It was less about having their cake and eating it too, but more about making the cake within the hour and a half time limit.
The 2013 North Dakota State Fair Cake Decorating Contest took place Sunday in the 4-H Hall in the State Fair Center.
Since all but two of the contestants dropped out prior to the contest, Christyn Knudtson, of Harvey, and Jennifer Rath, of Velva, were automatically deemed finalists and both guaranteed awards. The judges tried a small piece of each cake in the contest and then the cakes were displayed. Both contestants received cash prizes Knudtson, first place, $300; and Rath, second place, $200.
Shanda Cool, overseer of the cake decorating contest and owner of Sweet 'N Flour Patisserie, said the contestants had to go through some rigorous rules in order to be accepted into the contest, including a photo of a past practice cake and some paperwork detailing their baking experience.
The rules in the cake decorating contest included: cake decorators must be age 14 and over, and be an amateur, the cake must be the sole work of the decorator, the contestant must be willing to answer the judges' questions about the cake or decorating, and the cake may not have been submitted in another contest.
All cakes had to follow the theme "Great. Big. Fun" and were open to interpretation on the theme. Also, sculpted cakes had to include two photos of the work in progress to be displayed on the table.
The cakes were judged on interpretation of the theme, technical skill, overall visual appeal and taste.
The theme was open to artistic interpretation, said Erin Beck, assistant marketing director for the State Fair. "They have to stick with the theme, but they can use any aspect of the fair."
Cool said announcements were made on how much time was left in the contest every 30 minutes. Judging took place at 3:30 p.m.
This year, the rules were specified more so that contestants couldn't use Rice Krispies treats in their cakes, Cool noted. She said someone did that last year and the cake was more Rice Krispies treats than cake. The new rule this year was Rice Krispies treats could only make up 25 percent of the cake and other 75 percent had to be traditional cake.
It was disappointing to only have two contestants in this year's contest, Cool admitted, especially since there were seven contestants last year. "I'm disappointed to see that people didn't attempt," she said. "It's all in fun and people shouldn't be intimidated. I'd like to see more participation next year."
Next up in the cake decorating field at the State Fair will be the Kids Cupcake Decorating Contest on Saturday. Sweet 'N Flour Patisserie is sponsoring the event and donating the cupcakes. "We want to encourage kids to become interested in and continue with baking," Cool said.