2017 National Capital Area Cake Show - United States

The National Capital Area Cake Show (NCACS) is celebrating its 9th year, and every year gets better and better! We have amazing entries from decorators of all levels -- from youth through masters -- from all over the United States. At our show you will meet TV celebrities, see free Demonstrations and be able to shop with vendors from across the United States and around the world. We offer classes for adults as well as youths in a number of decorating skills at every level. Our Bake Sale has amazing treats donated by area professionals and enthusiasts. And don't forget to join us Saturday Night for our Cupcake Challenge special event!

Location: 3501 Rebel Run, Fairfax, VA 22030, USA

Dates: April 1 - April 2, 2017

Website: http://www.cakeshow.org/


  • Wedding Cake - Wedding Cakes Thru The Centuries
  • Special Division - April Fools
  • Special Theme - Bugs

Divisions and Categories

Division A -- Youth


  • A1. Wee Ones--Ages 8 and under
  • A2. Children--Ages 9 through 12
  • A3. Special Theme (“Bugs”)
  • A4. Buttercream only
  • A5. Decorated Cookies
  • A6. Cupcakes / Cake Pops

Division B – Teen (13 - 17)


  • B1. Special occasion and novelty – non-tiered
  • B2. Special occasion and novelty – tiered
  • B3. Special Theme (“Bugs”)
  • B4 Buttercream only
  • B5. Decorated Cookies 
  • B6. Cupcakes / Cake Pops

Division C – Adult Beginner

One who has been decorating for two years or less, decorates cakes solely as a hobby, and has had no more than two courses of cake decorating lessons. To qualify as a Beginner, you may not sell your cakes, even for just the cost of supplies.


  • C1. Special occasion and novelty—non-tiered
  • C2. Special occasion and novelty—tiered
  • C3. Special Techniques
  • C4. Special Theme (“Bugs”)
  • C5. Buttercream only
  • C6. Decorated Cookies
  • C7. Cupcakes / Cake Pops

Division D -- Intermediate

One who has been decorating at least two years, decorates cakes solely as a hobby, AND/OR one who has completed at least two cake decorating courses. An Intermediate Decorator might take reimbursement for cakes provided to others only to cover costs, but not for a profit.


  • D1. Novelty—non-tiered
  • D2. Novelty—tiered
  • D3. Special occasion – non-tiered
  • D4. Wedding -- tiered
  • D5. Special Techniques
  • D6. Special Theme (“Bugs”)
  • D7. Sculpted
  • D8. Decorated Cookies
  • D9. Cupcakes / Cake Pops

Division E -- Advanced

One who has been decorating for several years, decorates primarily as a hobby, AND/OR one who has completed at least five cake decorating courses. Must not meet any of the qualifications under the semi-professional division.


  • E1. Novelty—non-tiered
  • E2. Novelty—tiered
  • E3. Special occasion – non-tiered
  • E4. Wedding -- tiered
  • E5. Special Techniques
  • E6. Special Theme (“Bugs”)
  • E7. Sculpted
  • E8. Decorated Cookies
  • E9. Cupcakes / Cake Pops

Division F -- Semi-Professional

One who has been decorating for several years and generally sells more cakes than are given away. May teach cake decorating classes. Must not meet any of the qualifications under the professional division.


  • F1. Novelty—non-tiered
  • F2. Novelty—tiered
  • F3. Special occasion – non-tiered
  • F4. Wedding -- tiered
  • F5. Special Techniques
  • F6. Special Theme (“Bugs”)
  • F7. Sculpted F8. Decorated Cookies
  • F9. Cupcakes / Cake Pops

Division G -- Professional

One who has been decorating for at least five years and who qualifies under at least one of the following: a) is certified as an ICES CSA, b) derives at least 10% of earned income from the sale of cakes, c) works in a commercial bakery, d) teaches (or has taught) classes in advanced cake decorating techniques (beyond basic icing/piping skills), or e) has taken the equivalent of a total of at least 35 hours of instruction from recognized professional instructors.


  • G1. Novelty—non-tiered
  • G2. Novelty—tiered
  • G3. Special occasion – non-tiered
  • G4. Wedding -- tiered
  • G5. Special Techniques
  • G6. Special Theme (“Bugs”)
  • G7. Sculpted 
  • G8. Decorated Cookies
  • G9. Cupcakes / Cake Pops

Division H -- Masters

One who has been decorating for ten years or more and who qualifies under at least one of the following: a) is certified as an ICES CMSA, b) has had the equivalent of 140 hours or more of professional classes or hands on seminars, c) is an author or cake show judge, or d) is a teacher of special techniques.


  • H1. Novelty—non-tiered
  • H2. Novelty—tiered
  • H3. Special occasion – non-tiered
  • H4. Wedding -- tiered
  • H5. Special Techniques
  • H6. Special Theme (“Bugs”)
  • H7. Sculpted
  • H8. Decorated Cookies
  • H9. Cupcakes / Cake Pops

Important Dates and Information

Divisional Show Special Theme Category “Bugs”
Wedding Cake Competition Theme“Wedding Cakes through the Centuries”
Divisional Show Special Divisions"April Fools"
Early Registration deadline:March 17, 2017
Entry fees (except divisions specified below):$10.00 / $3.00 each additional entry if received by the early registration deadline
$15.00 / $7.00 each additional entry if received after the early registration deadline
Entry fee for the Youth & Teen Divisions:$4.00 per entry
Entry fee for the Winner’s Circle DivisionNone
Entry fee for the Wedding Cake Competition$35/entry
Registration ends:11:59 pm EST March 31, 2017.
There will be NO onsite registration.
Amoretti Tasting Division Registration Ends11:59 pm EST March 17, 2017
To register:Visit www.cakeshow.org
Display setup hours:Friday March 31, 7:00pm – 10:00 pm (must check in by 9:30 pm)
Saturday April 1, 7:00am – 9:45 am (must check in by 9:00 am)
Judging begins:Saturday April 1, 2017, 10:30 am
For more information, contact:Jim Bender directors@cakeshow.org
B. Keith Ryder bkeith@cakeshow.org (703) 459-0636

Please note that failure to comply with the rules/regulations and deadlines set forth in this document will result in disqualification. 

Registration and Entry Fees

All entrants must sign a registration and release form. Entrants will affirm the release form when they register on line. Online affirmation of the release constitutes acceptance of all the terms. All registrations must be completed online through the www.cakeshow.org website and must be received by the end of registration as stated above. No registrations will be accepted onsite.
Entry fees will be charged per the scale listed on the first page. Entry fees are non-refundable.

General Show Rules

Applicable to both the Divisional and Wedding Cake Competitions

Electrical outlets are not available for your display.

Displays may be set up during the times indicated on the first page. At the end of the setup period, all work must stop, and the display area will be cleared. Judging will commence promptly on time. Any entry not checked in and set up by the time judging starts may be displayed but will not be judged.

Displays must remain on display until 5:00pm on the last day of the show. They may be picked up from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Any displays not picked up by 6:00 pm become the property of the National Capital Area Cake Show and will be disposed of according to the wishes of the organizers.

Real cakes or cake dummies are acceptable. Entries using cake dummies must be reproducible in cake form. Sculpted cakes must be made and presented in real cake; submission of at least two in-progress photos is required for sculpted cakes. If you are unclear as to whether your cake should be considered sculpted, contact the organizers for guidance.

Edible decorations are preferred. Non-edible decorations (doll picks, pillars, tier separators, disco dusts, etc.) and purchased flowers may be used, but will be judged accordingly and may lose points in the judging process. Use of cold porcelain is not permitted. We encourage the use of sugar and other edible mediums throughout your display.

Displays incorporating copyright images are acceptable, but may not be eligible to be displayed on the NCACS website. The Show Committee and the judges reserve the right to disqualify displays that, at their discretion, are in poor taste or fail to adhere to these rules.

All work must be the sole work of a single participant. This generally includes "Youth/Teen" divisional entries, with the following exceptions. For all youth 12 years of age and under, note the following additional rules.

  1. Parents are allowed to bake cakes and prepare icing only.
  2. Youth must color icing and complete all decorations.
  3. Both parent and youth must sign entry forms signifying that they have read these rules and will abide by them.

The entrant may have assistance in setting up the display during check-in and setup time only; however, the assistant may only help with setup and may not contribute any decoration to the entry. Assistants who have not also entered a display in the show will be expected to pay the public admission fee for attending during general admission hours Saturday and Sunday.

While every precaution will be taken to ensure that your display is not touched and/or damaged, Fairfax High School, the International Cake Exploration Societé (ICES) and the Virginia Chapter of ICES will not be liable for any loss or damage during the time of the show. Use expensive or irreplaceable table decorations at your own risk.

Additional Divisional Show Rules

The divisional competition is open to all individuals.

Individuals may enter as many categories within a division as desired. However, only one entry per category is allowed per individual, except for Wee Ones (category A1) and Winners’ Circle (category L1). There is no limit to the number of displays that may be entered per person in the Wee Ones category or the Winners’ Circle. Displays in the Winners’ Circle division will not be judged, and there is no entry fee for these entries, but they must still be registered.

Entries from previous shows are acceptable, as long as they are not more than one year old. If the entry won first place in a show in any prior competition, it may only be entered in the Winners’ Circle category. Winners’ Circle entries will not be judged.

Table dressing is encouraged, but not required, in order to make a better presentation. See-through cake covers to protect the cakes are welcome, but the judges must be able to remove the cover if necessary to view the cake. Table dressing must fit within the assigned space for your display

An 18”x18” space will be assigned for each display, and must include space between entries. If your display is larger than 16” in either direction, additional space will be allocated ONLY if requested at the time of registration. Displays that do not fit in the allocated space may be placed in an overflow area as space allows and may be disqualified at the judges’ discretion.

Our Special Theme category this year is “Bugs” (see rules and description following divisional breakdown). Each division from Youth through Masters has a separate category for the theme. Cakes may be tiered, non-tiered, sculpted, etc. as long as the decorations conform to the rules.

Entries in the Tasting Divisions will be available for retrieval once judging in those divisions is complete. The organizers expect pickup to be available starting at around 1:00 pm on the first day of the show. Tasting entries not picked up by 3:00 on the first day of the show will be discarded.

Additional Wedding Cake Competition Rules

The Wedding Cake Competition is open to all adults age 18 and over. There is no limit to the number of displays that may be entered per person in the Wedding Cake Competition, however each entry will incur a separate entry fee.

The Wedding Cake Competition will incorporate two distinct divisions: professional and non-professional (see glossary below for more information). Awards will be given in both divisions, but only one Grand Prize Winner will be awarded.

Entries must be original and must not have been displayed before.

The theme for the Wedding Cake Competition is “Wedding Cakes through the Centuries.” Choose any time and place in history that is stylistically identifiable as belonging to a particular century and use it as your inspiration. You must design and execute a wedding cake (minimum 3 tiers) according to your interpretation of the theme. Let your imagination run free-- think beyond "Italian Renaissance" or "Imperial France". Some interesting time periods might be "Ming Dynasty China", "Wild West U.S.", "Aztec Empire".

Each entrant will be provided a 36” round table (standard height 29-30 inches) on which the cake is to be displayed. The table will be dressed with a white tablecloth that reaches the floor. You are welcome to augment the basic setup as you wish, but there is no separate score for table dressing. Any table dressing may be incorporated into the score for overall impression. Your overall display should be in proportion to the table. A replacement fee of $50.00 will be charged if the cloth is damaged.

Your table display must include at least one photo and a brief (one page or less) explanation to indicate the time and place of your inspiration and how it inspired your piece.to help the judges evaluate the effectiveness of your interpretation of the inspiration. The judges are well informed and will recognize most techniques, but if you have done something in an innovative way or you think the judges may not immediately identify something you have done, please help them by providing information. You might include information on various mediums you have used for covering and decorating your cake, flowers/foliage or other decorative items, table decorations, styles/methods of decoration incorporated, photos of inspiration pieces, etc.


The Show Committee or the judges reserve the right to reclassify any display to another category or division, or to disqualify displays that, at their sole discretion, are in poor taste. If an entry is reclassified causing the same entrant to have two displays in the same category, both will be judged, and the entrant will be eligible for more than one prize in that category. The organizers will endeavor to prevent such a situation, but the judges may or may not follow the recommendations of the organizers when reclassifying entries. As all entries are judged anonymously, the judges may not realize they have created this situation.

Judging will be done by highly qualified judges who may consult with show organizers for rule clarifications and to help with decisions on major prizes. Decisions of the judges in consultation with the show organizers will be final.

Divisional entries will be judged on a 60-point scale with 10 points available in each for the following criteria: neatness and precision; use of color; attention to detail; degree of difficulty; creativity and originality; and overall appearance. First, second and third place prizes may be awarded, and ties are allowed. Some prizes may or may not be awarded in all categories and/or divisions at the discretion of the judges. Entries winning first place in their categories will be eligible for the Best of Division prize. A Best of Division prize may or may not be awarded in every division upon the discretion of the judges. The Divisional Grand Prize will be awarded among the Best of Division winners.

Wedding Cake Competition displays will be judged on a 100-point scale. Grand Prize, along with 2nd through 10th place prizes will be awarded based on overall score. In case of ties, the Judges may reconsider the displays in question in order to break the tie. The decisions of the judges will be final. Wedding Cake Competition displays will be judged on the following criteria:

  • Incorporation of Required Elements (15 pts)
  • Difficulty of techniques used (15 pts)
  • Originality & creativity (10 pts)
  • Skill (15 pts)
  • Neatness of cake covering (5 pts)
  • Use of color (10 pts)
  • Neatness of decorations on cake (10 pts)
  • Overall appearance (20 pts)
  • Judges will provide comments on all entries judged.


Each entrant will be given a ballot to cast a vote for the Decorators’ Choice award. Members of the general public will be provided with ballots for the People’s Choice award. All entries in both the wedding cake competition and the divisional competition will be considered together for these two awards.

After a second Best of Division win in the same division (Beginner through Professional), the entrant must move up to at least the next division in subsequent shows.

Anyone winning the Grand Prize in the Wedding Cake Competition 2 years in a row must sit out the following year, but is welcome to enter the divisional show.

Awards and prizes will be distributed during the Awards Ceremony. If you are not able to attend the Awards Ceremony, please arrange to have someone collect any prizes you may win. Prizes, ribbons, certificates, etc. will not be mailed.
Each entrant winning a 1st, 2nd, or 3rd place ribbon in the divisional show will be awarded one free entry into the following year's divisional show.


No advertising of any kind is allowed on or near display tables. Entries must be made in the name of the individual who completed the entry, NOT A BUSINESS NAME. Advertising is available in the event program; contact the organizers for more information. Note: The deadline for program advertising is several weeks before the show so that we can format and print the program effectively. The organizers reserve the right to refuse any advertising, at their sole discretion.

Entrants are welcome to leave business cards at the information table to be taken by the public. Business cards and/or accompanying literature may not identify the entrant’s display(s).


Entries may be photographed and photos used by NCACS for promotional purposes. The photo release form must be signed. Please allow time to have your display(s) photographed. Once you have checked in at the show, please take your display(s) to the photo studio so that clear, uncluttered photos of each entry can be taken. Only photographs taken in the photo studio will be available for posting on the NCACS website. If you like, you may purchase an 8x10 print of the photo to be mailed to you after the show and/or a CD/DVD containing all of the photos taken at the show.



Fairfax High School, 3501 Rebel Run, Fairfax, VA 22030

Fairfax High School

From the DC Beltway (I-495) in Virginia:

  1. Take exit 50 for Rte 50 West (Arlington Blvd).
  2. After about 3 miles, you will pass through a small traffic circle. Continue straight ahead to stay on Rte 50.
  3. After another .6 miles, turn left onto Rebel Run.
  4. Follow to 3501 Rebel Run. The main entrance for the show will the the main entrance (#3) of the school. Entrants setting up displays should enter through entrance #21 (to the right as you’re facing the front of the school)