State Cake Decorating Website (includes Record Sheet and Skills Sheet and Skills Chart)
General Exhibit Requirements
Skills Sheet (4-H 710A) must be attached to each cake. Materials at www.wilton.com may be used as reference.
4-H members may exhibit entries in Traditional and/or Without Tips. Only one record sheet is required. Traditional and Without Tips entries will be judged separately. There will be one State Fair entry per level of Traditional and no State Fair entries for Without Tips. Perishable exhibits, including cakes, may be discarded before end of Fair if condition deteriorates.
The cake decorating subject provides skills-based educational experiences that provide an opportunity for mastery before building on that experience to develop more advanced skills. This subject area is divided into three levels: Beginner (Grades 3-5), Intermediate (Grades 6-8), and Advanced (Grades 9-12). While the defined grades are intended to be a guide, older youth enrolled in this subject for the first time may start in a lower grade skill level with permission by the county extension educator, followed by an appropriate level the following year.
Skills and techniques demonstrated should be age/grade appropriate. While it is not to say a beginner level member cannot master an advanced level skill, it would be rare and unique. Therefore, exhibited cakes must demonstrate the minimum five techniques from their given level outlined in Indiana 4-H Cake Decorating Skills and Techniques, 4-H 710A, but may also include higher/lower level techniques that have been mastered. Any higher/lower level techniques will not be counted as part of the minimum five, but nevertheless will be evaluated for quality. All exhibited cakes must be created using a Styrofoam, foam, or other solid dummy. Unless otherwise stated, cakes are to be iced using royal icing or buttercream. Buttercream icing will not withstand environmental conditions and may become soft, melt, not withhold its shape, and colors may bleed when being displayed an extended period of time. When displaying a cut-up cake or tiered cake, the exhibitor must include a diagram and description indicating how the cake was assembled. This diagram and description can be attached to or written on the skills sheet. All exhibits must include a completed Cake Decorating Skills Sheet (4-H 710) and must accompany the cake for the judge’s reference during judging.
Beginner Level (Grades 3-5)
Cakes must be on a cake board approximately 3/8” thick and 2-4” larger than the cake. For example, if the cake is 8” in diameter, then the cake board must be 10-12” in diameter. The cake board must be neatly covered and well taped or otherwise attached underneath. Cakes exhibited in the beginner level are to be a single tier/layer, no more than 5” tall, and may be round, square, or rectangular and the cake board is to be no more than 12”x12”. A minimum of five beginner level skills are to be demonstrated. A list of skills to choose from can be found on the Indiana 4-H Cake Decorating Skills and Techniques, 4-H 710A sheet.
Intermediate Level (Grades 6-8)
Cakes must be on a cake board approximately 3/8” thick and 2-4” larger than the cake. For example, if the cake is 9”x13” rectangular, then the cake board must be 11”x15” to 13”x17” rectangular. The cake board must be neatly covered and well taped or otherwise attached underneath. Cakes exhibited in the intermediate level are to be a single or double tier/layer, no more than 12” tall and may be any shape. Youth may choose to decorate an inverted (upside down) character pan or create a 3-dimensional cake. It is also permissible to cut-up pieces of Styrofoam, foam, or other solid material to create a new shape, like a butterfly or castle for example. The cake board is to be no more than 24”x24”. A minimum of five intermediate level skills are to be demonstrated and the cake may include additional skills from the beginner level. A list of skills to choose from can be found on the Indiana 4-H Cake Decorating Skills and Techniques, 4-H 710A sheet.
Advanced Level (Grades 9-12)
Cakes must be on a cake board approximately ½” thick and 4” larger than the base cake. For example, if the cake is 26” in diameter, then the cake board must be 30” in diameter. The cake board must be neatly covered and well taped or otherwise attached underneath. Cakes exhibited in the advanced level may be multiple layer and/or tiered and may include multiple cakes, like a wedding cake. Youth may choose to create a character or 3-dimensional cake by cutting-up pieces of Styrofoam, foam, or other solid material to create a new shape. Dowel rods, plates, etc. should be used to support multiple layers and tiers. Fondant icing, gum, and sugar paste is permissible. Cakes may be any shape, no more than 36” tall and the cake board is to be no more than 36”x36”. A minimum of five advanced level skills are to be demonstrated and the cake may include additional skills from the beginner and intermediate levels. A list of skills to choose from can be found on the Indiana 4-H Cake Decorating Skills and Techniques, 4-H 710A sheet.
Level 1 (grades 3-5) Level 2 (grades 6-8) Level 3 (grades 9-12)
- Level 1 members may exhibit three cupcakes. For other levels, exhibit must be a cake, a cake form, or a mold pan or gingerbread house
which is decorated using common kitchen utensils, candies, coconut, edible paper material, etc.
- Pastry bags, tips, baggies, parchment bags, paper cones, etc., cannot be used as decorating equipment.
- Exhibit may be more than one cake mix. Creativity and difficulty should increase each year.
- Any decoration that resembles the effect of any cake decorating tip will not be eligible for an Honor ribbon.
- Cake cannot be larger than 25”x30” and the board cannot be larger than 28” x 33”. All cakes should be on a board thick enough to support the cake. The board is to be one inch (1”) larger than the cake, giving a border of a half inch (1/2”) around the cake. Boards should be covered neatly and well taped underneath. The cake board should match or be approximate shape of the finished cake, i.e. round cakes on round cake boards.
- A cake separator can also be used. Cake cannot be exhibited in the cake pan.
7. Exhibit must include a short description on a 3” x 5” or 4” x 6” card of how 4-H member decorated the cake. A current Lake County project label must be attached to the cake board or to the explanation card.
Interested in sponsoring a trophy or award for this project? Please contact the project superintendent or Extension Office at 219-755-3240 to learn more!