Teens take the cake at Ag Expo

August 13, 2003|by KATE COLEMAN

Morgan Smith and Kendra Barnhart had different approaches to Washington County's Ag Expo this year.

Kendra, 13, of Keedysville, has been a member of 4-H and has shown steers and goats in the past. She also entered a German Chocolate Cake and took blue ribbons with it in 2001 and 2002.

Kendra and the German Chocolate Cake recipe - she got it from her grandmother, June Jamison - were back this year, and took the championship ribbon in the Open Class Cake competition, winning over entries baked by adults, as well as youngsters.

"I've always had good luck with it," she says.

She baked the cake the day before the competition and says she can tell when it's done because it normally separates from the pan. Just to make sure, she tests it by poking it with a toothpick. If the pick comes out clean, the cake is ready to come out of the oven.


Thirteen-year-old Morgan of Clear Spring was not quite so focused in her Ag-Expo participation, entering and doing well in several competitions.

Her cookies - she's not sure whether it was the macadamia nut or chocolate chip - took the Open Class Cookie championship. Her no-bake cookies, potato candy, yeast bread and biscuits also were champions. Morgan wasn't even aware of all her winnings. She was so busy in the show ring with her animals that she didn't have time to check all the Home Arts results.

Petunia, her 2-year-old Brown Swiss dairy cow, was Reserve Senior Champion. Morgan, Petunia's handler, won the Showmanship class, intermediate division. She also showed her Rhode Island Red chicken, Henrietta, and her market pig, Babe. Morgan says selling market pigs is sad.

She also competed in Ag Expo's Youth Talent Contest, singing "What the World Needs Now."

"I was a little nervous, but I think I pulled it off," she says.

Morgan made the Vanilla Butternut Pound Cake that earned the 4-H Grand Champion ribbon. The recipe has been in her family for a long time, and she says she's been baking with her aunt Nancy Hill all her life.

Kendra has been baking since she was about 8.

"I love to bake," she says.

The girls' cakes - and other 4-H and Open Class winners - were auctioned for the benefit of Washington County 4-H. The German Chocolate Cake brought $85; the winning bid for the Pound Cake was $65. The total auction proceeds were $4,885.

Kendra is considering getting involved in 4-H again. The Boonsboro Middle School eighth-grader attended Ag Expo almost every day this year. She enjoyed going around and visiting all her friends.

Morgan says she likes Ag Expo because "it's a rush," and she's already looking ahead to next year's events. Because of scheduling conflicts, she wasn't able to show her sorrel quarter horse, Sunny, this year. She plans to lobby for a schedule that will allow her to show cows and compete in the horse events.

Vanilla Butternut Pound Cake

  • 3 cups sugar

  • 1/2 cup shortening

  • 1 cup margarine

  • 1 cup evaporated milk

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • 2 tablespoons vanilla butternut flavoring

  • 5 large eggs

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 3 cups flour

Cream shortening, sugar and salt. Add eggs one at a time. Add flour and milk alternately, ending with flour. Fold in flavoring by hand. Bake in greased tube pan for 1 hour and 45 minutes at 325 degrees. Remove from pan immediately.

German Chocolate Cake

  • 4-ounce package sweet baking chocolate

  • 1/2 cup boiling water

  • 2 cups sugar

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1 cup buttermilk

  • 1 cup butter

  • 4 egg yolks

  • 2 1/2 cups flour

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 4 egg whites, stiffly beaten

  • 4 1/2 cups Coconut-Pecan Filling and Frosting (recipe below)

Melt chocolate in boiling water. Cool. Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add egg yolks. Blend in vanilla and chocolate. Add flour, soda and salt alternately with buttermilk, beating after each addition. Fold in beaten whites.

Pour into three 8- or 9-inch layer pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes. Cool.

Frost tops only.

Coconut-Pecan Filling and Frosting

  • 12-ounce can evaporated milk

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar

  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter or margarine

  • 4 egg yolks, slightly beaten

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

  • 7-ounce package coconut (about 2 1/3 cups)

  • 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans

Stir milk, sugar, butter, egg yolks and vanilla in large saucepan. Stirring constantly, cook on medium heat 12 minutes or until thickened and golden brown. Remove from heat.

Stir in coconut and pecans. Cool to room temperature and to spreading consistency.

Makes about 4 1/2 cups.

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