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7 March 2006

Cake Making

For the people in today's story, cakes aren't just for eating. They make cakes to enter in competitions.

INTERVIEWER: Can you tell me your name and how you're involved here?

BILL: I'm Bill Prad. I originally started cooking and displaying in various country shows and everyone convinced me I might as well try the Adelaide Show, so I did this year.

I've made an orange cake, just for the open cookery competition. It hasn't got anywhere but first time you don't really expect to.

INTERVIEWER: What do you believe is the secret behind making a good cake?

BILL: I believe it's following the recipe to the letter.

INTERVIEWER: So how long have you been baking for and what inspired you to start entering competitions?

BILL: I've probably been putting in country shows for about three years and I've won a second and a third in men's competitions. I've won a first in orange cake, but I that's all. I haven't done many.

INTERVIEWER: How long have you been baking for and how did you start baking?

BILL: My other half does all the cooking and baking and I decided I'd better challenge her.

INTERVIEWER: So how do your cakes compare with her cakes?

BILL: Nowhere near as good.

INTERVIEWER: Can you take me through the process of actually making an orange cake?

BILL: Mine is interesting because it's a very old recipe. So it's a case of sometimes trying to judge what will actually be the same in metric. Getting all the ingredients, mixing them up right, then putting them in and cooking and letting it cool so you can ice it. This year it worked out all right. The one I did before, it was lovely and cool and I was about to ice it and the cat walked across it. So, yes.

INTERVIEWER: Do you have many disasters when you're figuring out a recipe?

BILL: No, I have not actually cooked a cake that I haven't put in. I've come close a couple of times, but no, I have put them all in.

INTERVIEWER: Tell me about the judging process. How does that work?

BILL: The judges come along and do it here as a closed session. They look at the cake, they judge it on its appearance and everything else. They then cut it and check that it's cooked properly, that it's got a good texture on it, it hasn't got too many holes in it. They'll check where the icing is to make sure you haven't filled the cracks in and then they'll cut a piece out and taste it. So it goes off of everything.

BILL: And half of it is looks and quarter is texture I think, and about a quarter is taste.

INTERVIEWER: So you don't actually get to taste the cake that you've made?

BILL: If it's a one day Show, yes we get to take it home and try it then. These have been here several days and no, they won't be edible.

INTERVIEWER: Can you tell us your name and what it is you're involved in here today?

KAY: My name is Kay and I've entered cooking and jams and preserves and needlework into the Adelaide Show so I've come along to have a look at it.

INTERVIEWER: And how have you gone today with what you've entered?

It's been really exciting. I've won a few first prizes. I've failed in a few things but that's the fun of it.

INTERVIEWER: Tell us about the prizes.

KAY: I've got a few firsts, one with my olives and one with my grapefruit marmalade, one with my sultana cake and quite a few with my needlework which I haven't looked at yet.

INTERVIEWER: So which of these is your best thing which you like?

KAY: My grapefruit marmalade. It won last year as first prize and it's also got a first prize this year, so that's really hard to do to get two years in a row, so I'm really excited about that because most of the other exhibitors are probably double my age. So I'm really excited.

INTERVIEWER: So how did you start making grapefruit marmalade and why are you so.?

KAY: I've been making jams and stuff for a long time, for years, and I was talked into showing it a few years ago. And I just enjoy cooking so it's something I do at home and everybody that's got fruit gives it to me so I make use of it. Even though I don't eat half the stuff I make I hand it back as presents.

INTERVIEWER: So how do you make the jam. Is there a secret?

KAY: Marmalade there is, because you need to soak the fruit overnight to get rid of the bitterness. A lot of cutting up, a lot of fine cutting and be very watchful when you cook it. It's trial and error.

INTERVIEWER: And what about sultana cakes.?

KAY: Okay, the sultana cake, a lot of that is in the baking. You have to be very careful there's no cracks on top. You have to make sure it's cooked in the middle but you can't put a skewer in to test it so it all becomes trial and error, and tap on the top and hope to God it's worked. You don't know until they cut it how well it's done, so it's trial and error.

INTERVIEWER: How are they judged? Do you have any role?

KAY: I have no involvement in the judging. I have watched a lot of it to get the finer points on what they're looking for. The fruit cakes and sultana cakes they look on the evenness, on how even the fruit is cut. They cut every cake, ever cake is cut in halves and tested, so it doesn't only go on looks, it goes on taste as well. So that's how they judge. The same with the jams and the preserves, they do the same there. They test every one of them, they taste every one of them so it goes on looks and taste.

INTERVIEWER: Can you tell me about the first prize that you ever won?

KAY: My first prize in a showing was when I was really young as a child in a country show. I don't even remember what it was but my Adelaide Show, last year was the first one and my grapefruit marmalade was the most exciting because marmalade is a hard jam to make.

INTERVIEWER: And what about your needlework?

KAY: Yes I do a lot of dressmaking and have some dressmaking in the needlework section which are some garments I've made for friends and family and I'm quite excited because quite a few of them received prizes.

INTERVIEWER: And how are those judged?

KAY: What they do with the judging of them, a lot of them are actually turned inside out. They start the judging with the garment inside out. They check the sewing, how straight it is, how neat it is. They then turn the garment in the right way and they check on general appearance, make sure there's no loose cottons, all that sort of stuff. So some of it is on general appearance and sometimes it comes down to what appeals to the judge.

INTERVIEWER: And how much time do you spend working.?

KAY: Yes, I have some patterns and material put away for next year and the cakes and the marmalade comes as the fruit comes. If it's good fruit it makes good marmalade and jams so you know when you make it whether it's a good one or not. And the needlework, you're just looking all the time and you think, 'yes, that would be really nice for the Show' and you hope it comes at Show time that you do right.

INTERVIEWER: And have you made any plans for next year for someone you might make?

KAY: I've got a few ideas. I'm really hoping I can perhaps do a little bit better in my cakes. There's a few fruit cakes I'd like to exceed on but they're all trial and error. We don't mind eating the failures.

story notes

open cookery competition
Cookery refers to the skill or activity of preparing food. And here open means without restriction. An open competition doesnít restrict entry to a certain type of person - anyone can enter.

A recipe is a set of instructions telling you how to prepare and cook food.

to the letter
To do something to the letter is to follow instructions exactly and with attention to every detail.

Example: I followed his instructions to the letter.
Click here for more idioms and common expressions.

Here won is the past participle of the irregular verb win. Follow the link below to find out more and to listen to some examples.
more information: win

other half
wife or husband

Example: I'll have to talk to my other half to make sure it's alright.
Click here for more idioms and common expressions.

Metric is a system of measurement. It uses metres and litres as the basis of measurement. Billís recipe uses an older system of measurement - the imperial system of pounds and ounces.

Here come is the past participle of the irregular verb come. Follow the link below to find out more and to listen to some examples.
more information: come

The judges are people who decide who wins - they make decisions about which cake is the best.

come along

Example: She'll come along soon.
For more meanings and examples of the phrasal verb get up, follow the link below.
more information: come along

Here made is the past participle of the irregular verb make. Follow the link below to find out more and to listen to some examples.
more information: make

Jam is a food made from fruit boiled with sugar to form a thick sauce.

Preserves are jars of fruit or vegetables preserved in a syrup or brine.

Needlework is sewing.

come along
Here, to come along is to go somewhere

Example: I'll come along to the bar later.
For more meanings and examples of the phrasal verb get up, follow the link below.
more information: come along

how have you gone
The question how have you gone? means 'how well have you performed'.

trial and error
Trial and error refers to a way of working something out by doing something again and again until you find the right way.

Example: I didn't know how to do it at first, but after a bit of trail and error I learned how.
Click here for more idioms and common expressions.

finer points
When she says finer points she means the exact details.