Pineapple and zucchini -- A winning combination

August 08, 2010|By HEATHER LOWERY
  • Carolyn Etzler of Hagerstown holds her champion pineapple zucchini cake, which won in the open class in the cakes division for adults at this year's Washington County Ag Expo at the Washington County Agricultural Education Center.
By Colleen McGrath/Staff Photographer,

Carolyn Etzler, 58, of Hagerstown, recently won champion in the cake division for adults at the Washington County Ag Expo by using a fruit and vegetable not usually paired.

Etzler's pineapple zucchini cake with penuche frosting won her the top spot in the cake division for adults.

Etzler entered the contest last year and won Grand Champion in the cake division for her Wacky Cake, a chocolate cake with peanut butter icing.

Etzler has been baking since she was 13 years old, when her grandmother gave her a cookbook. It was her first cookbook and she has been collecting them ever since.

"She gave me my first cookbook, it was a cookie cookbook," she said.

Etzler participated in 4-H competitions throughout her youth and has continued entering her delicious creations in contests over the years.

"I moved from Frederick County and I won many contests down there. I moved here (Hagerstown) two years ago and entered two cakes and cookies the first year I was here at the Ag Expo," Etzler said.


Etzler said she has won contests at the Frederick Fair, Walkersville and Thurmont Community Shows, among others.

Etzler has been cooking and baking, as well as collecting cookbooks, for more than 45 years.

"I have somewhere between 8 and 10,000 cookbooks," she said.

In fact, Etzler has an entire room dedicated to housing her cookbooks, even some in different languages.

"I have Christmas cookbooks, baking cookbooks, barbecue cookbooks, cookbooks from my overseas travel, community cookbooks. I even have a Dallas Cowboys cookbook," she said.

Etzler said collecting cookbooks is something that she said she will never stop doing.

In Etzler's library of cookbooks, notecards and sticky notes stick out of the tops and sides of many of the cookbooks.

Etzler, who works as a contractor to the U.S. Army for Fort Dietrich, said that her co-workers often joke with her about her baking.

"We had a bakeoff at the company picnic, and of course I entered," she said. "I won last year, and I plan to enter again this year, but they said, 'Can't you just quit?' and I just say, 'Sorry guys, but no."

Etzler said she also makes cakes for her co-workers' birthdays.

"Everybody at work gives me a hard time because they don't make the cake for me. They buy one," she said.

When asked why she bakes all the time, she just replied, "I like to bake."

Chatting with Carolyn Etzler

Q. Why did you put pineapple and zucchini in the cake?

A. Because it's a moist cake. You wouldn't think it would be good, but using zucchini is just like using carrot for a carrot cake. Zucchini just makes the cake moist, and I wanted a moist cake.

Q. What is your favorite thing to make?

A. Cakes, all kinds of cakes. Well, anything that's a dessert.

Q. How long does it take to make the pineapple zucchini cake?

A. It's not hard to make. It takes an hour to bake, but I would say an hour and a half total.

Q. Do you have any advice for other cooks?

A. Try, try, try again. Keep practicing and try new recipes. If you like bananas, throw bananas in. It you like raisins, throw raisins in. If you don't like raisins, don't add raisins. Experiment with it. If they turn out bad, try again.

Pineapple zucchini cake

3 eggs
2 cup sugar
2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup oil
2 cup grated zucchini
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups flour
1 cup crushed pineapple
1/2 cup raisins
1 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Beat eggs, sugar, vanilla and oil until fluffy.

Add zucchini, baking soda, baking powder, salt and flour. Mix well. Stir in pineapple, raisins, and pecans. Mix well. Pour into 9-by-13 inch pan or tub pan.

Bake for an hour or toothpick in middle is clean.

- courtesy of Carolyn Etzler

Penuche frosting

1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 stick butter
1/4 cup whole milk
2 cups powdered sugar

Place the brown sugar and butter in a medium-size heavy saucepan over medium heat.

Simmer, stirring constantly until well combined for about 2 minutes. Carefully pour in the milk, stirring and bring mixture to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat and cool slightly. Place the powdered sugar in a large mixing bowl. Pour the hot brown sugar mixture over the powdered sugar. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed until the frosting is smooth and creamy, 2 to 3 minutes. Use immediately (while still warm) to frost the cake, frosting will harden. If the frosting in the pan hardens while you are frosting the cake, simply place the pan back over low heat and stir until the frosting softens up.

- courtesy of Carolyn Etzler

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