Monday, November 9, 2009

The Daring Kitchen Cake Decorating Challenge

I had the best intentions going into last weekend. I'd brainstormed for days about the theme for a cake decorating competition sponsored by the US Confection Connection and and the New York Cake Convention. I had thought hard about what the autumn season means to me, and how I could transfer that feeling to a 9" cake. I dug deep - of course fall brings colorful leaves and shapely gourds, but all the cakes would include those. In a moment of sheer brilliance, a friend mentioned that she always thought of birds flying south when the cooler weather hits. Suddenly, my cake had a theme, and I was ready to go.

I baked off and assembled my cake layers. Fondant was tinted. I researched silhouettes of birds and the shapes of nearly bare tree branches. Everything was coming together nicely, and I had starry disillusions visions of winning the big prize - an all expenses paid trip to NYC in January, and the opportunity to demonstrate your decorating techniques at the convention.

Then, the strangest thing happened. A November heatwave hit Chicago, and it brought sunshine with it. For two straight glorious days, the city's streets and sidewalks teemed with people anxious to do something (ANYTHING) outside. It was an absolutely perfect weekend, with temperatures hitting 70 degrees.

I learned something this weekend. I don't give a shit about birds flying south, or leaves dying and littering the ground. What autumn really means to me is that bone-chilling, ass-chapping, breath-stealing cold is right around the corner and it's just waiting to pounce. I learned that when a mid-autumn day feels more like mid-May, you'd be an idiot to waste it cooped up inside, making maple leaves and yellow-bellied sapsuckers out of sugar. Hell, who knows when we'll get to 70 degrees again?

So, without further ado, I give you my entry to The Daring Kitchen Cake Decorating Challenge.

It might be simple, but it truly does embrace how I feel about the season: Sunny days are at a premium, and they're not to be spent indoors. I abandoned my cake on Saturday morning. Plus, the idea of spending four days in New York City in mid-January was horrifying when compared to the thought of spending the present day, an unbelievably beautiful one, walking around my Chicago.

I couldn't even be bothered to take a decent picture. Had to get out the door immediately. I hope the winner of this contest packs an extra scarf and mittens to battle the New York City winter. Sucker.*

*Not really though. I would go in a heartbeat!


Julia @Mélanger said...

Very funny. Probably a good decision because baking and decorating in that weather would have been a nightmare, too!

I probably shouldn't say, but I'm dreading my upcoming Brisbane summer. Would take the chill of NYC any day!

Beth said...

Julia, it's funny you should mention it, because I am quite looking forward to Australian summer! I won't be in Brisbane, but I will enjoy the heat in Sydney, Melbourne, and Port Douglas this January. Please let me know of any "must-do's" in those cities. I wish that I had time to see Brisbane too, but can't get away for that long, and definitely can't afford any more flights!