SweetArt Bake Expo introduces Battle of the Giants Cake Off
Whoever said baking is a piece of cake has never met these Battle of the Giants contestants. Delivering on exquisite taste and show-stopping presentations, five bakers duked it out at the seventh staging of the SweetArt Bake Expo held at The Jamaica Pegasus on Sunday in what could only be described as the mother of all showdowns. In the end, it was Camille Flimn who emerged victorious and was crowned the cake queen.
“Sugar art is a testimony to the greatness of God for me,” Flimn told Food. Taking on the underwater treasure theme, she constructed a beautiful chest of a sunken Spanish galleon which was set to carry treasure back to the country. “Talk about leaving precious cargo behind,” the baker and owner of Cake Couture Ja shared.
The former flight attendant explained that based on the theme, treasures under the sea, she created a stunning treasure chest filled with Spanish doubloons with a rare, pink diamond nestled in the centre.
“Hanging precariously on a coral reef ledge, rust and time has eaten away at the chest and, it has now opened, spilling its precious contents all over the coral reef floor. This hadn’t gone unnoticed by the shine loving, blue ringed octopus, who has claimed the treasure as his own! He hides stealthily in a cave, but simply can’t help but to hold on to the chest. He is surrounded by beautiful fish, such as Moorish idol, French angelfish, copper band butterfly fish and clown fish, all in a glowing anemone,” she added.
Creating her sweet masterpiece in an 18-hour window was no easy feat. She was still fulfilling orders, when up to the day of the competition. But knowing that she works fast and pretty well under pressure eased any stress as it related to the execution element.
“When I put my base on the presentation table, I knew that I had gained new supporters! It was such an overwhelming feeling, especially after being so tired with regular work orders. The adrenaline went into full effect! Many patrons were everyday people, not cake bakers and decorators, which also makes them potential clients. They are the true judges, actually,” Flimn highlighted.
After she was made redundant from Air Jamaica, she said that she spent the better part of a year not knowing where to turn next, all the while raising four children in the process. That was until her son’s birthday changed life as she knew it forever.
“I decided to have a birthday party for my son and, unable to afford a custom cake, I decided to try my hand. I’ve always had an artistic flair, painting pieces at Immaculate for friends, painting murals and executing wedding and event décor. When the parents saw what I did, well, the rest is history! My son’s friend’s parents were my first clients!
She went on to create this alternative stream of income and could not be happier.
To take home the gold as the first ever battle of the giants winner is truly an honour for the cake entrepreneur. This is her fourth competitive win since becoming a baker and she is grateful to remain undefeated thus far.
So what’s next for Flimn? She is invited to another competition so she’s gearing up for that cake venture, “Apart from that, it’s back to work, improving my skills etc and growing as an artist, with the intention to share the same, by teaching, in the very near future.”
Allison Balfour-Henry of Sweet Mischief Ja took home the silver with her beautiful clamshell adorned with pearls.
“Originally, I thought of doing a treasure chest and fabulous octopus trying on her jewels that she got from the sunken ship but figured someone else must be doing a treasure chest. So I chose to do the clam shell instead with the robotic arms that would make it open and close like a real Clam would because I’m extra like that,” the master cake decorator of 15 years highlighted.
It took her approximately about 10 to 15 hours over the week before the competition. And a great amount of research went into figuring out the mechanics of opening and closing clamshells. “It was a wonderful experience competing live for the first time. I went up there and gave it my all and I’m extremely proud of my final piece,” Balfour-Henry added.
The bronze went to Laqueata Donaldson of Cakes by Queata. “I wanted to do something that I didn’t think the other bakers would do,” the cake sculpting queen shared, adding, “...but at the same time, I wanted to make sure that the judges and audience would be able to understand my art. My piece is called, ‘Seahorse, the guardian of the sea’. His job is to protect the coral reefs and its treasures.”
When asked how it felt to finish in the top three, Donaldson confessed, “It doesn’t feel like third place, it just feels like a win!”