2019 Logan County Fair

Bakers and their cakes vie for a spot at the Sunday Cake Classic during the Friday preliminary

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[August 06, 2019]  Friday morning, Pat McAllister was called upon to judge the Culinary Department Cake Competition. McAllister was to choose the best cake in each of a number of flavor and type categories. The bakers of the top cakes were then given the opportunity to enter the Cake Classic on Sunday at the Logan County Fair.

The Cake Classic is a fundraiser for the Logan County 4-H Foundation. Each year about eight cakes are entered into the Cake Classic. Bakers will mix and bake their cakes on the Lincoln Stage at the Fairgrounds starting at noon Sunday. The event is a blind judging, so the judge of the competition will not be permitted into the barn until all the cakes are baked and prepared for display. She or he will then come in and taste each cake and place the winners.

Last year the cake classic broke a new sales record raising $4,800.

On Friday, McAllister had some tough decisions to make. Though there were fewer cakes in this year’s competition, all of them were quite tasty according to the judge. A couple didn’t look as good as the baker probably wanted them to. McAllister, to a certain degree, shrugged that off saying that she had made ugly cakes too. She usually slides them up and leaves them in the kitchen until serving time, and after all, it still tastes good and in the end that is what counts.

McAllister explained her judging style saying that she does three bites for each entry; one for the frosting, one for the cake, and one with the two combined. She reminded bakers that they are being judged not just on the cake but also on its covering. She also highly recommended doing base or crumb coats before applying the frosting finish on cakes.

The first category to be judged was German Sweet Chocolate with only one entry. Karen Sandel was the winner in that category.

Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Frosting had a few more entries, with the winner of the category being Jaimie Wibben.

Carlene Carter was the single entry in the White Butter with White Frosting category. She took first place with her cake, and later she was awarded the Best Overall with the same entry.

When judging the spice cake entries, McAllister noted that she was not particularly a fan of spice cake. However, as a judge she could still be objective and impartial because she still discerned between the two and made her decisions based on certain criteria for a spice cake. Carlene Carter also won that category.

There were two cakes in the Red Velvet category with Joyce Conrady taking the first place position with her cake.

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McAllister noted that both cakes entered had domed tops. She said there were different schools of thought on whether or not a cake should have a flat top. For herself, she has no objection to the top being a little rounded as long as it is consistent. She said for a decorated cake a flat top is more important, but for this category a round top was perfectly acceptable.

Dana Oltmans was the single entry in the Angel Food Cakes and took first prize in that category.

There were three very different looking and tasting cakes in the Chiffon – Any Flavor. McAllister said that she could easily have gone either way on placing the second and third place cakes and wished she could have given them both a second place award as they were equally good. The top cake in the category went to Jeanne Runyon.

This year there was no Teen Chocolate, so the judging was completed with the Chiffons.

After the judging, Rebecca Johnson worked to compile the competitor list for the Cake Classic. At the beginning of the judging, Culinary Superintendent Janet Estill suggested that because of the low number of entries, anyone and everyone who submitted a cake might want to stick around to help work out the Cake Classic entries.

At the end of the day, the winners present for the selections for Cake Classic included Jeanne Runyon, Dana Oltmans, Joyce Conrady, Karen Sandel and Carlene Crider.

Karen Sandel will prepare a spice cake for the Cake Classic. Dana Oltmans will be baking the Angel Food cake. Jeanne Runyon chose the German Sweet Chocolate and Joyce Conrady will bake a Red Velvet. Carlene Crider will return with her best of show White Butter Cake recipe, and Mary Johnson will be doing a Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Frosting. There will be no teen entry this year at the Cake Classic, and at noon on Friday there had been no commitment for a Chiffon. In addition to Runyon, there were two other entries in the Chiffon category, so hopefully by Sunday, there will be a Chiffon cake for bidders to buy.

At the end of the judging on Friday, McAllister did pay all the bakers and candy makers a large compliment, telling them that she would be happy to come to their homes on any day for desert.

Good luck to the bakers on Sunday, and to the bidders, please remember, this is a fundraiser for 4-H and every penny bid will be hugely appreciated by the foundation.

[Nila Smith]

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