It paid off.
The grand prize winner receives not only a blue ribbon, but also a large purple rosette, an extra $10 in prize money and a gift certificate from business sponsor Two Roads Cafe. Local businesses sponsor each category and offer an extra prize to each grand champion.
Actually, Carmickle admits that she likes to make pies more than cakes most of the time.
"You can get more meals out of pies. Cakes take too long to eat, especially for just two people," says Carmickle, who cooks for herself and her husband, Charlie.
When the family comes home, she usually makes cakes "because they go further."
Black walnuts are another key ingredient to use.
"It will make it, if you have them."
English walnuts may be substituted, but the taste is not the same, "not as good."
"I usually go out to my son's (Ronnie) farm to gather walnuts from his tree."
She then cracks her own nuts to use in the jam cake.
One son, Jerry Carmickle, lives near Elizabethtown and works at Fort Knox. And her two other children, Karen Johnston, and Barry Wayne Carmickle, live in Lexington.
Quilting is her hobby
Although Carmickle says she loves to cook, and cooks everything, quilting is her hobby.
"I do that at night."
She is working on a Dresden plate pattern for next year's fair entry. She received a blue ribbon on her "Fantasy Vine" quilt this year. And last year, she was grand champion in the quilting division with her "Boston Commons" quilt. That made a total of three grand champions for quilting.
Quilt patterns come from her many quilt books and magazines that have been collected over the years.
"I got into quilting in 1980 and have been doing it ever since. When I started, there weren't many quilt books or magazines out. I'm really self-taught when it comes to quilting."
Carmickle usually enters a lot of canned foods and other foods in the county fair. She has won grand champion in food preservation once and in foods once before.
"I grew up on a farm on White Oak Road with eight sisters and two brothers and have lived here in Boyle County all my life."
She has been an active member of the Lancaster Road Homemaker Club for almost 30 years.
Donna Clore is Boyle County extension agent for family and consumer sciences.