As the BGF Bake-Off comes of age this year David Wilkins, a.k.a. Dot Dingle, looks back with parental fondness at the past 21 years of mayhem, mishaps and marvellous cake creations which established it as Sydney’s ultimate baking event as well as one of the most important HIV fundraisers of the year.
Over those 21 years Wilkins has done everything Bake-Off-related, from helping Terry Divola set up the very first competition to staffing the organising committee, providing entertainment for the crowds, all while managing to craft stunning cakes and, for this year’s event, mouth-watering vodka infusions.
The first Bake-Off was very successful, though it was a lot smaller then. Terry Divola started it. He was this really larger than life guy who just had this vision for a competition that was fun and camp, and it just really clicked with people, Wilkins, who was once a chef and loved the idea of anything which encouraged people to get cooking, told the Sydney Star Observer.
I think one of the greatest highlights was the first time we managed to raise over $20,000, which was such a huge accomplishment for us. But there have been lots of memorable moments-” drag queens hurling chocolate ?airs across the bar during a show and the Harbour Bridge made out of lamingtons.
And then there are the equally amusing memories of the mishaps-” the cakes that melted under the lights or turned up at the show after being involved in an unfortunate car accident.
What I love about the Bake-Off is while you mostly get these incredibly fantastic looking things that taste good, you also get entries that you just go, -˜What were you thinking?’, Wilkins said.
Some are even brought up on a paper plate and are burnt on the outside or raw in the middle.
It’s kind of like a dog show: there are the really pedigree dogs and the mutts, but they’re all loved anyway.
Wilkins admits that not all of the misshapen cakes have been the victim of an unfortunate accident.
I haven’t seen it for a while, but yes I have seen attempts at sabotage. Some queens are vicious and they want to win, he said.
I’ve seen plates get nudged to the side or pushed right to the back and there have been cases of people going over to cakes and -˜accidentally’ fingering them so they don’t look as good.
Acts of treachery aside though, Wilkins looks back with nothing but pride at his 21 years of involvement with the Bake-Off.
It’s got a great history and there are a lot of people now who have really grown up with it. It’s always great to see all the fabulous entries and the auction is really full-on and usually goes forever while people get a bit pissed and have a fun night. It really is the Mardi Gras of cake events.
The BGF Bake-Off will be held at the Midnight Shift on 15 June. Details: www.bgf.org.au.