Kandee Dilldine helps 4-H students hone artistic skills through cake decorating
Dilldine is leading the Cake Decoration project for the Moffat County Fair
Craig — For about 10 years, Kandee Dilldine has served as a leader in the Cake Decorating project for the Moffat County Fair. Some of that work involves dipping into the tiniest intricacies of cake design.
“I talk about frosting and what consistency they need,” said, Dilldine, co-owner of KS Kreations in Craig. “They don’t want it too thick to frost their cake with, and they don’t want it too thin to make their decorations.”
Dilldine noted many different designs that she’s seen over the years, including flowers and flags.
“I’ve had mostly girls, but I’ve had a couple of boys in the classes before,” she said. And then she recalled a design.
“I had one boy who did a pig sty,” she said. “It was very creative. He used chocolate frosting for the mud, and he used pretzel sticks for the pen. He sculpted his pigs out of fondant.”
Dilldine said that particular cake was a “practice” cake, as opposed to a fair cake that’s part of the competition. She noted good success in the competition over the years.
“We’ve had lots of blue ribbons, and we’ve sent several to state over the past few years,” she said, noting that some won state ribbons, as well.
Dilldine emphasized the importance of learning-by-doing during practice.
“It’s really a hands-on learning process for them,” she said. “They do all of the work for them. I don’t frost their cakes for them; they have to do that themselves.”
The students work on four practice cakes, generally in from March through May, as they work toward preparing their fair cakes.
Dilldine said the students’ fair cakes aren’t eaten: the judging is based solely on design.
She described the role of the “tips” in cake decorating — or the nozzles at the ends of decorating bags that take the shape of stars, circles and other objects.
“Sometimes you think a star tip is just going to be a star, or a round tip is just going to be dots, but there is so much more you can do with those tips,” she said.
She mentioned flowers, shell borders and squiggly lines as some of the ornate touches that a decorator can use to embellish a design.
Sometimes students can think about other art projects they’ve done as they work to perfect their cake-decorating skills. The cake-decorating, Dilldine explained, can become another art form for them — on a par with painting or drawing.
“’This is a picture that you’re making,’” Dilldine said she tells the students. And then she added: “I don’t paint on canvass, but I paint on a cake. It’s a different medium, but it’s still art.”