The village of Woombah has a new champion following a weekend national competition held in Brisbane.
Allison Turner swept all before her; named ‘Show Grand Champion’ at the Australian Cake Artistry Decorating Association (ACADA) International Cake Show.
Alison picked up a host of other awards, including the Mystery and Magic section of the ‘Pirates, Dragons, Mystery or Magic’ category. She finished third in the ‘Industry Award’ section and was a member of the team which finished top of the ‘Team Award’ section.
Perhaps the most astounding thing about her weekend achievements was that it was the first time Allison has entered the prestigious competition and she has only been creating her artwork for “five or six” years. Allison has also had no intensive formal training, although she does admit to completing a cake decorating course “about five years ago”.
Perhaps the secret to her talent is that Allison does have a passion for creative arts, especially studio ceramics and fine art.
“Although I only started serious cake decorating in the past few years, I have always had an interest in baking cakes and remember as a teenager, cooking up cakes for special occasions, birthdays and such, for family”. Said Allison.
Allison says her interest in baking cakes and creative arts has worked well together.
However the days of her “basic” cake making are a thing of the past and Allison has seemingly climbed to the top of creative cake decorating.
“I was pretty pleased to receive the recognition I did at Brisbane and I was especially thrilled to finish near the top in the Industry Award.”
Despite her youth and lack of competition experience, Allison is keen to progress in her chosen “hobby”.
“Cake decorating has reached a new level, helped along by popular TV cooking shows and there are plenty of very talented younger decorators out there, cake making is not just cream filled sponges any more”.
Allison says she is considering her future in light of her recent success.
“There are international competitions I have been looking at, including a very big show in the UK, which would be fantastic, it all takes money though”.
Plenty of chocolate
Allison spends anywhere from two to five days creating her masterpieces, but not continuously working.
“An individual work can take several weeks and I start and stop, depending on my other commitments, but a work can take up to five days of full on hours”, says Allison.
Allison starts with a creative idea in her mind, be it a character from a children’s story or a particular creature or scene.
“I begin with fine threaded steel rods (sourced from specialist suppliers) and bend them by hand to the shape of the subject; I use special support boards to help provide stability”.
Once she has the desired shape, the cooking starts.
“I use a chocolate base in my cakes, mostly chocolate mud cake and shape the cake into the frame-work, I use a chocolate ganache to create the finished subject as it can be shaped and moulded and I use loads of edible icing and modelling chocolate for the fine detail pieces.”
Allison’s works are all “fully edible” with the exception of the rods and board support.
And because many of her works are huge, some up to two metres in height, there is plenty of eating to be done.
“Because of the amount of sugar involved, this acts as a preservative and the cakes can last for months and still taste great.”