AN TALENTED baker has placed first in a prestigious cake competition.

Graeme Venus, owner of Sticky Sponge in Stocksfield, blew judges away once again with his pack rat/mouse traveller cake at the Cake International Awards in Birmingham.

Graeme has competed in many different competitions and always places high but never in first place.

However, this year Graeme won gold and scored 99/100 on his masterpiece of a cake but due to an administrative error, he was not included in the 'best in show' ceremony or received any award. 

Speaking about his cake, he said: "I was over the moon to win the sculpted cake class but due to the mix-up, I didn’t find out till after the show.

"I have competed three times. I received silver for my first two times then gold this time.

"The whole cake took me around 3 - 4 days to create.

"I normally try to sell the cake or give it to charity but I'm not sure what will happen with the cake now as it was damaged on the way back from Birmingham when someone pulled out in front of me."

Graeme has been stacking up his awards, as last year he was named a Delicious Magazine Award Finalist and then announced as one of the UK's top 50 wedding cake designers by GoHen two years ago.

Even without being nominated for awards, Graeme's reputation proceeds him, and often finds himself mostly booked up for the year but always tries his best to fit anyone in.

He also likes to take part in projects, such as the Hadrian's Wall 1900th birthday.

Hexham Courant: Hadrian's Wall 1900 birthday cakeHadrian's Wall 1900 birthday cake (Image: Sticky Sponge)

 Graeme adds: "We are not a normal cake business and tend to do a lot of one-off special occasions - which have a theme.

"Therefore I put a lot of time and effort into making sure it is perfect for our customers.

"Everything I make is edible - apart from the things used to keep up the structure.

"I do love the business as it is not always weddings and birthday jobs - a few years ago it was celebrating the Hadrian's Wall 1900th.

"I think my business definitely puts us apart from others as they have larger teams to help out, where it is just myself.

"My wife helps out sometimes with the baking but it is just me."