The theme of “Fifty Shades of Pretty Cake” brought out the very best and the brightest of cake art titans at the Grand National Wedding Cake Competition in 2014. The overall standard of excellence was head and shoulders up from 2013, and Dawn Parrott's winning cake was a complete departure from the firm grip of rolled fondant and gum paste of previous winners.
Parrott, in from Cypress Grove, Texas, created a contemporary version of an elaborate Victorian-style royal iced wedding cake. Her skill in piping is seen loud and clear, and her win was received with a standing ovation from her peers; there was no doubt she was a contender from the moment she set up.
Hot on her heels was first runner-up, former grand champion and dual winner Lori Cossou of Oklahoma with a stunningly understated paisley design. Look closely to see her many complexities and attention to fine detail.
Previous year's winner (2013) Jennifer Matsubara of Arkansas, determined to retain her place, came in second runner-up with fifty shades of (guess what?) subtle shades of gray in her gravity-defying architectural design. She exhibited gorgeous creativity, and so completely different from her prior design, which was Asian in theme.
Illinois artist Barbara Evans, who was third runner-up, traveled a long distance (15 hours in her van) with an intricately piped design colored in a delicate mint and blush pink palette with run sugar collars. The skill level was extremely high and Barbara's first time to compete here. She is still pinching herself barely believing her success.
Jorge Cruz of Florida, who was fourth honorable mention, sends a different signal. Creeping up four places from his first attempt in 2103, Jorge’s unusual snipping technique makes a bold statement, and visitors were simply charmed by his obvious skill in creating his animal characters. It is always inspiring to welcome new blood with new ideas.
Fifth honorable mention Rebecca Sutterby of Kansas, a previous winner and always a consistent competitor, created a fabulous rustic table setting, which was quite breathtaking. The log cut base is totally hand carved sugar and then tinted with edible food coloring. Her magnificent flowers are to die for, always admired!
There is no equal for the quality and intricacy of the cakes on exhibit at this event for the industry and public at large. Consistent sponsors have generated amazing rewards for all divisions and categories, and they have stayed the course for 21 years.
So what’s in store for this year? Just let me say the clock is ticking. So make sure you “Save the Dates” for the Oklahoma State Sugar Art Show (www.oklahomasugarartists.com) on October 3 and 4, 2015, with competitor setup October 2.
This is where the best-of-the-best go head-to-head and quality is revered. That said there are categories and divisions pertinent to children through teens and others relevant for all levels, from adult beginners to masters and the grand national, which is unique and stand-alone.
After all, everyone must work their way through the appropriate levels to reach a place where they are contenders! And the win is all the sweeter a wonderful reward for dedicated work.