Kerikeri cake decorator wins big
The towering tiers of Cleopatra and a softly carved flamingo have won a Far North baker two top prizes.
Kerikeri's Jess Atkins, 32, won first place for the advanced carved and advanced tiered categories at the 2015 GoBake cake decorating competition hosted by The Cake & Craft Show in Auckland from June 19 to 21.
She says it took about a week to put together the Cleopatra dessert using display cakes, kilos of fondants, sculpting, edible gold leaf and hand painting.
"I really love over the top stuff. I like making everything elaborate."
Atkins first started cake decorating four years ago when she wanted to make something for her daughter's first birthday party.
"I just found any excuse to make cakes. I fell in love with it and became obsessed...nearly every celebration requires a cake.
"Nothing beats it if you've made a cake for your child and they are just so excited and so happy and delighted."
She slowly learnt more about the different techniques from airbrushing colour, carving fondant and even drilling structures into a cake board with power tools.
Atkins hasn't had too many cake disasters, recalling the only time a cake slipped off it's stand and dented itself on the table.
"Luckily there was a t-rex on it so I just made it like the t-rex had been eating the cake."
Atkins estimates she's made a few hundred cakes.
"I try not to think about the cost. I don't work it out and I don't tell my husband."
Atkins currently has a blog and sells cake-decorating tutorials to an American company. She's been making sweet items for friends but would like to ramp it up into a fully-fledged business next year.
"It's a piece of art; I put my heart and soul into it. I really think about what the person would love. You take each cake very personally."