Several summers ago I participated in a few of the culinary arts competitions at our county fair, and I had a lot of fun making my entries. This year, the Williamson County Fair runs from August 5 – 13, and I highly encourage my students and other baking enthusiasts to enter. With so many classes and sub categories, there really is something for everyone, whether you like to make candy, bake bread, or decorate cakes.
Locals and anyone else interested can check out the full listing here: Culinary Arts. Please note that everything must be made “from scratch” EXCEPT for entries in the display classes, which includes the decorated cakes competition. Those cakes aren’t going to be cut or tasted, so they can be made from a mix or decorated “dummy” cakes. Entries for Section 102: Cakes category accepted on Friday, August 5th from 8:00 – 11:00 a.m.
Just to relive past glories, Here are pictures of the cakes I entered last time, as well as a few ideas about how I could have made them better.
Pictured below left is a lemon chiffon cake that I was afraid would be too dry, so I had what I considered at the time to be a brilliant idea of pouring raspberry sauce on the top as a glaze. Except, I did something wrong when I made the sauce and it was WAY too thin. I look at this cake now, and it reminds me of that scene from a 1970’s Stephen King horror film. It didn’t win a ribbon, so maybe the judges saw the same thing. Still, I wonder how it tasted.
In the center is a yellow cake with raspberry filling and white chocolate icing. I decorated the top with fresh raspberries in a vine pattern. I’m not thrilled with the finished look, but I can’t put my finger on why. Any suggestions? I know it’s missing a bottom border, that was intentional, and it doesn’t really need one on the top. I think the vines could be piped better with the raspberries more randomly arranged, or something.
My chocolate cake faired better, but man, piping those dark chocolate ganache roses was a pain. I have unusually cold hands, and even I had issues with the ganache going too soft. I think maybe a simple single string border piped in dark chocolate around the cake side would have finished this one better, but it still got a ribbon, I just can’t remember which one. I think it was second place.
I totally forgot to add vanilla extract to my pound cake, a mistake I tried to remedy with a glaze, but it didn’t work. And neither do those oversized white shells! What in the world was I thinking putting those there? I must have been worried about the cake sliding off of the board or something and thought those would help keep it in place.
Oh, and did you see that I have a couple of video tutorials posted now? Click on the “Videos” link above to see them. I welcome any and all feedback, so please tell me what you think and feel free to leave me a comment suggesting future videos.