Sponsored by Renshaw

Winner – Terry Tang Designer Cakes

Terry Tang first utilised his creative side when he left school and trained as a stonemason, learning to create items ranging from decorative archways to designer fireplaces. “As my children grew up I began making cakes to celebrate each of their birthdays,” he says.

Family and friends noticed his talent and, in 2000, he decided to open Liverpool-based Terry Tang Designer Cakes, with wife Carol running the business side and daughter Leanne joining him in cake decorating.

Like all the entrants in this year’s award, they were called on to demonstrate set skills – including use of marzipan, sugarpaste and royal icing – and answer a brief calling for a two-tier cake representing this year’s BIA theme of the Wild West.

For their cake, Terry Tang and daughter Leanne sculpted a square base featuring four Wild West scenes: the Tombstone jail, a blacksmith’s livery stables, the Western Union railway station, and the Deadwood saloon.

“I researched the era thoroughly, it was fascinating! I had over 100 pages of printouts,” says Leanne.

The four scenes on the base of the cake are topped off by a wooden roof that merges up into a rock face featuring symbols of the US: a black bear, a bald eagle, a white wolf and two native American Indians, together with two cowboys.

Finalist: Elaine’s Creative Cakes

Elaine Hamey has a strong pedigree: her mum was a cake decorating teacher at Tameside.

Hamey followed in her footsteps by attending college at Salford, where she took her City and Guilds exams.

She then worked her way up at various craft bakeries before stepping into her mum’s shoes and teaching cake decorating herself at Tameside.

Hamey returned to the retail world for 15 years, winning many competitions, before eventually opening her own shop, conveniently near her son’s school.

While wedding cakes are Hamey’s favourite type of work, she fully embraced this year’s Wild West theme with a creation that showed off her skills to great effect. Among the features on the lower level of her cake is a Wild West wagon with food and utensils inside, accompanied by a weary cook, a native American squaw and chief complete with wigwam. Placed on top is a cowboy astride a galloping white horse, with reins in one hand and hat in the other.

“I used muted browns, reds and greens to blend in with the authentic landscape of the time,” says Hamey.

Finalist: Beachcomber Cakes

Lisa Parkinson has been making cakes for more than 20 years, but started Beachcomber Cakes in Romney Marsh just four years ago – a far cry from her previous role in microbiology.

“I don’t usually enter competitions as I’m so busy,” she says. “But my dear uncle Fred, who died last year, had a pop-up book made of old hide, entitled Wild West Chronicles, which I adored. So I had to enter!”

Parkinson likes to be known for her attention to detail – and there is plenty of evidence of this in her entry, which was inspired by her uncle’s book.

The cover comprises a cakeboard base covered in layers of wafer paper to resemble the cracked animal hide of the original book cover.

Images were printed onto edible sugarpaste sheets, then hand-coloured, while hand-piping in royal icing and silver leaf completes the cover designs. 

Popping up from the centre of the book are figures of a pioneer man and woman, a native American Indian, a mustang and a buffalo skull.