Evans is tough to beat at baking cakes

October 20, 2004|EMILY TOADVINE

Edna Evans hasn't always won the cake baking contest at the Forkland Festival, but she at least earned a respectable second or third.

"Only one year I didn't win and Doris won it on a chocolate cake," Evans says of her sister, Doris Purdom, who has helped organize the festival since it began 33 years ago.

This year, she was back in the driver's seat with a Butternut Squash Layer Cake recipe that she found in "A Taste of Home" cookbook.

Evans, who began helping with the festival in 1990, says she chooses a recipe with one key ingredient.

"The cake has got to have a real strong taste of one flavor."

One year, a Kentucky Whiskey Cake went over big. Another year, it was a plum cake. This year's cake made its mark with walnuts that came from a Lincoln County woman who hulled them herself.


The cake appealed to Evans as she flipped through the cookbook.

"I was sitting around here and looking and I thought, 'That's a pretty cake.'"

No trial runs

Evans doesn't waste time with a trial run.

"Every cake I've made, it was my first time to make it. They say you're supposed to try it first."

If she does make this cake again, she probably will choose a different type of icing, even though the brown sugar gave it a good taste.

"It's hard to make. It took me all day to fool with this."

She had a little trouble gathering all her ingredients. For the butternut squash, she relied on a nephew, Joe Lamkin of Junction City, to track them down.

"If he thinks I want something, he'll find it," she says.

Her nephew actually brought her two of the squash.

"He said, 'We've got to have a pie out of one of them,'" she says.

A pinch of this

For the other ingredients, Evans says she likes White Lily flour and she thinks it should be sifted. She usually can tell if the measurements are right by looking instead of using measuring spoons.

"I'm an old-fashioned cook - a pinch of this and a pinch of that."

Evans, who lives in Danville, says she feels allegiance to the Forkland area because she lived on Black Lick Road until she was 11. Her father moved the family to Bradfordsville when he rented a large farm. She and her four siblings thought it was exciting to live close to a big town.

"When I grew up, on Saturday nights, you went to town and you couldn't find a place to park," she says, noting that most people spent the evening walking up and down the streets.

Even though Evans had successfully won a baking contest, she is not one to rest on her laurels. Her kitchen was overflowing with three kinds of cookies that she made for the Democratic Women's Club to feed the crowd at the Democratic fish fry.

Butternut Squash Layer Cake

1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened

1 cup sugar

1 cup packed brown sugar

2 eggs

1 cup mashed, cooked butternut squash

1 teaspoon maple flavoring

3 cups cake flour

4 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup milk

1 cup chopped walnuts

Brown Sugar Frosting

1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar

3 eggs whites

6 tablespoons water

1/4 teaspoon cream of tarter

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugars. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add squash and maple flavoring; mix well. Combine flour, baking powder and baking soda; add to creamed mixture alternately with milk. Stir in walnuts. Pour into two greased and floured 9-inch round baking pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks.

For frosting, combine the brown sugar, egg whites, water, cream of tarter and salt in a heavy saucepan. With a portable mixer, beat on low speed for 1 minute. Continue beating over low heat until a thermometer reads 160 degrees, about 8 to 10 minutes. Pour frosting into a large mixing bowl; add vanilla. Beat on high speed until stiff peaks form, about 3 minutes. Spread between layers and over top and sides of cake. Refrigerate. Yield: 10 to 12 servings.

Editor's note: A stand mixer is recommended for beating the frosting after it reaches 160 degrees.

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