September 25, 2020

BY HEATHER KENNERY

Confectionery creations were lined up against the walls at Icing Inspirations, a local shop that sells everything one would need to become a master cake decorator. However, they weren’t the designs of Chrissie Boon, the store’s owner, but rather entries in her third annual cake competition. The Nov. 18 event had cake to sample, live demonstrations, draws and more than 50 cakes on display. The cakes were submitted by two very different types of people, but all of them share the same passion for sugar. It was hard to tell the difference just by looking at the cakes from afar that some were done by professionals who do this on a daily basis and others were done by regular people who have taken up a very time-consuming hobby. Though the shop was abuzz with people staring at the stacks of cakes, the cake designers were all staring at the prizes and shiny medals that were awarded at the end of the day. The event was not just about cake. Donations were collected for Nutrition for Learning, a charitable organization that helps feed kids while at school in Waterloo Region. Since 1997 they have provided healthy meals containing up to four of the food groups, to elementary and high school students. Statistics show that students who are well fed and eat a balanced breakfast on average become more focused while in class and receive better grades. The students are also less likely to bully or have behavioural problems. Community development officer, Brian Banks, knows that Nutrition for Learning is changing how students work at school. “At K.C.I. I have seen a change in the kids, how they interact at school and how it has decreased the need for disciplinary action,” he said. Banks said when talking to students, their teachers and youth care workers, all agree that these programs are essential and are happy they exist. Everyone was full at the cake competition too. After devouring the sweet treats and all of the oohs and aahs turned into silence, the verdict was in and the winners of the three different categories – fairytale wedding cakes done by hobbyists and professionals and faux food cakes – were ready to be announced. Boon, who also owns Too Nice to Slice, a cake decorating business, judged the entries along with celebrity judges Courtney Clark and Kendon Smith who own their own cake decorating business, Cake Nouveau. Winning the people’s choice award and first place in the hobbyist category was April Julian, who said she would love to design cakes full-time but for now it is just a dream. “Since I was little I have always loved art and baking. I would pretend I was baking all the time by putting towels into my mother’s cake pans and putting them in the oven,” said Julian. Her cake was inspired by the Wizard of Oz and Steampunk designs. Steampunk focuses on gears and mechanics, which inspired Julian to create Tin Man and Dorothy “wedding characters.” “I loved the quote at the end of the movie when the Tin Man watched Dorothy leave Oz and he says “Now I know I have a heart.” Because his heart was breaking, that’s when I knew they would be the perfect couple to make an imaginary wedding cake for,” Julian said. Winning first place and the people’s choice award in the faux food cake category was Linda Gebara who designed a gravity-defying cake that looked like a salad was being tossed by floating utensils. Gebara has won this prize three years in a row and considers herself lucky to win again. The first place prize for a fairytale wedding cake done by a professional was awarded to Martha Zacharias. This was her third time entering the contest but first time winning a medal. She runs her own company, Every Occasion Cakes, but still found the time to put 12 hours of work into her interpretation of a Tangled wedding cake.