We are still working out details for the procedures to have cake competitors bring their masterpieces into the show at our new venue of Highland Mall. All registered competitors (and you MUST pre-register by this Sunday if you wish to compete, including children) will be getting complete information soon on these procedures. Please be patient with us as we work out the details to make it as efficient and easy as possible for everyone.

In the meantime since there have been so many questions about where loading will take place, I’ve screencapped some Google Map satellite images to better show you the optimal entry points and adjacent parking lots. Remember: there is another event at the mall on the Saturday of the show from 10 am to 2 pm that will draw 10,000 people, so if you are competing we cannot overstate the importance of bringing your cake as early as possible. That’s why we’re offering bonus raffle tickets to those who bring their cakes between 5 pm and 8 pm on Friday night. If you must come Saturday morning, be sure to come as close to the 7 am registration opening time as possible. If you come close to 10, you may not be able to find parking fast enough to get your cake inside!

Here are the screenshots, taken from the map here:

highlandmall1

That’s a shot of the entire mall, showing Airport Blvd and the 35. Whichever direction you approach from, you want to come around to the South Entrance (which is marked as such but in smallish, white letters on a window), where the red arrow is pointing. There’s a great big Tinkertoy-like sculpture by the door. That’s the best place to enter for attending the show, volunteering, etc. You can also come in the North Entrance which also has one of those Tinkery-toy sculptures and is marked with the blue arrow, but that’s not as good for loading purposes as you can see from the next screencap.

Zoomed in on the South Entrance, I’ve once again marked the main entrance with a red arrow, and you can see the sculpture fairly well:

highlandmall2

The blue arrow is where vendors and competitors will bring their items in. We don’t know yet if we’ll be allowing anyone to drive into that driveway area, so assume for now that you can’t. The prime parking spots for competitors will thus be where you can see the cars parked in that screenshot. So again, come very, very early if you want to make sure you’re parked close to the entry! With this other event happening, we cannot guarantee spots will be available close to the door and you don’t want to have to carry your cake up the incline if you have to park far into the south lot.

Again, more details will be sent to all registered competitors once we’ve worked them out. Thank you for your continued patience as we volunteers all work very, very hard to plan this for everyone’s optimal benefit.

 

Here’s the agenda for tonight (and we are going ahead with the meeting so drive carefully in the rain!):

Capital Confectioner’s Club
Meeting: February 11, 2014

1. Welcome – Kyla
2. New Member Intros
3. Treasurer Report – Irene
4. Elections: see http://capitalconfectioners.com/volunteer/ for board positions and descriptions
5. New Business/Announcements
6. Upcoming Events – Cake Show
7. Member Spotlight
8. Break – Dessert by Carol Seng and Anne Harper

 

We always have a big crunch of people trying to bring their cake entries in on Saturday morning at the last minute. This year with the venue change and the fact that there’ll be another event going on at the venue on Saturday from 10-2 means it’s really important to get your cake in as early as possible. We will turn cakes away that aren’t fully checked in by 10 am! That includes showcakes, children’s cakes, everything!

In order to encourage folks to bring their cakes during the Friday night check-in period, we’re offering a special bonus of five free raffle tickets to everyone who brings their cake between 5pm and 8pm on Friday, February 21. We will be posting details soon on precisely where to enter the mall with your cakes, but we wanted to let you know now to plan to bring your cake on Friday if you can.

If you must bring it on Saturday – and we recognize that some folks are coming in from out of town or have to stay up all night Friday night finishing their entry (I personally know that all too well) – be sure to come as early as you can on Saturday morning. Again, parking may be a challenge the closer you get to 10 am, so bring it first thing at 7 am if you can.

Remember: check-in takes time! We need to find your entry information, get you to fill in some forms, check that everything is right, make any category changes necessary (although folks could REALLY help us here by ensuring they’re registered for the right divisions/categories in advance!), and then send you to get your cake and move it to the right table. Don’t show up at 9:55 Saturday morning and expect to find parking and get everything checked in!

Registration is here: http://thattakesthecake.org/index.php/competition/registration/

 

Many of you have already filled out our volunteer forms (sign up for the mailing list here: http://thattakesthecake.org/index.php/contact-us/volunteer-contact-form/ and then go here to put in your preferred hours: https://thattakesthecake.herokuapp.com/#/home), and we sincerely thank you! A lot of other folks have told us they want to volunteer or have come to meetings but haven’t signed up. We can’t organize folks and get everyone their perks unless they sign up, so even if you’re a long-time volunteer and we know you’re helping, please go fill in both forms!

Perks? What Perks?

Volunteers get stuff! First, you get in the show for free! Second, we’ll be soon be sending out a link for volunteers to pre-order discounted t-shirts that say STAFF on the back. Third, if you volunteer at the show on Saturday and/or Sunday for an entire shift (ie all morning or all afternoon), you can eat lunch for free in our catered hospitality area that day. Note that the lunch is ticket-restricted, though, so you MUST sign up in advance and you can’t bring in friends, family, etc for the lunch. You must also be sure to sign in with the volunteer desk at the show to be assigned to your area and to pick up your lunch tickets. We also give raffle tickets to volunteers based on the number of hours worked, so be sure to sign up, sign in, and help out!

I Have Disabilities/Other Limitations – Can I Volunteer?

Yes! We have a variety of posts ranging from sitting at a desk through to heavy lifting. We have posts where all you have to do is check wristbands and posts where you have to do a lot of technical stuff. We have time slots throughout the show so you still have time to take classes and see the cakes. This whole show is volunteer-powered, so please sign up and give some time!

How Can I Get More Volunteer Hours Outside of the Show?

Be sure to sign up for our Meetup group here: http://www.meetup.com/cakedecorating-132/ We’ve got several meetups on there in the days before the show where we need folks to do a lot of tasks like putting together raffle packs, stuffing envelopes and badges, sorting things, arranging tables, etc.

Send your questions to volunteer@capitalconfectioners.com and a volunteer organizer will get back to you as soon as possible.

Thanks to everyone who helps!

 

Due to circumstances beyond our control, we have had to change the venue for the 2014 “That Takes the Cake!” Sugar Arts Show in Austin to the Austin Community College (ACC) campus at Highland Mall. The new address is 6001 Airport Blvd, Austin, TX 78752 and the mall’s website is www.highlandmall.com.

Highland Mall brings a number of new perks above and beyond our previous venue. The mall has plenty of free parking, access to public transit bus and MetroRail routes, is just across the highway from the Crowne Plaza (our official hotel for the event), an operational food court, and many upscale design features. The mall was purchased recently by the college and while some stores remain open for business – which we hope will bring in more new visitors than ever before – our event will now be housed in a large open space surrounded by closed stores that are also available for our use, allowing us to make for better noise control for classes, put show cakes in window displays, and other exciting new opportunities to bring you the best show ever.

We’re still going to have our full cake competition, the live demos and on-site competitions, the kids’ decorating area, the raffles, classes, vendors, and everything else that folks have come to love that have made our show one of the biggest in the nation and internationally respected.

We hope to be able to answer all of your questions and provide you with complete information as soon as possible. Thank you for attending our show and for bearing with us during this change. Stay tuned to our blog and social media (Facebook, G+, and Twitter) for updates. And if you use Google calendar, you can add the event here.

We’ve posted a press release about this change here.

 

We’ve got the official language for our 2014 show theme available for those who like to plan their awesome showcakes early:

Time is of the essence for our 2014 theme of “Cake of Ages”. Cake decorators and sugar artists are challenged to create wedding, novelty, or other cake styles that depict a point in time such as a moment, a year, a decade, or an era. This could be done via an iconic person of a bygone century, the motifs of a particular decade, an event that represents a period in history, or other interpretations of architecture, art, or even fashion styles that have come and gone. Judges will be looking for the application of the theme conceptually throughout the design; whatever is chosen should clearly indicate an obvious point in time. The options are timeless!

Registration, class information, and more will be available at http://thattakesthecake.org/ soon. Stay tuned!

 

We had a fabulous Day of Sharing on Sunday and are very grateful to everyone who came! Here’s a summary of some of the things discussed and links the instructors wanted you to know about.

Photo by Sandra Berkshier.

First was Kerri Morris who showed us how to make a lovely Art Deco cake. She mentioned Bake Magazine, which is free for “qualified readers with managerial responsibilities in the retail, bakery cafe and intermediate wholesaler baking business in the United States and Canada” according to their website. She’s participating in contest and would love votes here.

Kerri’s Art Deco cake. Photo by Sandra Berkshier.

Next was Lauren Kitchens who demonstrated a modelling chocolate luggage box and had us all in stitches with her great stories and gossip. She also talked about pricing issues and her recent Yoda cake. Someone mentioned that she had a coupon for her Craftsy class on her website but I don’t see it on there…if I get a link I’ll update this later (UPDATE: go to http://fancycakesblog.com/classes/ and scroll down to the Cityscape Cakes section for a link to the coupon!).

Photo from Lauren’s blog.

Lauren Kitchens and Mary Carmen Del Rio on the stage at our Day of sharing. Photo by Sandra Berkshier.

Lauren also has a YouTube video that show you her recipe and methodology for making modelling chocolate:

And a video on how not to do it!

Next, Mary Carmen Del Rio demonstrated a multi-tiered cake using non-toxic markers for decorative accents:

Photo by Sandra Berkshier.

Then Jennifer Bartos of Make it Sweet demonstrated the new Icing Images Sweet Accents system, and one was given away as a door prize!

Samples from the Icing Images Sweet Accent system on a cake. Photo by Sandra Berkshier.

Our last demonstrator was Stephen Benison, who demonstrated his Fabric Flower technique, for which he also sells stencils on his site.

Photo by Sandra Berkshier.

Stephen has a how-to video on the Fabric Flowers here:

Stephen also demonstrated some other techniques, like his Funky Flowers, mini flowers, and other cake accents, as well as showing what students learned in the extended classes in the days before the Day of Sharing:

Photo by Sandra Berkshier.

Photo by Sandra Berkshier.

Stephen would love some more Likes on his Facebook page!

The winner of this year’s Heart of the Club award went to Chris Cantrell! The club honours you for your contributions through the years, Chris!

Photo by Tien Bui.

Kimberly Chapman posted a full tutorial on how to make the purse cake balls she brought, so those of you who didn’t get one can make and chomp your own!

Photo by Kimberly Chapman.

Here’s a link to a compilation video showing more photos and some video clips from the demonstrations.

Thank you to everyone who attended, to our fabulous instructors, and to our sponsors:

 

I reviewed Composi-Mold on my blog after the folks who make it contacted the club through our page, and I am so impressed by it that I’ll be doing a demo of it along with Jennifer for the August club meeting. Until then you can get a preview of what it’s all about here.

Note that this is me speaking as myself and the club does not endorse specific products, although the club is happy to help bring vendors and cake decorators together.

 

HB 970 – the updated cottage food law for Texas – was unanimously voted out of Senate committee this morning. The full text of it is here.

Next it moves to a Senate vote, but only if Lt. Governor Dewhurst picks it to be voted upon.

The Texas Baker’s Bill folks provided this information on their Facebook page for what needs to be done next:

To get this bill out of the Senate, do two things:
1. Call or email David Dewhurst, Lt. Governor, and tell him you support HB 970 and want it to be voted on by the Senate and sent to the Governor for signature. (512)463-0001 or http://www.ltgov.state.tx.us/contact.php

2. Call your own Senator (except Deuell or Schwertner; Deuell is the Sponsor, and Schwertner is becoming a Co-Sponsor) and ask them to Co-Sponsor the bill and vote YES on it so that it can become law. Call (512)463-4630 for the Capitol Switchboard and give the operator your zip code; they will be able to connect you with your Senator. You can also email your Senator through their page on the Senate site. http://www.senate.state.tx.us/75r/senate/Members.htm

If you care about your rights to sell baked goods from your home kitchen, you need to make these phone calls first thing tomorrow during business hours. Typically calls to government officials like this are very quick: tell them what bill you want voted on, they’ll ask you for some details to ensure you’re in the appropriate voting area, and you’re done. If you want to take time to tell them why the bill is important to you, you can, but honestly it just takes a few seconds to make it clear that you want a thing voted for and a handful of people saying so can sway a politician significantly.

So call!

 

A few of our club members went to the 2013 Frosting Creators of San Antonio Day of Sharing on May 5. We had a lovely time with our sister cake club! One of our members, Kimberly Chapman, brought home a blue ribbon for her gummy version of the US flag.

We love introducing people from the cake world to each other and fostering partnerships that help everyone. To that end, our president Kyla Myers took one of Earlene Moore’s tiara molds over to the Simi Cakes booth for some isomalt.

Michelle Galprin helped Kyla get the isomalt into the mold, and below is a photo of Irene Hackbarth (our treasurer), Kyla, Michelle, and Gwen Drake (our historian) working to get the piece out of the mold:

Taking an isomalt tiara out of a mold

Having quality molds and quality isomalt makes decorating easier!

It worked very well, as you can see from this photo later at Earlene’s booth:

isomalt tiara

Such amazing possibilities with these products!

We love our vendor partners and friends, and it was great seeing them at such a lovely event. Thank you to Frosting Creators and everyone involved!