2023 Competition Rules and Information

Table of Contents

That Takes the Cake Sugar Art Show and Competition is open to all cake decorating and sugar art enthusiasts. The competition provides an opportunity to showcase decorating skills, get feedback from our distinguished panel of judges, and win awards and prizes. Included here are important registration deadlines, divisional classification, description of styles, and rules for the Divisional Competition, Tasting Competition, Nicholas Lodge Memorial Sugar Showpiece Competition (“Sugar Showpiece Competition”), the Special Award Competitions, and the Julia M. Usher’s Cookie Art Competition™ registration page.

Competitors should carefully read the rules and refer to them often as they are completing their entry. Failure to adhere to the rules of a category could result in poor scores from judges. If you have any questions regarding the rules, please do not hesitate to ask us at officers@capitalconfectioners.com. Please allow at least 24 hours for a response.

Registration Dates & Fees

All entries must be pre-registered by March 26, 2023, as there is no onsite registration.  Competition registration includes general admission to the show for the weekend for the competitor.  Competition registration for competitors under 18 includes general admission for the competitor and one accompanying adult admission.  There will be no refunds of entry or registration fees.

Registration -All Registration Ends 3/26/2023 Fees
Divisional Competition - Beginner to Masters
$35 - includes up to 3 entries, additional entries $5 each
Divisional Competition - Teens and Culinary Students
FREE for up to 3 entries, additional entries $5 each 
Sugar Showpiece Competition
$25 Per Entry
Tasting Competition
FEES: $15 - includes up to 3 entries, additional entries $5 each
(up to 3 entries waived for Divisional or Showpiece Competitors)
Special Awards
within Divisional and Sugar Showpiece Competition - Innovation, Annual Theme, Sugar Flower Competition
FREE
Child & Junior Competition - The child/junior must decorate the entry themselves.  The categories can vary from year to year.
FREE – 1 entry per child/junior
$25 - includes up to 2 entries, additional entries $10 each

How to Register

Online: Via this website with payment through PayPal

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Setup

Entries must arrive and be set up by 10AM Saturday, April 1, 2023.

Check-in and Set-up hours are:
5PM to 8PM Friday, March 31, 2023
7AM to 10AM Saturday, April 1, 2023.

Forms

Entry Form

2023 That Takes The Cake Model Release Form – Coming Soon

Late entries will not be placed on tables for judging. Expect queues right before the 9:45 am deadline, and arrive early to avoid disappointment. You will be required to fill in and sign several forms as part of registration on the day, so come with plenty of time to get everything done.

Removal/Tear-Down – Entries will not be permitted to be removed before 5 pm on Sunday, April 2, 2023.

More Information – Email:  officers@capitalconfectioners.com

Awards

  • Child and Junior entries will all be recognized with a medal.  
  • Trophies, cash, and prizes are awarded to Best of Division and Best of Divisional Competition. 
  • 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place Sugar Showpiece Competition entries in each Sugar Showpiece Division will be recognized during the awards ceremony; 2nd and 3rd place will receive medals and prizes, 1st place will be awarded a medal, trophy, cash, and prizes.  The best of the Sugar Showpiece competition tiered & sculpted winners will be chosen from the 1st place entries.  
  • 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place Tasting Competition winners will be recognized with medals. 1st place winners will receive cash in the amount of $100 and the Best of Tasting winner will receive $250.   
  • In addition to prize packs, the minimum cash prizes are as follows: Innovation Award $250; Theme Award $250; Best of Divisional Competition $750; 1st Place Sugar Showpiece $250 each (Tiered & Sculpted); Best of Sugar Showpiece Competition winner – $1000.
AWARDS CEREMONY
  • The Awards Ceremony will be held on Sunday, April 2, 2023 starting at 4 pm at the Round Rock Sports Center.  While we do our best to start on time, please understand that situations outside of our control sometimes cause delays, so if you plan to attend the Awards, leave extra travel time that day.
  • Ribbons, awards, or prizes not claimed by the close of show will be forfeited.  This does not change award results, but the physical goods must be claimed at the show.  You may appoint a representative to collect your prizes if you cannot attend the awards ceremony in person.
  • The exact nature/style of the medals, trophies, cash, and prizes vary by theme, sponsorship, and donations and are not guaranteed to be the same between Divisions, Categories, or as in previous years.  Where possible, we will specify prize information in advance, but in other cases, items may vary.
DIVISIONAL AWARDS/PRIZES
  • 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place Divisional Competition entries (from Teen to Masters) will be recognized with a medal in each Division for each Category.  Award levels are at the judges’ discretion.  If there are fewer than 3 entries per category or the judges decide the entries are insufficient to be awarded high awards, they may decide to only award 2nd and/or 3rd place or no awards at all.
  • One Best of Division entry will be chosen from each division.
  • Of the 1st place entries in each Category per Division, one Best of Division entry will be chosen and awarded a trophy, $250 cash, and prizes.
  • The Best of the Divisional Competition will be chosen from the Best of Division winners and awarded an additional trophy, $750 cash, and prizes.
SHOWPIECE COMPETITION AWARDS/PRIZES
  • 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place Sugar Showpiece Competition entries in each category (tiered and sculpted) will be recognized, with 2nd and 3rd place receiving medals and prizes. 1st place will be awarded a medal, trophy, $250 cash, and prizes.  Award levels are at the judges’ discretion.  If there are fewer than 3 entries per category or the judges decide the entries are insufficient to be awarded high awards, they may decide to only award 2nd and/or 3rd place or no awards at all.
  • Of the 1st place entries (tiered and sculpted) will be chosen as Best Showpiece and win a trophy, $1000 cash, and prizes.
TASTING AWARDS/PRIZES
  • 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place Tasting Competition entries will be recognized with medals.  1st place winners will receive cash in the amount of $100.  Award levels are at the judges’ discretion.  If there are fewer than 3 entries per category or the judges decide the entries are insufficient to be awarded high awards, they may decide to only award 2nd and/or 3rd place or no awards at all.
  • Of the 1st place entries in each Category, one will be chosen as the Best of Tasting Competition and will receive $250.
OTHER AWARDS/PRIZES
  • In addition to prize packs, the minimum cash prizes are as follows:  Innovation Award $250, Theme Award $250, Best of Divisional Competition $750, 1st place Sugar Showpiece $250 each (tiered & sculpted), and Best of Sugar Showpiece Competition winner $1,000.  Additional special awards may be added each year. Please refer to the special awards section for more information.

General Competition Rules & Information

These rules apply to all entries in the Divisional Competition and the Showpiece Competition:

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN RULES ARE BROKEN

That Takes the Cake recognizes that errors and misunderstandings can happen, even amidst good intentions. Although we greatly value artistry and effort, rules are important in order to keep things fair.  To that end, we do not disqualify cakes; but if an entry is deemed to have broken a rule, judges may zero out one or more sections of the scoring and may decide to bar said entry from any medal placement.  Entries will still otherwise be judged and receive judging comments.  The only exception is if an entry is deemed to be in such poor taste, or in violation of our Code of Conduct that it requires immediate removal from the show.

DECORATING
  • All entries must be the original design and work of the competitor.  Taking inspiration from others’ work and techniques is acceptable, but copies are not acceptable.  If judges are made aware of an entry being a copy of someone else’s work, they may zero out the Originality and Creativity part of the score, may choose to reduce or zero out the Judge’s Discretion part of the score, and/or may choose to bar the the entry from awards placement.  Pop culture or other referenced elements are allowed, particularly in relation to the annual theme but the overall entry’s design and how those images are used should be original and creative.
  • Entries in the Sculpted Cake Category must be made mostly with real cake (see the Category rules below for specifics).  Entries in the Small Bites category must be made with edible media (see the Category rules below for specifics).  All other entries may be comprised of real cake, a substitute (such as cereal bars), or Styrofoam dummies.  If a cake substitute or a dummy is used, it must be a design that could be duplicated with real cake.  The judges may choose to award more points for real cake if the difficulty level is higher and executed well.
  • Ribbons, tulle, etc., may be used to carry out a design. Do not use non-edible items in place of sugar media; for example, plastic pearls instead of fondant pearls.  Columns, supports, wires, and stamens are allowed.  Cold Porcelain is not allowed.  “Edible Images” are allowed and will be judged in context with the entire entry.   The use of Disco Dust and other such non-edible but non-toxic media should be limited to portions of the entry that could reasonably be removed, as if the entry were to be served.  (DiamonDust from The Sugar Art is allowed because it is edible.) Pasta is considered edible.
  • Food safety practices: all wires, armatures, and non-edible elements that would not normally be considered safe to be in contact with food must be treated in the same way as if the cake is being eaten.  Entries made from real cake should use flower picks, wax products, aluminum foil, straws, or other appropriate means of separating non-food safe materials from the cake.  Entries made from substitutes or Styrofoam should demonstrate equivalent reasonable care.
  • Stable backdrops that fit within your entry’s designated space are allowed provided the following: a) they are secured to your entry so they can’t tip and damage other entries, and b) they do not obstruct the judge’s view of your entry in any way.
 
MISCELLANEOUS
  • Early registration is encouraged to help plan space needs.  Although there are no refunds for entries that aren’t brought to the show, if you do register and decide you won’t be bringing your entry, it helps us to plan space if you let us know at officers@capitalconfectioners.com.
  • All entrants must sign a Registration and Release Form.
  • All entrants must fill in an Entry Form where they list what techniques and media they have used, as well as any other information required by their Category or Special Award (i.e., photos for sculpted cakes).  This information accompanies entries on the tables and must have no marks or comments identifying the competitor.
  • Competitors may write on their Entry Form a request for judges to interact in a limited/reasonable way with their entry, such as turning a handle, flipping a switch, etc. Judges are not obligated to perform this interaction. It will be up to each judge, at their own discretion, how (if at all) they include this interactive portion in the scoring.
  • While we encourage entries of new work, entries from other shows are acceptable.  Entries from prior years of this Show can only be entered if the entry has been substantially re-worked, and the entry did not receive an award.
  • Because we do allow previously used entries as stated above, we cannot prohibit all social media photos. However, in order to protect judges from accusations of favoritism, we strongly discourage anyone from posting photos of entries in the months before the show.  Please be sensibly cautious about what you post about your entry in order to protect yourself and the judges in this regard.
  • Entries may be removed after 5:00 pm and until 7:00 pm on Sunday, April 2, 2023.  Any entries left after 7:00 pm will be considered to be forfeited and become the property of the event organizers to be disposed of as necessary.
  • Each entrant grants Capital Confectioners a non-exclusive, worldwide, royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable, sublicensable, and transferable right and license to use, reproduce, create derivative works of, distribute, and publicly display any photos taken by Capital Confectioners staff, volunteers, or contractors.
  • Although precautions will be taken, event organizers and sponsors will not be responsible for theft or damage.
  • Entrants are responsible for any and all safety issues pertaining to their entries and absolve Capital Confectioners, the show organizers, and sponsors of any liability related to damage caused to persons or property by their entry.
  • Each entry must have the competitor’s name, address, phone number, division, and category on the underside of the base display board. The Entry Form (along with any required in-progress photos) must be placed beside the entry.  No personal or business identifying marks, advertisements, etc., will be allowed to be displayed along with the entry.
  • Although we try to minimize it, on rare occasions entries need to be moved after placement.  The Show Committee and Head Judge reserve the right to move entries if required, and this will be done with the utmost care.
 
JUDGING
  • Judging of the entries will be completed by teams of qualified judges selected by the Show Committee.  The judges’ decisions will be final.  The judges will complete a comment sheet for each Divisional, Showpiece, and Tasting entry. The comment sheets will be distributed to the entrant after the Awards Ceremony or mailed out to those who do not pick them up.  Judging will be conducted consensus style.
  • Awards will be at the judges’ discretion based on the criteria.  There is not automatically a 1st, 2nd and 3rd place award.
  • Judges will be given a sheet explaining what the show is looking for in each category.  Competitors will recieve those sheets at the end of the show.
  • The Show Committee enforces policy and procedures.  Any issues regarding proper placement, originality, etc., brought to the attention of the Show Committee during the show will be directed to the Head Judge so that a determination can be made.  Any entry deemed in poor taste or in conflict with our Code of Conduct will be disqualified and immediately removed from public view.  Judges and/or Show Committee have the right to re-classify an entry, if necessary.

Divisional Competition Rules & Information

DIVISIONS AND SYTLES
  • Entries are classified by Division (the experience/skill level of the entrant) and Category (the cake structure and style).
  • Competitors may enter only one Division but submit as many Category entries in that Division as they choose.  You may enter the same Category repeatedly (i.e., competing against yourself).
  • Review the Division description and choose the Division that most closely matches your skill level.  It is the responsibility of the entrant to accurately and fairly place themselves in a Division.  Consideration should be given to other applicable skills; for example, a competitor with an art degree who has worked with clay sculptures for 5 years should be entering in the Advanced or higher Division even if they have only been working with cake and edible media for a short time.  Your Division applies to all categories, so if you are an instructor in one area, (i.e., you teach piping techniques, but you rarely do figure modeling), you are in Professional/Masters for all Categories even if you haven’t done much in those other styles. Competitors are expected to choose their Division based on honest self-assessment and not by where they think they can win.
  • Entrants must move to the next higher Division once they have won first place in any Category in their Division for 2 consecutive years, or if they won Best of their Division.
  • Entrants who compete in other similar competitions should be competing in an equivalent Division, and in no case can enter this competition in a lower Division.
  • Children, Juniors, Teens, and Culinary students are welcome to submit entries into higher Divisions (or the Tasting competition), if they wish to do so, but they will be charged and judged as an adult entering those same Divisions/competitions.  See below for more information about Child/Junior entries.
Divisional - Experience & Skill
Teen
(13 - 17 Years Old)
Each Teen must bake, ice, and decorate their own entry. Open to all categories.
Culinary Student
Currently enrolled culinary students. Open to all categories.
Beginner
2 years or less decorating experience; self-taught or less than 30 hours of cake decorating or sugar art instruction – including online courses. Open to all styles.
Intermediate
Developing skills. 2-4 years cake decorating experience; 30-60 hours of cake decorating or sugar art instruction - including online courses. Open to all Categories.
Advanced
More refined skills. 4 to 6 years cake decorating experience; 60 to 90 hours of cake decorating or sugar art instruction – including online courses. Open to all styles
Professional/Master
High level of skill. More than 90 hours of cake decorating or sugar art instruction including online courses. May be decorating for profit or working as a decorator. Is known to have mastered specific mediums and techniques. May be an author, instructor, or work in the sugar art business. Open to all Categories.
Registration -All Registration Ends 3/26/2023 Fees
Divisional Competition - Beginner to Masters
$35 - includes up to 3 entries, additional entries $5 each
Divisional Competition - Teens and Culinary Students
FREE for up to 3 entries, additional entries $5 each 
Sugar Showpiece Competition
$25 Per Entry
Tasting Competition
FEES: $15 - includes up to 3 entries, additional entries $5 each
(up to 3 entries waived for Divisional or Showpiece Competitors)
Special Awards:
within Divisional and Sugar Showpiece Competition
- Innovation, Annual Theme, Sugar Flower Competition
FREE
Child & Junior Competition -
The child/junior must decorate the entry themselves.
FREE – 1 entry per child/junior
$25 - includes up to 2 entries, additional entries $10 each
Categories for Divisional Entries
Sculpted Cakes
Shaped or carved cakes, 2-D or 3-D cake, and sculptures. Entries must be real cake. Minimal use of cake substitute such as rice cereal treats or foam is allowed to complete entry. All sugar media are allowed. Three in-progress pictures showing the cake carving must be displayed with the entry. Judges may poke/cut entries to determine real cake content at their discretion.
Special Occasion - Novelty Single Tier Cake
A basic shape single tier cake with any theme including but not limited to birthday, anniversary, Christmas, Valentine’s, wedding, graduation, etc. Any sugar medium or techniques may be used.
Special Occasion - Novelty Multi-Tiered
Cakes with two or more tiers. Can be stacked or tiered. The Novelty Style does not include wedding or anniversary themes. All sugar media and techniques are allowed.
Wedding Tiered Cake
Cakes with two or more tiers decorated specifically for weddings or anniversaries. It should clearly be celebrating some kind of union, traditional or otherwise, LGBT included. Tiers can be offset, floating, tilted, or stacked in any way as long as it is clear that there are multiple, distinct levels of cake. Any techniques or sugar medium may be used.
Buttercream Only
Any non-tiered cake with any theme decorated using only buttercream icing. No fondant, non-edible decorations, or other sugar media will be allowed.
Special Techniques Not On a Cake
Entries in this style include displays of fondant techniques, gumpaste flowers, sugar molding/modeling, color flow, royal icing, Isomalt, chocolate showpiece, etc. A combination of techniques and media may be used, but it must be presented alone and not as part of a cake.
Small Bites
A minimum display of 6 small bites such as cupcakes, cake balls, cake pops, candy, chocolates, etc. A combination of techniques and edible media may be used, but it must be presented alone and not as part of a cake. These items will be displayed only and will not be tasted but should still be made from edible media as if they would be eaten (i.e. cake pops can have non-edible sticks but the balls should be real cake balls, not styrofoam, cupcakes can have papers or not but should be real cake, etc.). Judges may poke/cut entries to determine edibility at their discretion. Cookies should be entered in Julia M. Usher’s Cookie Art Competition™
Cookies
No Longer In Divisional Competition

Cookies now have their own competition that is entirely separate from Divisions. Please see Julia M. Usher’s Cookie Art Competition™ for rules and information.

SIZE AND DISPLAY
  • Entries should fit in a 24” wide x 30” deep space (including the board and/or any other elements that stick out in any direction). Contact us for approval before 11:59 pm CST, March 26th, 2023, if the entry is larger so space can be pre-allocated. Entries that have not been pre-allocated larger space may not be accommodated at the show if insufficient room is available. Electricity is not available for divisional entries. Table dressing, such as decorative fabrics or mirrors are allowed, but not required. To conserve room for all entries, table dressings must not extend past the allotted space. There will only be 4” between entries, and this space must be kept empty for the safety of neighboring entries.
  • Entries may be put under plexi-glass or other such cover, but judges must be able to view the entries without interference. The covering must be able to be easily removed by the judges.
JUDGING
  • Judging for the Divisional Competition is not based on taste. Entries are only judged according to the criteria listed in the rules, the judging information sheets, and against only those entries in the same Division and Category. Judges will place all entries in the Divisional Competition into recognition levels that will be posted on cards next to each entry along with the competitor’s name on Sunday morning. The levels are as follows: Platinum 90 – 100 points, Gold 80 – 89, Silver 70 – 79, and Bronze below 70 points. The scoring system for the Divisional Competition will be based on the following criteria: Skill and Precision of Techniques (20 pts), Originality and Creativity (20 pts), Difficulty of Techniques (15 pts), Number of Techniques Used (15 pts), Proportion, Balance, and Use of Color (15 pts), and Overall Eye Appeal/Judge’s Discretion (15 pts).
CHILD AND JUNIOR ENTRIES
  • Child: ages 6 and under.
    Junior: ages 7 through 12.
    Ages for the Child and Junior Divisions are based on the age the child will be at the time of the show, not at the time of registration.
  • An adult can help bake the cake for a child or junior competitor. The child/junior must then complete decorating the entry themselves.
  • To encourage young decorators, each entry will be awarded a “Best of …” title that will be displayed with their entry on Sunday morning, and all entrants will be recognized with a medal at the awards ceremony. Judging critique forms are not completed for child or junior entries.
  • Child and Junior entries don’t have size requirements other than fitting into the allotted space.  These entries aren’t judged, and we encourage very open and free expression, so don’t worry about proper stacking, filling, etc. other than what the child/junior wants to do themselves.
  • For more experienced decorators who would like to compete in the divisional competition, they are welcome to enter as a teen regardless of age and will receive judge’s feedback.

Nicholas Lodge Memorial Sugar Showpiece Competition

It’s a jolly holiday with sugar! Sugar makes the world go around! Sugar artists from all around the world are encouraged to come and share their favorite holidays with us. Whether it’s a break from work or a time for fun, the holidays have a way of bringing us together; so come celebrate in sugar, your most cherished holidays, traditions and culture. From meaningful moments with family and friends to your delicious dishes and holiday treats, we would love to see what you like to celebrate! Fiestas, Holy days, festivals, a joyous holiday childhood memory, or your favorite festivities from around the world, we can’t wait to see them. Spring, summer, winter, fall – we’re celebrating holidays throughout them all!

A Sugar Showpiece is the centerpiece of a special event.  Sugar Showpieces are showstoppers that make people wonder if it is really cake and how it was made.  You have seen Sugar Showpiece style works of art created on Food Network Challenges, TLC’s Ultimate Cake Off, Cake Wars and Ace of Cakes type shows.  A Sugar Showpiece might be for a wedding, 1st, 16th or 80th birthday, a retirement, a baby shower, a corporate event, an anniversary, or any special event.  One defining element is that the theme is carefully incorporated into all aspects of the cake and the cake display.

 

CATEGORIES

 

Tiered

This is for the more traditional style wedding or tiered special event type cakes but it must also clearly represent this year’s International Holiday theme.  The entry must be a minimum of 4 tiers and meet height, serving size, and other display requirements detailed below as well as the General Competition Rules detailed above.  All standard shaped cakes are acceptable (including, but not limited to:  round, square, hexagon, paisley, sphere, hourglass, tapered, and angled).   Entries in this category should not include any custom sculpted cake tier components.

Sculpted

This is specifically for themed sculpted showpieces.  The sculpted piece can be the entire entry or a portion of the entry.  A minimum of three in-process pictures that clearly show the sculpting and carving of the entry without showing the identity of the competitor must be displayed along with the entry.  It is acceptable to utilize foam or non-edible pieces to replace standard shapes of cake for the entry.  The sculpted components must all be made of edible materials, cake, rice cereal treats, etc.  Note that additional points will be awarded for ”difficulty of techniques” used judging criteria for the use of real cake.  The entry must meet height, serving size, and other display requirements detailed below as well as the General Competition Rules detailed above.

In addition to the General Competition Rules, the following rules apply specifically to entries in the Sugar Showpiece Competition.

DECORATIONS

Any sugar medium is allowed.

SIZE

The entry must meet minimum height and serving requirements.  The minimum finished height is 24” (not including any base) and the entry must be of sufficient size that it would meet or exceed a minimum of 100 servings of cake.

DISPLAY

Each entry will be displayed on an individual 48” round, standard (29” – 30”) height table.

The entrant will be responsible for providing their own table covering, dressing, and decorating the table.  The decoration of the table should complement the decoration of the cake to complete the theme of the entry.  Judges will consider all table decorations as a portion of overall eye appeal criteria.  If table decorations are made of sugar mediums, that will add into the number of techniques used, originality, creativity, and difficulty judging criteria.

Electricity will be available for the Sugar Showpiece entries only.  Please let us know in advance if you need electricity.

JUDGING

Judging for the Sugar Showpiece entries will be based on a point system.  100 maximum points with points awarded based on the following criteria – application of the theme (30 pts), precision of techniques (15 pts), originality and creativity (15 pts), difficulty of techniques (15 pts), number of techniques used (15 pts), and overall eye appeal – judge’s discretion (10 pts). Judges will be placing all entries in the Sugar Showpiece Competition into recognition levels that will be posted on cards next to each entry along with the competitor’s name on Sunday morning.  The levels are as follows:  Platinum 90 – 100 points, Gold 80 – 89, Silver 70 – 79 and Bronze below 70 points

2023 Special Competition Award Categories

These special awards are all conducted from within the Divisional Competition & Sugar Showpiece Competition for 2023.  Competitors must designate if they want their entry to be considered for one or more of these special awards, and must ensure they are on any lists/timetables as part of the registration process before setting up their entry.  Capital Confectioners assumes no responsibility for competitors who fail to ensure they are fully signed up for a special award, or who fail to complete any necessary extra steps such as interviews, information accompanying the entry, etc.  Specially selected judges will review the entries and determine winners. The decision of the panel of judges is final, and the awards may not be given out if the panel determines that no entry meets the criteria.  The winners will be announced during the Awards Ceremony.  Entrants for these Special Awards are encouraged to provide in-progress photos or other documentation along with their entry. This documentation along with signage designating the entry as an Award contender will be on display at the table with the entry and must contain no personally identifying information or marks.

INNOVATION AWARD 

If, for your entry in the 2023 “That Takes the Cake!” Sugar Art Show and Cake Competition, you have developed a new technique, a new use of an existing medium, or a new tool; you meet the criteria to apply for the That Takes the Cake Innovation Award, which was originally developed at this show. You must submit an actual entry to be judged, and you must meet the judges to discuss your innovation with them at a scheduled time on Saturday, April 1st.  Ensure that you have signed up for an interview slot as part of your registration procedure at the show.  If you have developed a new tool or product, be sure to bring a sample along to show the judges during your interview, (do not leave it on the table unless it’s part of your actual entry).  A team of judges will review the entries in this special cross-divisional category to determine one winner who will receive a cash prize of $250.

ANNUAL THEME AWARD - Sponsored by Make It Sweet

Each year a theme is announced that is specific for the Sugar Showpiece Competition.  With this special Annual Theme Award, competitors in any Divisional Category who apply this year’s theme of “International Holidays” (see the complete description in the Sugar Showpiece Rules) can choose to be considered for this award. Judges will be considering the overall statement of the entry to convey the theme.  There is no need to meet with judges for this award, but competitors must ensure their Entry Form is marked for this award at the time of registration in order to be considered.  Sponsored by Make It Sweet, winners will receive a prize pack and cash prizes of $100 for 3rd place, $150 for 2nd place, and $250 for 1st place.

BEST SUGAR FLOWERS AWARD - Sponsored by JULIA FEDOROVA CAKES

That Takes the Cake is pleased to host Julia Fedorova Cakes Sugar Flower Competition.

Awards:

  • 1st place – A $300 Gift Basket of Sweet Art Master Products plus a Certificate for a sugar flower class (private class, in person) at Julia Fedorova Cakes (NYC) worth up to $700.
  • 2nd place – A $300 Gift Basket of Sweet Art Master Products
  • 3rd place – A $200 Gift Basket of Sweet Art Master Products 

Please click here to view the rules for this award. (Coming Soon)

2023 Tasting Competition -

Entries are judged on taste including flavor, crumb, texture and density, and appearance but not decorating skill.  

Tasting Competition Categories
Common Ingredient - Pumpkin
Any type of baked item – sweet or savory made using Pumpkin. Submit 10 individual pieces, or one entry sufficient for 10 servings.
Candy
This category is open to any one type of candy. Flour is not required for the candy entries. Please submit 10 pieces, or one entry sufficient for 10 servings.
Holiday Pastries
Gooey cinnamon rolls, Brioche, doughnuts, pain au chocolat, stollen, whatever delectable pastry you'd like to start your holiday with. Any one type of pastry is allowed. Please submit 10 individual pieces, or one entry sufficient for 10 servings. Please note: there is no refrigeration at the venue, so plan your pastry and delivery accordingly.
Holiday Party Appetizers
Any one type of holiday inspired appetizers, sweet or savory. Please submit 10 individual piece, or one entry sufficient for 10 servings.
Holiday Cookies
A favorite holiday cookie, no matter the holiday. Bring in one display with a minimum of 10 cookies.
Entering the Tasting Competition
    • Each entry can only be placed in one Category.  For example, if your cookies contain the common ingredient, you must decide to place them either in Common Ingredient or Cookies but not both.  You may submit multiple entries into one or more Categories (i.e. you may compete against yourself), but each recipe can only be submitted once.
    • The recipe must accompany the entry. The entry and the recipe become the property of the Capital Confectioners and the Show. Recipes submitted must be the original creation of entrant and the recipe must not have been published previously in the same or substantially the same form. Entrant cannot have won prizes or awards in other contests for the submitted recipe. The recipe must be printed on a standard 8.5″ X 11″ sheet of paper with no identification as to the entrant.
    • Entries can be brought between 5:00 pm and 8:00 pm on Friday, March 31, 2023 and 7:00 am to 9:45 am on Saturday, April 1, 2023.
    • Please note that all entries will be stored at room temperature only.  Do not submit any entries that require refrigeration.
    • Judges reserve the right to disqualify any entry that they deem to be potentially unsafe to eat.
    • Judges will determine a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winner for each category but are at their discretion to assign fewer awards if the number/quality of entries isn’t high enough.
    • Entries, platters/plates, etc. will not be returned – please place the entry on a disposable plate.
    • Entrant further understands that their recipe may be used in whole or in part by Capital Confectioners for any advertising or promotional purposes whatsoever, in any and all types of media with no compensation for such usage. The entrant’s name will be included along with the recipe whenever a recipe is published.

Tips/Best Practices for all Divisions

These are tips for competing in a general sense but aren’t strict requirements. However, you will find that judges look for these things, and you earn more points if you follow these suggestions wherever possible.

  • Watch for fingerprints, nail marks, tool marks, uneven icing, or other general neatness issues. Clean up any rough edges from cutters. Use a ruler/straightedge regularly when you decorate. Use templates for circles to keep them round. Never assume the judges won’t notice that little thing, because that little thing is exactly what the judges will see first. Clients don’t notice small errors, but judges do! Cleanliness of work is a large part of what separates Beginners from Masters, so if you’ve gone up a Division, up your game accordingly.
  • If you are applying for a Special Award that requires an interview with judges, as soon as you sign up for your interview slot, set your phone alarm to go off five minutes before that so you have time to go stand beside your entry.
  • Cover your board with fondant or another medium (i.e. in Buttercream Only, you would have to use buttercream). Even pretty foil is considered to be less “finished” and displaying less skill. If your board has an edge, put a ribbon around it. If the underside of your board is visible (i.e. in floating tiers), cover it, decorate it, hide it, or somehow make it look integral to the design instead of just sticking out as an obvious board.
  • Hide your structure unless there’s a very good design reason not to. Judges should not see uncovered PVC pipe frames, metal supports, skewers, etc. unless they are part of the design (i.e. decorative pillars). If you want judges to see something special you’ve done with your internal support, provide photos with your Entry Form.
  • Use your Entry Form to let judges know anything you want them to know, as long as it’s not going to identify you. Explain your concept, highlight your innovation, describe the thing you’re worried they won’t understand. Use respectful, formal, informative language. You may add extra sheets, if needed, although there’s no guarantee judges will read every word beyond the main sheet so keep it brief. We will provide a link to this sheet in the email confirmation that goes out with your registration, so you can fill it in early and not risk forgetting to list something. Most people do it at the show, and that’s fine, but if you feel stressed on the day of the show, do yourself a favor and fill out this sheet calmly in advance.
  • Dummies should be treated as real cake whenever possible. If a judge thinks, “Well that’s nice but you could never make that with real cake,” you are likely to lose points. Your primary reasons for using dummies should be weight/transportation and to avoid spoilage, not to avoid having to decorate real cake.
  • Judges are always looking for greater edibility, because it takes more skill. So even though your entry isn’t going to be eaten, keep in mind that judges are scoring as if it was real cake at a real event. If your design incorporates inedible elements, they should either be easily replaceable with edible elements (i.e. using a dummy instead of real cake) or be easily removed (i.e. a spray of wired flowers that can be lifted off). If you wrap satin ribbon all around your cake instead of making an edible ribbon, judges will see that as a barrier to serving even though the cake will never really be served.
  • Using more techniques gets you more points, but only if you do them well. You will score more highly with three perfectly executed techniques than fifty mediocre ones. Similarly, our show loves innovation and the pushing of boundaries, but only if it’s done well. A new technique done sloppily will not increase your score. Perfect your techniques to the best of your ability before adding them to your entry.
  • Any entry has a better chance than no entry, especially in the lower Divisions, and you can learn a lot from judges even if you don’t place. Don’t get discouraged and think your entry isn’t good enough to bring, even if you didn’t finish it to your original plan. Bring it anyway, let the judges comment on what you did get finished, and use it as a learning experience for next year. Plus, we’ve had multiple medal winners over the years who brought an entry they didn’t think was worth much, so take a deep breath, bring what you’ve got, and let us all celebrate your achievement together.
  • Your goal should never be to win. Your goal should be to push yourself to make something amazing that you want to share with the world.

Corrections/Errata/Answers to Questions

Capital Confectioners reserves the right to edit/correct these rules as necessary up to the registration deadline of 11:59 pm CST, March 26, 2023.  All edits will be listed and dated below.  If we send out answers we deem worthy of inclusion in these rules, we will also list and date those answers below.  Any errors or questions after the deadline will be recorded to assist with next year’s rules.

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