Sweet victories: Tasty recipes win over annual Pennsylvania Farm show

Courtesy photo / The winning angel food cake waits to be cut on the table along with other competitors’ cakes at the annual Pennsylvania Farm Show.

Hundreds of bakers tried their skills and luck again with this year’s version of the Pennsylvania Farm Show baking contests earlier this month. Judges were busy, choosing from among 73 apple pies and 61 angel food cakes just in those two categories.

In most competitions, participating in the state Farm Show requires winning at a local fair first. But that wasn’t the case for sticky buns and whoopie pies — called gobs in this part of the state — which didn’t require local qualifying.

Dolly Getz of Lancaster County took home first place and a $500 prize in the PA Preferred Homemade Chocolate Cake Contest — the judges of which included last year’s winner Pam Foor of Everett. Coming in third place was Ann Krug, winner of the Harmony Grange Fair in Cambria County.

In the search for Pennsylvania’s best apple pie, the judges awarded the blue ribbon to Lucinda Donough of Port Royal, Juniata County. Sharon Karlheim won third this year, representing the Cambria County Fair.

In the Angel Food Cake Contest, Elizabeth Pokrivka from Seven Valleys, York County, took home first prize.

Madison Shaw of Dauphin County won the PA Preferred Cookie, Brownie and Bar Contest and $500 with her winning recipe for Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars. Runner up and the recipient of $250 was Kaiden Snare, representing the Huntington County Fair. A Blair County woman, Olivia Knab, representing the Claysburg Farm Show, came in fourth.

Marel King of Harrisburg, Dauphin County, won the Sticky Bun Contest. Shelley Pokrivka of Seven Valleys, York County, won for her thumbprint cookie recipe and Foor took second place in that category.

Jim Harper of Pennsylvania Furnace, Centre County, won the blue ribbon in the third annual Whoopie Pie competition. Harper told Farm Show officials that his prize-winning recipe for chocolate whoopie pies with peanut butter filling was inspired by the peanut butter cream found in Reese’s cups.

Some of the winning recipes are listed below. For more recipes, visit www. farmshow.pa.gov.

Chocolate Cake

For cake:

1 3/4 cups of all purpose flour

2 cups of sugar

3/4 cup cocoa

2 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda

1/2 teaspoon of baking powder

1/2 teaspoon of salt

1 cup of milk

1/2 cup of melted coconut oil

1 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract

2 large eggs

1 cup of hot water

For coconut filling:

14-ounce can of sweetened condensed milk

3 cups of sweetened shredded coconut

2-4 tablespoons of slivered almonds, toasted

For coconut frosting:

1 1/4 cups of butter

1 1/4 cups shortening

10 cups powdered sugar

1 1/2 tablespoons of coconut extract

5-6 tablespoons of water or milk

For chocolate ganache:

6 ounces/1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream

Almond Joy candy bars (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and prepare three 8-inch cake pans with non-stick baking spray and parchment paper in the bottom.

Add the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt to a large mixer bowl and combine. Set aside.

Add the milk, oil, vanilla extract and eggs to a medium-sized bowl and combine.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and beat until well combined.

Slowly add the hot water to the butter and mix on low speed until well combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to make sure everything is well combined.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cake pans and bake for 22-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs.

Remove cakes from oven and allow to cool for 2-3 minutes, then remove to a cooling rack.

To make the coconut filling, add the shredded coconut and sweetened condensed milk to a medium bowl and stir to combine. Set aside.

To make the frosting, cream the butter and shortening in a large mixer bowl and mix together until well combined.

Add half of the powdered sugar and mix until smooth.

Add the coconut extract.

Slowly add the remaining powdered sugar and mix until smooth. Add water or milk, as needed.

To build the cake, use a large serrated knife to remove the tops of the layers so that they’re flat.

Place the first cake layer on a serving plate or cardboard cake circle then pipe a dam of coconut frosting around the edge.

Add about half of the coconut filling inside of the dam, then spread evenly into an even layer.

Sprinkle 1-2 tablespoons of slivered almonds over the top and press into the filling.

Add the next cake layer, then top it with another dam of frosting, the remaining coconut filling and more slivered almonds.

Add the final cake layer to the top of the cake.

Smooth out the frosting on the top and sides of the cake.

Set the cake aside and make the chocolate ganache. Put the chocolate chips in a heatproof bowl.

Microwave the heavy whipping cream until it just begins to boil, then pour it over the chocolate chips. Allow it to sit for 2-3 minutes, then whisk until smooth.

Use a squeeze bottle or a spoon to drizzle the chocolate around the edges of the cake, then fill in the top of the cake and smooth it with an offset spatula.

Allow the ganache to firm a bit, about 10 minutes, then top with remaining frosting, a little more shredded coconut, almond slivers, and Almond Joy candy bars.

Angel Food Cake with Pumpkin Filling and Frosting

For cake:

1 cup cake flour

1 1/4 cup powdered sugar

1/4 cup ground walnuts

1 3/4 cups Pennsylvania produced egg whites, room temperature

1 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon flavoring

Sift cake flour and the powdered sugar. Stir in ground nuts. Set aside in a medium bowl. In bowl of a stand mixer, beat egg whites until foamy. Add salt, cream of tartar and flavoring. Beat on high. Gradually add in sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, until all sugar has been incorporated. Beat until stiff peaks form. Gradually fold in flour mixture.

Pour into a tube pan and bake at 375 degrees Fanrenheit for 30 to 35 minutes, or until done. Cool completely. When cooled, place bottom layer on cake board, cover with even layer of filling, top with cake layer, and frost with pumpkin frosting. Decorate with frostings, filling, pecans, or as desired.

For pumpkin filling:

2 cups canned pumpkin pie filling

1/2 cup evaporated milk

1/2 cup superfine sugar

1/4 cup cornstarch, for thickening

Combine pumpkin, milk, sugar and cornstarch in a pan and stir together. Bring to a boil. Mix in whisking to remove the lumps. Stir constantly over heat, until desired consistency is reached.

For pumpkin frosting:

2 16-oounce containers frozen whipped topping

2 4-serving size boxes butterscotch instant pudding and pie filling

1/2 cup milk

Combine in a bowl until well mixed, frost cake as instructed.

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars

For crust:

1 cup of flour

1/4 cup of brown sugar

1/2 cup of Weis brand PA Preferred butter

For cheesecake:

8 ounces cream cheese

1 large Weis brand PA Preferred egg

1/2 cup of granulated sugar

1 teaspoon of vanilla

For apple filling:

2 cups of diced Strites Orchard brand PA Preferred apples

2 tablespoons of sugar

1 tablespoon of cinnamon

For crumble:

1/2 cup of brown sugar

1/2 cup of flour

1/2 cup of oats

6 tablespoons of Weis brand PA Preferred butter

For caramel:

1 1/2 cups of sugar

9 tablespoons of Weis brand PA Preferred butter

3/4 cup of heavy cream

Combine crust ingredients and press into a parchment paper lined 9-by-9-inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes.

Blend cheesecake ingredients in a large bowl and set aside.

Peel and core apples for apple filling. Dice them into a bowl. Top with other ingredients and mix well. Set aside.

In a bowl, combine the sugar and flour for the crumble. With a fork, cut in the butter. Stir in the oats.

Over medium heat, in a saucepan, melt the sugar for the caramel stirring constantly. When melted, stir in butter. Remove from heat and carefully stir in heavy cream. Set aside.

Pour cheesecake mix over crust, then layer with the apple filling and top with crumble. Bake for 50 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Top with melted caramel sauce.

Pecan Sticky Buns

For dough:

1 teaspoon sugar

1 packet active dry yeast

1/2 cup warm water

1/2 cup milk

1/4 cup sugar

1 stick butter, melted

1 teaspoon salt

2 eggs, beaten

3 cups flour

For syrup:

1 stick butter

1 pint Turkey brand table syrup by Good Food, Inc.

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup chopped pecans, divided

For filling:

1/4 cup butter, melted

1/2 cup cinnamon sugar

1/2 cup chopped pecans

In large mixing bowl, dissolve sugar and yeast in warm water. Let stand for 10 minutes. In separate bowl, combine melted butter, milk, 1/4 cup sugar and salt. Add milk mixture, eggs and half the flour to yeast mixture. Mix well. Add remaining flour and stir until flour is incorporated. Turn out dough onto floured surface and knead for eight minutes. Place into large greased bowl. Cover and let rise for 1 1/2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

In small saucepan, melt 1 stick butter. Add Turkey syrup and 2 cups sugar. Bring just to boiling, stirring continuously. Remove from heat. Pour evenly into two 8-by-8-inch baking pans. Sprinkle 1/2 cup pecans over syrup in each pan.

On floured surface, roll dough into a rectangle, approx. 15-by-18 inches, With a pastry brush, apply melted butter to surface of dough. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar and then 1/2 cup pecans over buttered dough. Roll-up dough from long edge to form a long roll. Cut rolled dough into 18 slices. Arrange rolls, cut side down, in baking pans.

Bake for 30 minutes. Cool 10 minutes and then invert rolls onto serving tray.