Fill in the grid so that every column, every row and every 3x3 box contains the digits 1 through 9. There is no math involved. You solve each puzzle with reasoning and logic. Each puzzle only has one solution. TWENTY-ONE nervous, sweaty men. Twenty-one cakes. Two CWA judges.
Make that 20 nervous entrants, because Keith Hearn was quietly confident his spectacular three tier, 12-layer confection would take out the inaugural Campaspe Shire White Ribbon bake-off on Friday — and he was right.
The veteran amateur baker wasn’t just competing to increase public awareness of domestic violence, for him winning the first bake-off was a bittersweet moment.
Because he had also dedicated his masterpiece to Michelle, the mother of their children and his inspiration, who died suddenly four years ago.
At which point Keith just couldn’t get back to baking between looking after his children and missing his wife.
“I loved being a part of it and getting that message out there – that violence against women is not OK,” he said. As for the cake, Keith filled it with love.
“It had chocolate, cherries, white ganache, dark chocolate ganache, cream cheese filling, red velvet cake, white chocolate mud cake, dark chocolate mud cake and sugar garnish on top along with a fondant white ribbon,” he added, rolling his recipe right off his tongue.
That white ribbon was the reason so many people gathered for the special morning tea overlooking the Murray River.
During his speech to a good crowd, Campaspe police Inspector Geoff Owen said there were more than 500 cases of domestic violence recorded in Campaspe during the 2016-17 financial year.
“Those cases are your neighbours, friends, family members, shop keepers, customers, people you pass on the street, socialise among and play sport with,” Insp. Owen said.
“Domestic violence knows no boundaries – from the rich to the poor, from the affluent and big homes to the homeless with few possessions.
‘‘I make no apology if my words makes you feel uncomfortable or squirm,’’ he said after naming a long list of women believed to have been killed by their male partners.
On a lighter note, television presenter and event MC Brad McEwan said the bakeoff was bigger than MasterChef.
‘‘I have it on good authority one competitor offered (the judge) Delia (Currie) a bribe and I know that because that competitor was me and it didn’t work,’’ he laughed.
Delia said it was an honour to judge so many cakes for such an important issue.
‘‘We were impressed, amazed, astonished and utterly blown away with the array of different cakes,’’ she said.
But rest assured, it was no easy job to pick the winner, Delia stressed.
‘‘As per any competition there can only be one winner with several nearly there winners,’’ she said. And they were: First: Keith Hearn; second: Campaspe Shire chief executive Jason Russell and his nectarine fruit cake; third: Brad McEwan and his chilli spicy cake; and encouragement award: Campaspe Shire mayor Adrian Weston and his chocolate mudcake.