I spent a lot of money. Maybe too much. A question came up: In the end, what do I get for winning? The answer: A ribbon, that's all, just a ribbon. I couldn't even advertise who I was, so no recognition there either. BUT they do sell samples of each one (we had to make 10 dozen mini's) and all proceeds went to the Canadian Cancer Society - so that was a plus.
I woke up at 7am on Friday to begin all the baking, and I didn't get to bed until 2am Saturday. Then I had to be up by 6am so I could top all 120 mini's with fresh fruit. I was a little tired.
We were there by 8:30am to set up our table. I did a a rather simple display. Brown sugar on the table for the sand, the cupcake in a coconut, a net that I forgot to put down, and a tropical stand on the side with mini's displayed.
My display was lacking compared to others - some were quite grand and mine was rather simple. I will definitely kick it up a notch now that I know. One of the other bakers made a three foot palm tree - which I thought was amazing!
She didn't win for her presentation though, which surprised me. I loved it!
After set up, we could go home until judging time, but we hung around for the duration of the challenge, drank a lot of coffee, browsed the market, visited with family and friends that came out to support and chatted with an aunt of a childhood friend of mine who was placed right beside me in the competition (small world). It really was a fun morning!
Noon rolled around and all bakers gathered for the judges decisions. I was contestant number two, and I saw on the sheet as it passed by in the hands of the announcer, that number two won a category. I was very excited for a second, however, when I arrived, number three had set up in my number two spot and so it was actually her that was 'number two'. I wasn't called for any of the categories - which was disappointing. However, ALL the mini's sold out, so I would guess $600 was raised for the Canadian Cancer Society!
Things I learned: The 'mixed drink' seemed to be a common flavour combo for this, I think 5 out of the 7 went in this direction so it was good not to. There was an avocado mousse on one, it looked pretty at the beginning but after it was out for a couple hours, it turned brown. My son didn't like the taste of that one, said it was like grass. It did have a very 'green' flavour to it. If you are a smoker (which I'm not), don't do it near your baked goods, you can taste it. My display will be bigger and better next time. I will not do fresh fruit again - it made for a very early morning and added to the cost. I will always bring my oldest son to these events - he was an excellent taster and reported his thoughts on each one.
I will probably do it again, as it really was exciting. Besides, I really do want one of those 'Iron Cupcake' ribbons. Even if it is just a ribbon.
When I got home, my thoughtful daughter had presented me with a gift:
Best ribbon ever! It is hung up inside my baking cupboard so I can look at it every time I bake. It's makes me smile.