Do you have a HOT BOD? I have competed in 5 competitions so far, for some this is minuscule. My first in person competition, was That Takes the Cake in Austin. An incredible show if you were thinking to attend. Anyway, my piece was based on an 18th century Hummel figure, a girl in a tree with her dog by her side admiring a butterfly. Busy? Yes. Flawless? No. What made it win Best of Division and 1st prize was because it had a HOT BOD. My little chica wouldn’t have won in a beauty contest that’s for sure, but she had the essentials in a contest, a HOT BOD.
H- You have to be Happy with your piece. My girl was going through a very ugly stage where had no confidence it would ever look good. Since I wanted to uphold to the secrecy of a competition piece, I couldn’t branch out to all of my cake groups and cakers in search of a pick me up and Kumbaya session. I sat down and stared at her, like she was the only thing in plain sight, besides my lack of confidence. I then thought about my first fondant cake, to what was sitting right in front of my eyes. Happiness is always right in front of you, whether you see it or not.
O- this one is Obvious, literally. Your cake has to be obvious in the show. It can’t look like every single cake trend up chucked on it. When walking the aisles of cakes yours has to be obvious to the eye and the one everyone is crowding around taking pictures of. Your idea also has to be obvious to the judges. People thought my girl was afraid of the butterfly, that she was little red riding hood or her hands are actually her feet. Well, I said that last one to myself actually… Concepts and themes can make it or break it when competing, with very little in between.
T- Theme. Normally cake shows and competitions have a general theme in mind. Things in the past have been Fashion Inspired or Love Songs. That is your broad and general idea, but your cake should have an OBVIOUS theme. Make sure the judges know exactly what they are looking at. If for instance the theme is fashion inspired, then your specific theme could be 1920’s flapper or a dress you saw on the red carpet on the Grammys five years ago. Your cake should have an underlying story or message, like any good novel or poem. And most importantly, you have to be HAPPY with your theme.
B- Be Bold, be Brave, be BOLD! Brave and Bold are two things that I always think about in my cakes, client or competition. I DO NOT copy other people’s cakes. I do not ONLY use techniques from my favourite craftsy class or tutorials( I think I have seen about seven competition cakes all looking like the class project in Jeweled Wedding Cake by Marina Sousa), but I DO try new and innovative techniques. Okay, I’m done ranting now. So with every competition I have been to, we always have the person who copies the latest cake on trend, or maybe just takes one tier of it. This is sort of okay, but not really. Competitions are not about using the cakes on trend, they are about using a variety of techniques and mediums to create a visually appealing design. Here is where Brave comes into play, you may not have a whole lot of techniques in your tool belt, and I don’t either. But, competitions are your chance to try new things and experiment. This being said, do not put a million things on a cake that have nothing to do with each other. If you have a gorgeous wedding cake with sugar flowers and string work, chances are a sculpted peacock on top with isomalt ribbons and gelatin bubbles will not work.
O- most of the things I talked about in B really has to do with this, Originality. Judges spend all day looking at cakes, and not only does yours have to be BOLD to stand out from the rest, but it has to be ORIGINAL. Not every other people’s designs on to some dummies, but your own ideas and signature style that makes you stand out from the other cakes the judges are looking at. Don’t have a signature style? That’s why you have a THEME. Research, research and research for inspiration, the first picture you see will not be as good as the one one the 3rd page of Google ( Be brave, the 3rd page of Google is a dark and scary place…)
D- Disguise. When I say disguise I mean more than just being invisible, in fact, be anonymous! YOU MUST KEEP YOUR COMPETITION CAKES OFF OF SOCIAL MEDIA UNTIL JUDGING IS OVER. Ok, I know I promised no more yelling, but this was just too important. Also, the best cake artist knows how to disguise their mistakes, and make them look like they were intended. While this may be easier said than done, just by simply covering up a mistake can give you the win. So, let’s say you are doing a wedding cake, with a very elaborate design, if you mess up in one place, make sure the method in how you fix it is consistent throughout the cake. So, if you cover up a gaping crack with a leaf, put other leaves around the tiers so it likes like it was a design choice and not a mistake.
This acronym has really shaped my style as an artist and I hope it works for you as well, let’s be honest, who doesn’t dream of a HOTBOD?