A week has gone by since my week at The Chocolate Academy in Chicago and I'm prepping for the Escoffier Society's competition - I'm in the Professional Wedding Cake category this year. I have yet to win a gold medal, I have a bronze for petit fours, a bronze for wedding cakes, a silver for theme cakes and a silver for wedding cakes. That elusive gold medal, will it be in my grasp this year?
This year's cake is a morph of a design I came up with a year ago. It's art deco inspired and all the decorations are made of chocolate - would you expect anything different???
This competition isn't on television, it won't be in the newspapers or on the radio. It's for professionals, run by professionals at a very high level to showcase skills and showcase new ideas in flavours, plating, ingredients and design. True, this isn't a tasting competition but the criteria for the categories are flavour profiles.
When I won a bronze for my petit fours, I had a white chocolate tube filled with raspberry mousse, an ice cream cone with a scoop of chocolate ganache, a fresh fruit bite made of different kinds of melons topped off with nutmeg cream cheese, mini brioche and 2 bite chocolate covered cheesecakes (see photos below). The judges have pretty much eaten everything, tasted so many flavour combinations that they have forgotten more then most people have sampled. None of my flavour combinations were mind blowing - they were the classics, it was the presentation! I used sugar to make plates and serving trays and used the colour of the natural fruits to add that punch of colour. Snagged me my first medal!
Year two, I snagged a silver for my wedding cake covered in gumpaste roses - I have a knack for flowers.
Claudia and I (team Pandora's Bakery) got together and entered the Theme Cake category. These cakes were no dummies! Real cake with a twist. Our theme - Nursery Rhymes. Three Blind Mice, Humpty Dumpty and Sing a Song of Six Pence. Our cakes: Lemon poppy seed cake with a cream cheese icing, eggless vanilla cake with saffron scented white chocolate ganache and honey rye cake with apple buttercream respectively. I remember when we were setting up our cakes the small crowd that gathered (it was 7am) and then as the cakes were cut, decorated and garnished a little gasp from the back, a finger pointing yelling in delight - they are nursery rhymes. We got some great pictures, except for Humpty's cake, but my favourite was the Sing a Song of Six Pence cake and if you don't know the nursery rhyme, google it - Love that Cake!!
Now I'm working on my wedding cake for this year. I decided to only enter one category, not enough time this year, it's a huge time commitment. Wish me luck, I'll have a picture of the finished cake up on my blog next week, and pictures of the finished cake up on Facebook before then so stay tuned, I'm hoping a gold medal will be lying on the table beside it...sigh...