Tuesday, June 22, 2010

All hands on… cake!

This past Saturday, I helped judge a cake decorating competition to benefit Hands on Atlanta for their 20th Birthday Bash. The day was filled with friends and fun. Cake and creativity and all for a great cause. Hands on Atlanta’s mission is to build community and meet critical needs through volunteer service. And they’ve done just that for the last 20 years by contributing nearly 6 million hours of service to the community and helping more than 500 schools and non-profit agencies. Yay for volunteers and Happy Birthday!

Now, let’s see some cake…

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Here is Kelli from the Ritz-Carlton Buckhead just getting started. Her grandmother was beaming.

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Kelli’s team came ready to compete.

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This is Aisha from the Cake Closet. She was cool, calm and collected the entire day.

Everyone’s work space was on the small side. So covering these giant cakes with fondant came down to teamwork.

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But she’s competed on the Ultimate Cake Off before, so she’s no stranger to stress.

***Sorry… I interrupt this recap for a very important message.***

Check out these sweet shoes that Aisha’s teammate had on. Cupcake Converse!

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She found them at Journey’s. Run to the mall and see if they have any left – if I don’t beat you to it. Seriously cute.

***Okay… now, back to cakes.***

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This is Lynlee of Lynlee’s Cakes. She was full of personality and so excited to be competing.

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Even when getting down to business she was having a blast every step of the way.

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This is Edible Greetings. Loving the powdered sugar highlights.

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Niki and team of Edible Greetings. You guys were great.

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And here’s Shellane of Apple-Butter Bakery. Focused and fearless…

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Until about two hours into the competition, she finally looked up into the crowd. I just happened to be standing there when she did. She goes “I know her.” and started pointing in my direction.

I automatically wanted to turn around to see who she was pointing at, but it turned out to be me. Then, she took a 2 1/2 second break for a hug. We may or may not have both shed a tear. I’m a sap, so I cry easily, but I bet I was probably more like a welcome stress relief for Shellane.

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There were lots of spectators. I don’t know how these guys were all able to decorate without being distracted.

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I helped judge the afternoon portion with Atlanta food bloggers, Chris from Mele Cotte and Tami from Running with Tweezers. Hi guys, I had a great time hanging out with you for the day.

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And I also got to meet these two. This is Milena and her sister, Mirele. Aren’t they cute.

I gave away two pair of tickets to the event on my Facebook page last week and Milena was one of the lucky winners.

It was fun meeting you both. I’m so glad you could make it.

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And this is Mary and Nicole. Mary won the other pair of tickets. My friend Julie and I hung out with them at the party portion of the event. Thank you for sharing your table and driving so far to attend. You guys were a delight.

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When all done, the cakes had to be at least three feet tall. The competitors were able to work on their cakes until that evening when the winner would be announced during the birthday celebration.

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Some were down to the wire.

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And some were all ready to go.

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Each cake had to be transported from the work room to the event room, up a ramp and onto a table. It felt like a mile and I was just watching. I held my breath as they all carried their cakes.

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But they all made it safely.

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Oh yeah, check these out. Cotton Candy Martinis.

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Pretty cool.

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I had one with Julie while we waited for the winner to be announced.

Then, as the party was getting under way, the afternoon and evening judges were all given a giant plate of cake for tasting. I know. Unforgivable.

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This is Joshua from Highland Bakery and also a former Food Network competitor… oh and also cute.

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He, Mary Moore from The Cook’s Warehouse and Elizabeth (not pictured) from Green Olive Media were the evening judges. Tiffany (right) brought us all together. Thanks Tiffany.

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There was a people’s choice competition where you could vote with money for your favorite cake. Cute idea. Kelli won that round.

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Apple-Butter Bakery won second place with her Hands on the Earth cake.

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And, first place went to the school house cake from the Cake Closet.

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You all did fabulous. Congratulations and thanks for the fun.

And now, I have a strong desire to stack cake. I’m thinking I’ll start a little under three feet tall though. Like at least 2 feet under. : )

Update on the shoes: okay, so it didn’t occur to me to ask how long ago these were purchased. The only thing I can find are kids shoes. Bummer!

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