Greg creams competition at national cake awards
CHALLENGING 388 women in a bake-off would be daunting for most men, but not Cumbalum’s Greg Smith, who recently placed second in the Australian National Cake Awards.
The former farmer and cane cutter, who has been baking cakes for 48 years and is approaching his 8000th cake, said being judged by nine women was more intimidating.
“I’ve entered the national bridal awards several times and done well, but this was my first time in the national cake awards,” he said.
“There were nine lady judges, so I felt I was against it from the start.
“I was thinking to myself, ‘Gees, there’s only two blokes competing and nine lady judges, so I’m going to get a hard time here’.”
But his chocolate mud cake with white fondant icing and edible, hand-made flower decorations, impressed at the Brisbane-based contest.
“It got down to the top 50 and I was number 47, then they cut the numbers down to 25 and I was 18, then down to 10 and I was still in,” he said.
“It was nerve-racking when it got down to the final three and my name was still there.”
Mr Smith said the secret of his success was a family one.
“My dad used to do a few cakes ‘the old-fashioned way’ and he taught me a lot,” he said.
“I can still make cakes using the traditional methods where most people wouldn’t know what I am doing.
“Using modern methods, today, making a cake takes a quarter of the time.
“Back in the 1950s we used to have to beat the icing with a mallet, because it was as hard as a rock, then roll it for half an hour – just to make icing! ... today you just spread the icing on.”
On Wednesday Mr Smith got an invitation to compete in the Foxtel Lifestyle program Australia’s Biggest Bake-off, which is judged by renowned chefs Maggie Beer and Mat Moran.
When he retires, Mr Smith said he is going to offer his business to his grandchildren, to keep the family tradition going.