For an hour-and-a-half yesterday, I ate my way through at least a dozen wedding cakes prepared by students and professionals at the fifth annual Let Them Eat Cake wedding cake design competition, a City of Hope fundraising event held at Loews Philadelphia Hotel. The proceeds benefit cancer research, treatment and educational programs.
Below are some photos from the event—yes, I know I need a new digital camera and a few photography courses! I’ll have access to professional shots later today, plus bakery names. The entire tasting was “blind,” meaning we didn’t have (and I still don’t) any idea who the bakeries/students were. Winners were announced after I had departed, and all of that info will be posted a.s.a.p. The cakes were gorgeous, so if you’re a bride, the mother of a bride or the friend of a bride, there’s some very useful information to be had. Stay tuned â€¦
The panel of judges—all far cooler and higher-profile than myself, and far more adept at making and critiquing these culinary works of art—included Colette Peters of Cakes by Colette in New York City who’s also a Food Network personality; Monica Glass of 10 Arts; Mark Tofoya of Remarkable Palette in NYC; Judy Faye, producer of “The Book and the Cook” event; local media personality and chef Hope Cohen; Philly-based chef/author Aliza Green; Kathy Gold of The Cooking Company; and Charlotte Ann Albertson of the Charlotte Ann Albertson School.
This was serious business, so we engaged in very little chitchat as we stuck our forks into each piece of cake—no worries, we got a new fork for every bite—and filled in sheet after sheet with numbers (1-10). I wavered between worrying that I was being too tough or too generous with my scores. And I was bummed that I couldn’t make notes like “moist cake,” “unique flavor” or “can’t cut through the fondant.”
While the cakes were indeed eye-catching, especially the ones by the pros, I was disappointed in the lack of taste. As much as I hate to say this, most did not taste as good as I had hoped. I’ve written articles on wedding cakes in the past, and I always wound up featuring the bakeries whose offerings not only looked amazing but also were full of flavor and cake that’d be delicious even without any filling or icing surrounding the layers.
While there was little standout flavor coming off my fork, there was plenty of sugar. I had definitely had enough by the time the judging stopped. But I’d be first in line to volunteer again.
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