Taking the cake: 4-H cake recipes

Ag Expo winners are no strangers to blue ribbons

Ag Expo winners are no strangers to blue ribbons

July 22, 2009|By JULIE E. GREENE

Carolyn Etzler's Wacky Cake received its first blue ribbon in the late 1960s when Etzler, then a teenager, entered it in the Frederick County, Md., 4-H cake contest.

The Wacky Cake has won first place almost a dozen times since then, including taking the prizes for open-class cake champ and open-class grand champion of baked goods at the Washington County Ag Expo & Fair last Friday.

Kaitlyn Corbett's orange nut butter cake won grand champion of cakes for 4-H members. This was the third time Kaitlyn's cake won at Ag Expo.

The cakes, and other baked goods, were auctioned Friday night at the fair to raise money for Washington County's 4-H program, including scholarships for youths to attend conferences and training programs, according to Beth Bubacz Nichols with the 4-H program. The auction raised $5,050.


Corbett's cake was purchased for $275 by John Barr, who owns Ellsworth Electric Inc. and is president of the Washington County Commissioners. Jason Hose with Mackintosh Realtors and Floyd Davis bought Etzler's cake for $225.

Etzler's Topsy-Turvy Apple Pie won The Herald-Mail's second annual pie contest last fall.

Etzler's cake for Ag Expo featured that classic combo of chocolate and peanut butter. In this instance it is a chocolate cake with a peanut butter frosting and chocolate ganache poured over the frosting.

Asked what it tastes like, Etzler said "chocolate, chocolate, chocolate."

Etzler, 57, who lives east of Hagerstown, does not know why it is called the Wacky Cake. Her mother, Rachel Trail of Walkersville, Md., often prepared it for dessert when Etzler was a child. The recipe came from her mother's brother-in-law.

"It's always been a good cake," easy to make with no milk or eggs in the cake batter, she said.

Etzler almost didn't enter her Wacky Cake in the Ag Expo & Fair's open-class competition because the cake didn't "look right" aftershe'dmade it.

"I'm a perfectionist when it comes to my cakes," said Etzler, who works at Fort Detrick. But she brought it anyway, for the sense of adventure and competition.

Kaitlyn Corbett, 16, of Downsville, won grand champion cake for the third time at Ag Expo, using a recipe she made for the first time and had not even tasted.

Ann Platou, who judged the 4-H cakes, said Corbett's orange nut butter cake was "really good" and moist. "It tasted like an orange," Platou said.

The cake recipe came from Land O'Lakes, though Kaitlyn used a different recipe for the glaze because Ag Expo rules do not permit frostings made with uncooked butter or milk as they are perishable.

Kaitlyn's mother, Shawna, found the cake recipe online.

Mom was looking for something different for Kaitlyn to try, Kaitlyn said.

Kaitlyn won in 2007 with a carrot cake recipe from her grandmother, Jeanie Corbett.

She won in 2006 with a butternut poundcake whose recipe was discovered by her great grandmother, Edna Divel.

So it was fitting her mother had a hand in selecting which cake Kaitlyn was to bake this year, Kaitlyn said.

This one stuck out because Kaitlyn likes orange, said the teenager, who is home-schooled. The recipe includes orange peel, orange marmalade and orange juice.

Kaitlyn had trouble getting it out of the pan so she let it cool twice as long as called for and then the cake came out intact.

Wacky Cake (chocolate) with Peanut Butter
Frosting topped with Chocolate Ganache

For the cake:

Pinch of salt
2/3 cup cocoa
2 cups sugar
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 cup oil
2 cups water
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons cider vinegar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a mixing bowl, mix all the dry ingredients. Add the wet ingredients and mix. Grease and flour a 9-inch-by 13-inch cake pan or 2 round 8- or 9-inch cake pans. Then pour batter into cake pan(s).

Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

For the peanut butter frosting:

1 cup butter softened
1 cup creamy peanut butter
4 cups powdered sugar
4 teaspoons milk

In a medium bowl, beat frosting ingredients with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Spread mixture evenly over cake. Frosts a 9-inch-by-13-inch pan or 2 round cake pans.

For the chocolate ganache:

8 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, cut into small pieces
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons butter

Place the chopped chocolate in a medium-sized stainless steel bowl. Set aside.

Heat the cream and butter in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil. Immediately pour cream over the chocolate and allow to stand for 5 minutes.

Stir with a whisk until smooth. Pour over cake.

Let cake sit an hour before serving so icing can set.

Serves 12

Courtesy of Carolyn Etzler, who lives east of Hagerstown

Orange nut butter cake

Cake Ingredients:

1 cup sugar
3/4 cup Land O'Lakes Butter, softened
3 eggs
1 tablespoon freshly grated orange peel
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup orange marmalade
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup orange juice
5-ounce can evaporated milk
1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

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