Let Them Eat Cake 2018 Rules & Guidelines

*** As of August 15, applications for cakes are now closed. Thank you to everyone who entered a cake! ***

If you are participating in Let Them Eat Cake 2018, you're in the right place! This page has just about everything you need to know about the contest and the day-of the event.

If you have any questions, please contact Rachel Dingfelder, Development & Communications Manager at r.dingfelder@midwifecenter.org or 412.321.6880 x208.

General event info

Let Them Eat Cake: Make Waves
13th annual fundraiser for The Midwife Center

Friday, October 19, 2018 at Hotel Monaco, 620 William Penn Place, Pittsburgh, PA 15219

Schedule
4:30 - 5:30 pm | Cake drop-off
6:00 pm | VIP Champagne Reception & Dinner with VIP ticket
8:00 pm | Cake Reception (Main event), included in baker entry fee
9:30 pm | Awards
10:30 pm | End of event

The schedule is subject to change.

Expert Judge Panel
Angelique Bamberg, City Paper
Victoria Bradley-Morris, Editor in Chief, TABLE
Frank Locante, Penzeys Spices
Chef William M. Racin, CEPC, Duquesne Club, American Culinary Federation Pastry Chef of the Year 2018
Jason Roth, City Paper
Arthi Subramaniam, Food Editor, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Briana "Bree" White, Breelicious Bites, New Pittsburgh Courier, & The Soul Pitt
Chef Don Winkie, Eighty Acres Kitchen & Bar

 
Theme: Make Waves

From the refreshment of a cool drink to the pleasure of listening to a summer’s rainstorm, from the smallest of streams to the world’s great oceans, this year’s theme highlights the beauty and power of water in all of its forms. You are asked to create a cake that is inspired by this theme. This could include:

- Any and all representations of water and bodies of water, including oceans, seas, ponds, rivers, and more.
- Animals, plants, and other things found in water or in relationship to water, both real and imaginary, underwater life and ecosystems
- The movement and power of water, the enchantment of water, the healing nature of water

You are encouraged to express your uniqueness and creativity when it comes to the theme. You will also have the opportunity to express the theme in your cake name and description.  

The cakes do not have to relate to babies, pregnancy or women’s health, but they certainly can. 

 
Applying for the contest

Who can apply
Both professionals and amateurs may apply to compete under one division in the Taste or Decorated categories. Please note, there will not be separate amateur and professional divisions this year. For more information please read our FAQ at the bottom of this page.

How to apply
Step 1: Fill out the online application form
Step 2: Pay application fee and purchase a reduced-price ticket for a guest (optional). Click here to be taken to our secure payment page.

Typically, participants apply to enter one cake in either the Taste category or Decorated category. You may apply to enter one cake in each category, however we cannot guarantee we’ll have space for both of your cakes. We will do our best to accommodate both cakes.

You may not enter multiple cakes in one category.

Application fees & tickets for bakers and their guests
$25 - early application fee if submitted by July 31, 2018
$35 - application fee if submitted between August 1 and August 15, 2018

If your cake is accepted, one ticket to the Cake Reception is included in your application fee. In most cases you (the entrant) use this ticket. You have the option of purchasing one Baker Guest Ticket for the Cake Reception at the reduced price of $35.00 (regular price $75.00) for a guest. Additional Cake Reception tickets are regular price.

How our application process works
The Midwife Center will collect and review applications from June 13, 2018 until the early application date of July 31, 2018. On a rolling basis, we will notify applicants who apply before the early application date if their cake has been selected by August 1, 2018. The Midwife Center will continue to accept applications until the final application date of August 15, 2018. The Midwife Center will let you know if your cake has been selected no later than August 20, 2018.

Please apply as soon as you can, as we fill up each year.

We will select cakes according to the following criteria:
- Applicants who apply by the early application date, July 31, 2018, will be given preference. We have limited space and our contest fills up every year. We strongly encourage you to apply as early as possible.
- We will review your cake description on your application. You don’t need to have your recipe or design completely finalized, but the more you can tell us, the better understanding we’ll have of your cake.
- We will give preference to applicants who have won an award at a previous Let Them Eat Cake event. That said, if you have never entered a cake or won an award at Let Them Eat Cake, we encourage you to apply. Every year we have new bakers and decorators be a part of the contest and win awards.
- If you have never participated before and would like to apply this year, we strongly encourage you to email us photos and/or descriptions of your past creations. Photos can be emailed to Rachel at r.dingfelder@midwifecenter.org

The Midwife Center reserves the right to decline any cake, leading up to the event or at the event, for any reason and without explanation. Your application fee will be refunded as soon as possible.

 
Cake drop off

Your cake must be dropped off at Hotel Monaco on Friday, October 19, 2018 between 4:30-5:30 pm. Volunteers will be available to help you with your cake. 

If your cake requires additional assembly, this must be completed by 5:45 pm.

You may take your leftover cake home after the event is over. We will dispose of any cakes remaining after the event. We will not be held responsible for any non-disposable cake containers, plates, or stands left by bakers, so please make arrangements to collect these at the end of the night.

 
Contest categories & cake specs

Let Them Eat Cake has two categories, Taste and Decorated. The following specifications apply to ALL cakes, both Taste and Decorated, and must be met for your cake to be accepted.

- Your cake design/recipe, name, and description must reflect the theme
- You may not use rotating or moving cake stands.
- You are required to follow all applicable food safety regulations in the preparation of your cake.
- You cake cannot be offensive or discriminatory. Please contact us with any questions.
- Previous winners of the Let Them Eat Cake contest are asked NOT to submit cake designs or recipes that have won in previous Let Them Eat Cake events.

Taste Cakes - additional specs and rules
- You must prepare two identical cakes.
- Your cake cannot exceed 12” in diameter or in length and width
- Your cake stand or plate should not exceed 14” in diameter or in length and width.
- Your cake must be fully baked, edible, and made entirely by you.
- Your cake will be cut up into small sample-sized cubes for judges and guests to taste.
- Your cake cannot require refrigeration. Your cake will be at room temperature for 5-6 hours. You may deliver your cake in a container if you wish.
- Your cake must be entirely edible. You are welcome to add decorative elements to your cake, however these elements must be edible and they will not factor into the judge’s scores. You may not use wire or other non-edible materials in your cake, as this could pose a danger to judges and guests.

Decorated Cakes - additional specs and rules
- Your cake cannot exceed 12” in diameter or in length and width
- Your cake stand or plate should not exceed 14” in diameter or in length and width. There are no cake or stand height restrictions.
- Decorated cakes will be displayed on round tables. Guests and judges will be able to view your cake from all sides. Please design your cake accordingly. 
- Decorated cakes can be made in traditional or “novelty” shapes.
- Cakes cannot be interactive
- Your creation will not be sampled for taste, however the visible, decorative, and external elements of the cake must be edible and made by you.
- You may use actual cake, icing, fondant, marzipan, sugar glass, and any other type of edible material.
- Regarding the inside of your creation: in place of actual cake, you may use foam or other materials. However, supportive foam or other similar materials cannot be visible. 
- You may use toothpicks, wire, dowels, or similar materials to support your cake, however the less visible those materials are, the better your score.

 
Judging & awards

Please note that our awards and judging criteria have changed from previous years. Each winning baker/decorator will win a gift card from Whole Foods and a plate from Riverside Design group.

Taste Cakes 
Taste cakes will first be judged by a panel of expert judges. Only the cake name and description will be visible to judges. Each judge will rate your cake on a scale of 1-5 for each of the following criteria, for a maximum of 20 points per judge.
• Flavor

• Texture

• Use of Theme

• Originality


Next, guests will vote for their favorite Taste Cake. The baker/bakery name will be displayed along with the cake name and description. Each guest vote is worth .25 points.

Taste Cake Awards
• First Place - based on judge points and guest votes

• Second Place - based on judge points and guest votes

• Notable Taste - based solely on judge points for the Flavor and Texture criteria combined

• Notable Creativity - based solely on judge points for the Use of Theme and Originality criteria combined


Notable awards are only available to cakes that did not win First or Second place. If there is a tie for one of the Notable awards, guest votes will be the tie-breaker. If the same cake wins for both Notables, Notable Taste will take precedence and the cake with the next best score for Use of Theme and Originality combined will receive the Notable Creativity award.

On the day of the event judges and contest management may add honorable mention awards for cakes that stand out in other ways. Honorable mentions do not include prizes. If the judges and contest management determine that any honorable mentions are warrented, these will be announced during the Awards announcement.

Decorated Cakes
Decorated cakes will first be judged by a panel of expert judges. Each judge will rate your cake on a scale of 1-5 for each of the following criteria, for a maximum of 20 points.
• Artistic Design
• Use of Edible Materials

• Use of Theme

• Originality


Next, guests will vote for their favorite Decorated Cake. The baker/bakery name will be displayed along with the cake name and description. Each guest vote is worth .25 points.

Decorated Cake Awards
• First Place - based on judge points and guest votes

• Second Place - based on judge points and guest votes

• Notable Design & Skill - based solely on judge points for the Artistic Design and Use of Edible Materials criteria combined

• Notable Creativity - based solely on judge points for the Use of Theme and Originality criteria combined


Notable awards are only available to cakes that did not win First or Second place. If there is a tie for one of the Notable awards, guest votes will be the tie-breaker. If the same cake wins for both Notables, Notable Design & Skill will take precedence and the cake with the next best scores for Use of Theme and Originality combined will receive Notable Creativity.

On the day of the event judges and contest management may add honorable mention awards for cakes that stand out in other ways. Honorable mentions do not include prizes. If the judges and contest management determine that any honorable mentions are warrented, these will be announced during the Awards announcement.

More details
- Expert judging will take place before the Cake Reception.
- Guests will vote for their cakes during the Cake Reception.
- Judging is strictly confidential until the results are formally announced.
- Judge points and guest votes will be counted by designated volunteers. The results will be reported to designated Midwife Center staff and the announcer before announcements are made.
- All results are kept confidential by event volunteers until the announcement at the end of the event. Any interaction between unannounced winners and event photographers, judges or guests is coincidental and not driven by scoring results. 
- Winners will be announced at end of the event and may be reported in media outlets. Winners will also be announced in The Midwife Center’s email newsletter, website, and social media.

 
FAQ

Why is the contest just one division? Isn’t that unfair to amateurs?
We’ve been running this event for the last 12 years and in that time we have seen and tasted incredible cakes by both amateurs and professionals. Amateur scores have rivaled professional scores, and amateur cakes have won People’s Choice awards in the past. Whether you consider yourself an amateur or professional baker or decorator, we want you to have fun, develop your skills, and challenge yourself.

In addition, we’ve revamped scoring and awards in order to spread the love and highlight specific areas of skill and creativity.

Why can’t I enter multiple cakes in one category?
We want to ensure we have room for as many different bakers and decorators as possible. This helps to ensure variety in theme use, recipes, artistic style, etc.

Can we enter a cake as a team?
Yes. Teams of up to five people may apply to enter a cake. One member of the team may use the Cake Reception ticket included in the application fee. One additional guest from the team may attend the Cake Reception at the Baker Guest Ticket price of $35.00. The remaining members of the team must purchase tickets to the event at full price.

How come the baker and baker guest tickets don’t include the VIP party this year?
As a growing nonprofit, The Midwife Center increasingly relies on its sponsors and donors to support programs for people who experience barriers to care. Therefore, we are dedicating the VIP portion of our biggest event of the year to VIP ticket holders and sponsors. Bakers are welcome to purchase VIP tickets if they wish; pricing will be released this summer.

Please note that if you’re accepted into the contest, your application fee includes a ticket to the Cake Reception (regular price $75.00), which will include the cake tasting and decorated cake gallery, refreshments, entertainment, silent auction, and more.

Why “Make Waves?”
We have never done a water theme before and are very excited to see what bakers and decorators create. Secondly, each year we try to connect the theme to The Midwife Center. In this case, the theme connects loosely to water birth, a new service we offer.

And finally, we appreciate the active, powerful feel of “Make Waves.” We believe in the power of individuals and families to make informed choices about their health care, including their births. As the only birth center in Western PA, we and our supporters are making waves by transforming what care looks like for individuals and families.

***

Please note: The Midwife Center reserves the right to change any of the information found on this page. We will notify applicants and/or participants of any significant changes ASAP.