WHITE RIBBON CAKES THE WINNING RECIPE
TWENTY-ONE nervous, sweaty men. Twenty-one cakes. Two CWA judges.
Except for Keith Hearn, who 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.
“I am proud our community has recognised this issue,” Campaspe Shire mayor Adrian Weston said.
“This year’s event has been a catalyst for important conversations we need to have to raise awareness.”
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.
Insp. Owen encouraged everyone to visit the White Ribbon’s website for information.
‘‘Gain knowledge for with knowledge you gain power and through power you gain choice and confidence,’’ he said.
‘‘This sounds simplistic and there is no simple solution to domestic violence but I want to ensure victims of domestic violence that we are here to believe you, to protect you and to support you.’’
Insp. Owen said police were committed to reducing the prevalence of domestic violence and the significant harm perpetrators cause their victims.
‘‘We need to join together and continue to raise awareness and challenge attitudes that support violence,’’ he said.
On a lighter note, television presenter and event MC Brad McEwan said the bake-off 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.
‘‘Today is another way to make people aware that violence against women will not be tolerated in our community,’’ she said.
‘‘We were impressed, amazed, astonished and utterly blown away with the array of different cakes and the standard to which they were produced.
‘‘We tasted healthy bars, chilli, chocolate, ginger, nectarine, custard, fruit, carrot, poppy seed, blueberry, orange, banana plus all the other things that went into those cakes.
‘‘We’re sure some men may have had a little assistance but how wonderful everyone could be involved in helping.’’
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.
Delia Currie, Heather Bradley, Athena Bradley-Mitchell and June Millgate cut the winning cake.
Jeff Rigby and Neil Pankhurst.
Uncle Rick Ronan.
Jude, Jane and Clair.
Most of the men who competed in Campaspe Shire’s White Ribbon event on Friday.
Geoff Owen, Steve Taylor, Steve Shellew, Allan Foskett and Neil Hodson.
Campaspe Shire bake-off winners Brad McEwan, Jason Russell, Keith Hearn and Adrian Weston.
Campaspe Shire mayor Adrian Weston.
Television presenter and event MC Brad McEwan.
Campaspe police Inspector Geoff Owen.