Where can you kiss Food Network star Kerry Vincent, work on a record-breaking cake display, view some of the most amazing cakes in the world, and eat deep fried butter all in one day?
Tulsa, Oklahoma of course. Okay, okay, maybe I shouldn’t have add the “of course.” I was sure surprised when I first found out that one of the largest cake competitions in the world is held in Tulsa. Oklahoma is a very dear state to me. I went to college there, met my husband there and still have many friends and family that live there. But I never would have dreamed that a cake show as elite as the Oklahoma State Sugar Art Show would come out of this part of the country.
If you are wondering “why Tulsa?” maybe it will help to explain that the show’s founder and director, Food Network Challenge star, Kerry Vincent, calls Tulsa home. She started the show, referred to as OSSAS, in 1993 and it has continued to grow and attract both national and international attention with each passing year.
I had the chance to visit OSSAS this last fall for the first time. Every year the show coincides with the Oklahoma State Fair in Tulsa around the first week of October.
To say I was amazed with what I saw would be an understatement. When I compete in the cake competition at our local county fair here in Montana they are lucky if they get five cakes entered, but walking into the Oklahoma show was every cake lover’s dream. Row after row, I gazed upon some of the most beautiful cakes I have ever seen. There were literally hundreds of entries from all age levels.
The show is basically divided into two competitions, the wedding cake competition and the general competition. The wedding cake competition is for the best of the best. The talent and skills have to be flawless to win. Flora Aghababyan of Las Vegas, Nevada took home the grand prize for the 2010 wedding cake competition. My photo doesn’t do this incredible cake justice.
Below are pictures of just a fraction of the other wedding cake entries. I would have loved to photograph them all but I didn’t have that kind of time or a decent camera with me. Here is just a little glimpse at the wonderment.
The general competition is open for decorators of all levels and includes categories such a tiered cakes, novelty cakes, gingerbread houses, chocolate, and more. I didn’t bring anything to enter because I had to fly down and I wanted to just observe for my first time but, if I return in the future I will definitely have to bring an entry. It is so fun seeing all the creative things different cake artists come up with. Below are a few of my favorites.
During the show you had the chance to attend demonstrations and check out vendor booths which carried some of the newest products in the confectionery market. Karen Tack and Alan Richardson, authors of Hello, Cupcake! and What’s New, Cupcake?, were on site autographing their books and giving demonstrations on how to make their unique cupcakes.
After the show there was a two day workshop lead by Kerry Vincent, Bronwen Weber, Cheri Elder and Carolyn Mangold. Under the direction of these talented women, the participants worked together to create one of the world’s largest cake displays. It was titled “Halloween’s Last Hurrah” and included a haunted house, life-size Frankenstein, graveyard and more.
It was amazing to see all the workers come together and create such a massive display in such short time. I couldn’t believe I was working on the same project as some of my favorite celebrity cake decorators.
The best part of the week was when I was placed in a work group with two incredible decorators from Texas, Kristi Bomar and Cynthia Bayne. Not only did I learn a ton from them but they were a total blast! You notice the crazy fairy outfits we are wearing? That was their doing. They made the long hours so much fun with their crazy singing, cooky outfits and lots of laughter. I left with some new friends and a ton of great memories.
Oh, and I can’t forget…proof of the deep fried butter I mentioned in the beginning. I think they will deep fry just about anything at the fair!
By the time the show and workshop were over, I was exhausted. It really gave me a new appreciation for the amount of stress the contestants, on shows like Challenge and Ultimate Cake Off, go through to finish such amazing cakes in such a short amount of time. I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to attend this amazing show and take part in such a monumental event.
If you are interested in attending this year’s show on October 1-2, visit the Oklahoma State Sugar Art Show website for information and entry forms.
Until next time, God Bless and Sweet Dreams.