Las Vegas had never seen the likes of it: flag-waving ants on a cake shaped like a pimento and watermelon, courtesy of Hood River decorator Kim Deskin.
Deskin, who works in Rosauers Supermarket bakery, took second in the three-day cake decorating contest at the Nevada city’s Hilton Convention Center, sponsored by the International Dairy Deli Bakery Association (IDDBA).
Deskin said she had an “absolutely incredible” time at the competition, competing against a woman from Florida and another woman from Ohio.
Deskin was accompanied by her friend, Teri Winston of Troutdale, a former Hood River Rosauers employee, who had urged Deskin to try out for the contest.
“She got me into it, she was going to see me through it,” Deskin said.
Competition lasted at least four hours each of the three days. The first day’s challenge was to build and decorate a wedding cake. Contestants worked with pre-baked cakes under the eyes of two judges — and plenty of spectators.
The third day was devoted to three special theme cakes, starting with the July 4 watermelon cake, then a honeycomb cake complete with bumble bees saying “Bee Mine.” The third theme cake was the required design, an interpretation of the IDDBA logo.
But the second of the three days was the toughest: Deskin had four hours to fill an eight-foot case with decorated cakes, with points earned for each cake completed during that time.
“The biggest obstacle was with this one,” she said.
“Las Vegas had a heat wave going. It was 110 degrees, and the place where the (competition) cakes was two blocks away, so by the time they arrived they were hot and sticky cakes. That made them really hard to work with.
“It was very challenging,” Deskin said, to assemble, decorate, and display the cakes and keep good quality, she said.
“I was pleased with my overall performance,” said Deskin, who stood in a glass booth surrounded by onlookers all three days.
“It was like being in a fishbowl,” said Deskin, adding that she is used to people watching her work at Rosauers, where she has worked in the bakery for the better part of the 30 years.
And now she’s ready for more. Competing in Las Vegas gave her new ideas as a decorator and provided many new contacts for freelance decorating work.
“It gave me a lot of confidence,” she said. “I’m convinced that quality is the way to go.”