Growing up in the midwest, I looked forward to the fair all summer long, knowing that it was a great way to kick off the end of summer and the beginning of a new school year.
Much to my surprise here in Texas, the county fair is run a bit differently. There are no carnival rides, but instead, everything focuses on the students who enter county fair events – from show cows to show pigs and chickens, and especially wonderful recipes.
As a Family and Consumer Science teacher, which many people still call Home Economics, I am in charge of the recipe area. Some of the categories we have include bread, jams and preserved foods, two categories of cakes (decorative and edible), cookies, and candies.
I figured I would share some recipes from each category, breaking this blog post down into a few different posts. Today's post focuses on Cakes, both for flavor and decorative purposes.
Award Winning Cake Recipes – Flavor
As I am finishing up my flavors section I noticed you want to incorporate cakes that are relevant to your area. So many Americans think we all eat the same food but each area is unique. You can choose one of these cakes but you may also want to look into cakes that are particular to your state.
1. Lemon Cake
My mind has been on a lemon cake for a while now. The idea of a light and airy cake, giving you both sweet and natural flavors sounds delicious. If that sounds up your alley, this recipe can be found over at Well Plated. I'd recommend this cake with a raspberry or blueberry filling, giving it even more of that natural flavoring to it.
2. Shirley Temple Cake
Still having the natural flavors on my mind, I think this recipe looks delicious.
I like the cherries and the fact that there is no actual icing, instead, they have a sugarcoating overtop the cake.
You can find the recipe here.
3. Triple Chocolate Poke Cake
Venturing away from the natural and on to the sweet, decadent flavor of chocolate. I think this cake sounds delicious and I like the idea of the moistness you know it's going to have since it is a poke cake.
The recipe can be found over at Beyond Frosting.
4. Healthy Vanilla Maple Greek Yogurt Cake
Going back to something quite a bit lighter, I think this would win simply because it is flavorful but still light.
So many people are looking to eat healthy in the new year which is right around the time that our fair happens.
You can find this delicious recipe over at Divas Runs for Bling.
5. Texas Sheet Cake
Texas sheet cake cookies were one of the winners this year at our fair. I understand why, as Texas sheet cake is very delicious and it has the name of Texas in it. One thing I have learned in my four years of living here is that Texans are very proud of where they live, more so than possibly any other state that I've ever lived in.
That's not to say that the cake itself is not worthy of being a prize winner. After all, it has chocolate, nuts, and a richness that you just cannot get over.
You can find this recipe over at the Lively Table.
6. Strawberry Lemon Cheesecake
A lemon cheesecake might be a winner in the first place; However, adding a strawberry crust to it will surely put it over-the-top and make it the blue ribbon prize winner.
If you are looking for a cake that is sure to wow the crowd head over to Back for Seconds for this recipe.
7. The Best New York Crumb Cake
The first time I ever had crumb cake I felt like I had died and gone to heaven. Found in the gas station across the street from my house, I stopped there on a regular basis to pick this up before I learned how to make it.
With its piled high cinnamon topping, I can pretty much guarantee you'll win and get rave reviews with this New York Crumb Cake.
8. Vintage Cake
What I love about this cake is that you think you're getting a delicious vanilla cake and then towards the end, you realize there's a hint of decadent chocolate waiting for you at the bottom.
So if your judges like a nice surprise just are sure to win. Head over to Kitchen meets girl to find the vintage cake recipe.
9. Hazelnut Latte Cake
This one comes from the heart as I absolutely love anything coffee and who doesn't love a Nutella type flavor with the hazelnut?
Combining the two sure sounds like a winner to me. Head over to Maverick Baking to get the Hazelnut Latte Cake Recipe for yourself.
10. Tres Leche Cakes
I had a student who wanted to make this for the fair this year. Unfortunately, she did not get her paperwork done in time but I do feel like this would win as it is very moist and tender and still brings a reminder of our heritage to the Texans who are passionate about that.
Anywhere else in the US and he would probably win simply because it is unique and flavorful. After all, it does have three different types of milk in it!
You can find the recipe over at Urban Bakes.
11. Cookie Dough Brownie Cake
I would hope if a person was judging a cake contest in a fair they would like sweeter cakes. If that is the case, then this cake would definitely be a winner.
After all, how many people do you know that would say “Oh no thank you I don't want any cookie dough”? Or would turn down a delicious, decadent brownie?
You can probably count them on one hand I am sure. If that is the case then you need to head over to lemon sugar and get the recipe for yourself.
12. Hummingbird Cake
Tip Hero has this cake recipe that tastes of the south. A bit butter pecan, this cake also comes with pineapple and bananas.
I'm starting to think this cake gives a taste of the tropics!
Being the kid who went indoor camping and dreamed of summer when the snow was on the ground, I would vote for this one!
13. German Chocolate Cake
This was the winner in the taste cake category a few weeks ago.
What makes this cake special, just like the Texas sheet cake and the Tres Leche cake, is the heritage.
Many people don't realize that when Texas was becoming its own country there were more Germans occupying the state than Mexicans.
If you were to come here today, we still have solid German roots. For the recipe, head to Tastes Better from Scratch.
14. Cookies and Cream Cake
Back when I first got into cakes, I fell in love with this recipe. Cookies and cream in a cake sure tastes like a winner to me.
I made the recipe over and over again at first and since it's been a while I might break down and make it again soon!
The recipes can be found at Divas Can Cook.
Award Winning Cake Recipes – Decorative Cakes
This is my favorite category.
15. Winter Hat
While I don't think I will be doing a Christmas hat decorative cake, I will probably go with a Cowboy's themed hat.
I plan to practice this one over the next eleven months and before we leave for break, the student and I will bake, cut, and freeze the cake so that when we get back we can focus on decorating!
This idea comes from The Cake Blog.
16. Sweater Cake
I recently purchased a sweater press for fondant last Tuesday and I am absolutely in love with the design it makes.
Doing something similar to this picture will take lots of practice but it'll be worth it, I am sure.
The idea comes from Cakes Decor.
How cute is this pizza cake? It is so realistic looking. The upward motion of the pepperonis can be done by using a fondant tool for flowers.
The rest would be a fun mystery to learn but from a realistic standpoint would be sure to win.
Check it out over at Alloy.
18. Elegant Wedding Cake
This is similar to a cake that one of my students made. They chose to do red and white instead of black and white though.
We did learn one thing while making this cake, we learned that you need to put the cake together before you put the rosettes on. The cake may have been a bit worse for the wear from the learning curve but it still placed in the top half of the cake competition.
Next year I know what to do better and I'm sure that we will place in the top two.
This particular picture can be found over at The Mixing Bowl Baking Company.
19. Sledding Snowman Cake
One of the things that I want to get better at in the next year is how to use gum paste or fondant well enough to make the snowmen like this.
Luckily the trees are easy enough to make. You simply decorate waffle cones!
This recipe can be found at My Cake School.
20. Harry Potter
This particular cake is very intricate and will take a long time to make. However given the popularity of Harry Potter, you know that it would be a winner, not to mention all of the hard work that was put in. You definitely will be using a lot of fondant.
You can find the idea over at How Sweet It Is Bakery.
21. Dramatic Chocolate Drip Cake
Drip cakes are all the rage right now. I also like this one because most of the extra stuff is pre-bought and not handmade. The darker the chocolate combined with the gold really makes it pop.
To see this picture for yourself head over to The Cake Blog.
22. Stained Glass Cake
A stained glass cake was what won first place this year. The cake at our competition was a chicken over the sunrise.
I could almost have smacked myself because I gave the winner the idea.
I even went as far as to explain that you use food coloring in a piping gel to get the look.
The way I see it though is at least I know I have good taste. This particular picture can be found over at The Perfect Palette.
23. Watercolor Drip Cake
Making a watercolor cake is already really fun but then turning it into a drip cake makes it even more exciting.
Adding gum paste flowers instead of the fake flower that is already on there will really set it over the edge and is a sure fire way to win.
This picture can be found over on Instagram.
Cake Wrecks came up with this really cute idea. Doing the basket weave cake is hard enough but then adding the yarn makes it look that much more difficult.
More than likely they used a fondant mold to make the yarn though. I'm telling you those fondant molds are really cool.
25. Unicorn cake
My youngest daughter had this cake made for her birthday. Her grandmother and I made it together.
The hardest part I think was making the horn and deciding on the colors.
One that looks intricate but is easier than it looks it's always a good idea for a competition. This recipe can be found at Koees Blog.
26. Mirror Glazed Cake
Just like with the cake above this mirror glaze cake is actually pretty easy to make as far as the icing is concerned. The other decorated cake that I helped make for the competition this year, had a mirror glazed red apple and black ink running down the side that was mirror glazed as well.
The mirror glaze itself is a mixture of white chocolate and gelatin. The picture can be found on Instagram.
27. Campfire S'mores Cake
This cake is one that I will definitely be doing next year and putting in the Junior division. My daughter plans to make it and we will be using sugar to make the flames. Our favorite part though is probably the Pirouette cookies that are used to make the logs.
This recipe complete with details can be found at Hungry Happenings.
28. Inside Out Lady Bug Cake
I like this recipe because you have to cut it open to really appreciate the masterpiece that the person put into the work.
Having a half-open cake would definitely be a change of pace and it might be a game changer as well.
My daughter already said she's in loaf (her way of saying love).
29. Chalkboard Mad Scientist Cake
I must not lie, I have a side obsession with chalkboard anything. And when you combine school with your project I'm sure it would be a winner in the eyes of the judges. After all, that's what the fair is about- supporting their education.
This picture and details can be found over at Kara's party.
Award Winning Cake Recipes – Conclusion
I have finished up my series on things to make for the fair. I hope you enjoyed seeing all the different candies, cakes, bread, and canned goods that we make with our children each year order to better their education. I hope that it helps you to win a competition at your county fair, just be sure to let me know how you did!