
Cake Bake and Sweets Show Director Mark Harvey said Australia has fast become a recognised leader in cake artistry.
“We are proud to have brought to life what will now be a yearly championship along with the Cake Decorators Guild of New South Wales Inc.,” he said.
Congratulations to the winner of additional categories within the Championships:
Masters Wedding Cake Category
– Vanessa Wardle
Professional Wedding Cake Category
– Anna Maria Roche
Open Wedding Cake Category
– Min Jung Kim
Masters Novelty Cake Category
– Shayne Greenman
Professional Novelty Cake Category
– Anna Maria Roche
Open Novelty Cake Category
– Catherine Warsley
Masters Sugar Craft Category
– Shayne Greenman
Professional Sugar Craft Category
– Jacquie Goldstaiz
Open Sugar Craft Category
– Susan Singleton
With the inaugural event deemed a success, event organisers are hopeful of a second installment of the Cake Bake and Sweets Show next year.