In February of last year I competed in my first American Culinary Federation (ACF) competition.It was held in the culinary building at my school, Johnson and Wales University Denver.The ACF holds competitions all around the country on a regular basis.It entices all ranges of chefs, from student to Executive Chefs, regional teams and single professionals.
Each competition has many categories to test in.Look up your local chapter on how to become involved and more information about a competition.I competed in the Wedding Cakes section, the parameters were to make a wedding cake under three feet tall and was made of all edible ingredients (this meant that I was not allowed to use a dummy cake).
When I was first told about the competition, it was only two weeks before the start date.At the time I had no idea about ACF competitions and didn’t know that I could enter and compete with some of the most renound chefs in the country.
While in Introduction to Cake Decorating, my chef Elena Clement was the one who encouraged me to enter.She was gracious enough to let me use the lab (one of the kitchens in our culinary building) to make my cake.I was so excited to enter, I have participated in two competitions before, but this would be my first time doing it all on my own.
My Scaling Partner
I made a preliminary drawing and started to plan out how much cake I would need.I enlisted the help of my friend Ericka to help me mix everything up.After class one day we scaled out over 12 pounds of sugar, 12 pounds of butter, 8 pounds of flour, and even 8 cups of baking powder!
The next day in class, I had enough time to mix up the batter after I was done with the rest of my work.Even though I only did half of my cakes in a 20 quart mixing bowl, it was still difficult.I again had the help of Ericka in the mixing process.
The cake is a butter cake that uses the creaming method to prepare it.I only added about a third of the flour and had Ericka try to pulse the paddle of the mixer so the flour didn’t fly.Needless to say, that strategy didn’t work.Before I knew it, there was flour all over the floor, the mixer, and me! It took over 12 different pans to make enough cake for my finished product.Later that night I was washing batter from my hair, and pouring flour out my shoes…
Two days and over 15 pounds of buttercream later, I was ready to start making my cake!
To Be Continued…