When you picture a 12-year-old boy with cake icing, it’s usually smeared from ear to ear.
Not so for Ethan Penton, the Dunlop youngster taking the cake decorating world by storm.
While most of us stick to the well-thumbed Women’s Weekly Children’s Birthday Cake Book for inspiration, Ethan is concocting 3D snowmen, robots and other gravity-defying cakes.
So impressive are his competition entries, mum Leonie has taken to videoing the process to prove Ethan actually does the work himself.
“He’s had to contend with a lot from his peers and adults alike,” Leonie said.
“I actually understand why most do question his abilities.
“A few years back I started video recording the process of him making some of his cakes as proof that he really does do them. We have played them alongside a couple of his entries in the past so that people could watch and see how he has made them.”
The filming of Ethan making his Snowman Cake for the Emmaus Twilight Fete Cake Decorating Competition 2018.Ethan spent 12+ hours working on this entry.For those of you that are unfamiliar with Cake Decorating competitions, you are allowed to use foam dummies as a base in replacement of real cake on the proviso that you can prove that it can be constructed by cake. This gives decorators the opportunity to work on it over a longer period of time and allows for keeping for display purposes – especially in shop fronts.
Posted by Leonie Penton on Thursday, November 1, 2018
Ethan says his true passion is soccer. The Year 7 Emmaus Christian School student plays NPLY U13s for Gungahlin United FC as a defender and trains three nights a week, eating into the time left for cakes.
But the love of cake decorating runs deep. Ethan’s great-grandmother was an award-winning cake decorator and his mum is also a dab hand.
It was mum’s birthday cakes that first piqued Ethan’s interest. His first foray into the cake-decorating world was at the grand old age of five when, inspired by his mum’s efforts, he tackled a teddy bear cake for his dad on Father’s Day. The result was far from crummy.
Since then Ethan has created some pretty amazing cakes and cupcakes, taking out awards at school fetes and winning his category of the Royal Canberra Show in 2020.
“Angela Griffiths from Latorta does cake-decorating classes and she’s very encouraging,” Leonie says.
“She’s so passionate about it, she was the one who said he should enter.”
Ethan went up against adults in the Beginners Celebration Cakes category with his “Steampunk Robot Cake” and took home the blue ribbon.
He says he’s most proud of that cake, and his snowman effort, but finds rising to any cake-related challenge “just fun”.
“I love it,” Ethan says. “It gets my mind off things – sometimes it takes up to three days.”
Attention to detail is everything and Ethan sometimes takes 12 months to plan a cake. He researches, watches YouTube tutorials and learns from his mother and Angela, constantly pushing himself to take on bigger and better challenges.
In the cake decorating world, you don’t always have to ice an actual cake. Often, for competitions, dummy bases are used to allow the “cakes” to be preserved and displayed.
But when it is an actual cake – like Ethan’s fabulous Ramen Noodle Cake – and it ends up being devoured, the reaction is understandable.
“Sometimes it can hurt,” Ethan admits. “All the time you put into it and then it’s just cut up and eaten.”