Sweet rewards: Teen and tween bake a win

July 24, 2010|By TIFFANY ARNOLD
  • Courtesy of Hill family Danielle Hill, 12, of Clear Spring won grand champion in the open-class division for her potluck rolls.
submitted photo,

A teen and tween took the top honors for baked goods at this year's Washington County Ag Expo & Fair.

Rookie cake-maker Sara Lynn, 13, of Hagerstown, won grand champion in the 4-H division for her Grandma's Pineapple Upside Down Cake. Clear Spring youngster Danielle Hill, 12, won grand champion in the open-class division for her potluck rolls.

The winning goods were sold to the highest bidders during the 4-H Cake Auction on Friday, July 16, the opening night for public events at the Washington County Ag Expo & Fair.

The Ag Expo concluded Thursday, July 22.

If you missed your chance to bid on the vittles, don't fret. Sara and Danielle were willing to share their recipes with Herald-Mail readers.

"I didn't think it was going to win," said Sara, who will soon start eighth grade at E. Russell Hicks Middle School.


Though the event is referred to as a "cake auction," it is actually an auction of the blue-ribbon winners - cakes, pies, cookies, candies or breads - from the Ag Fair's baked goods contest, organizers said.

The baked goods contest is split into two divisions: one for 4-H members and an "open" category for nonmembers or 4-H'ers who aren't involved with food-related projects, said Judy Williamson, coordinator of the Ag Fair's indoor open-class exhibits for home and garden.

The grand champion designations are awarded to the items judges felt were the best out of all the entries, according to Beth Nichols, educator for 4-H youth development with the Washington County Extension Office. She said there were no cash prizes given for grand champion, but cash prizes would have been given for placing first, second or third.

This year, Sara and Danielle nabbed the top honors.

Williamson said it isn't typical for a young person to win grand champion in the open-class division, typically the domain of adult entrants.

Danielle, who will be entering eighth grade at Clear Spring Middle School, said it was the first time she had ever won a grand-champion prize. She used her grandmother's yeast roll recipe.

"She's been baking them for years," said Danielle, adding that she was thrilled when she learned that she won.

"So was I," said Nancy Hill, Danielle's grandmother who also lives in Clear Spring.

Each year the Ag Expo draws thousands of people to the Washington County Agricultural Education Center grounds a few miles south of Hagerstown - a point that isn't lost on the local 4-H clubs.

Nichols said the cake auction is used to raise money for 4-H programing.

Sara's cake sold for $200; Danielle's rolls sold for $25.

Nichols estimated that auctioned goods generated $2,600 this year, much less than the nearly $5,000 she said was brought in last year.

As an organization, 4-H traces its roots back to the early 20th-century rural youth programs. Today's 4-H focuses on personal growth and has nearly 6 million members, according to the national organization's website.

In Washington County, there are 220 registered 4-H members, Nichols said.

Potluck rolls

1 package dry yeast
1/3 cup and 1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup melted butter
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
5 to 6 cups flour

In a mixing bowl, dissolve yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar in the water. Once yeast bubbles, add remaining sugar, butter, eggs, milk, salt and 3 cups flour. Beat on medium speed until smooth. Stir in enough flour to form soft dough.

Turn onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 6 to 8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl and turn over so top is greased. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Punch dough down. Divide into 27 pieces and shape into balls. Place an equal number of balls into three, greased, 9-inch cake pans. Cover and let rise for 45 minutes.

Bake in preheated 375-degree oven for 17 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.

-- Danielle Hill, grand champion baked goods, open division, 2010 Washington County Ag Expo & Fair. This recipe was adapted from a Potluck Pan Roll recipe published in Taste of Home magazine in 1999.

Grandma's Pineapple Upside Down Cake

1 box moist yellow cake mix (see cook's note)
2 cans pineapple rings
Brown sugar, to taste
1 stick butter
1 cup pecans
Cherries, to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Mix cake according to box directions, using the juice from the canned pineapple rings instead of water. Do not bake the cake.

Melt the butter in a 13-inch-by-9-inch pan. Allow to cool.

Sprinkle the pan with the brown sugar. Place one layer of pineapple rings at the bottom, as many as will fit.

Place a cherry in between each pineapple ring. Sprinkle the pecans over the pineapples and cherries.

Pour the cake mix over the fruit.

Bake cake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the cake is dark, golden brown.

Allow the cake to cool. Invert the cake on a sheet pan.

Serves 15.

Cook's note: Sara Lynn recommends Duncan Hines brand cake mix.

-- Sara Lynn, grand-champion baked goods winner, 4-H division, 2010 Washington County Ag Expo & Fair

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