I had fallen in love with my aunt's Hummingbird Cake many years ago, so I gave it a shot. Liz Maples was game for the contest also and as soon as I had cleared the pans from the oven, she set about creating a Blueberry Sour Cream Cake. Several of her family members suggested she make Hummingbird Cake but she had to inform them that recipe already was taken.
She was still baking at a late hour, but I am a blueberry hound and I had to have a taste as soon as it came out of the oven. I convinced her to get it out of the bundt pan a little sooner than she should have and it promptly fell into a million pieces. It still tasted good, even if it had to be eaten with a spoon.
We decided to rely on the discerning palates of our Advocate co-workers to tell us what a winner would be. They loved the Hummingbird Cake, and it is good with its ingredients of banana, pineapple and nuts. They even raved about Liz's cake after I convinced her to serve it because looks don't matter in a trial run.
Pumpkin Layer Cake it is
A co-worker who had enlisted as a taste judge, printed out a copy of a Pumpkin Layer Cake and I decided to act on her suggestion. I even went the extra mile and made the icing of cream cheese and Cool Whip. I settled on this recipe as my entry.
Liz moved on to a Rum Cake. I was having company for dinner. They sampled it to the point that there was not enough left to test on our Advocate judges. We decided this was a sure sign that she should make this recipe.
We delivered our cakes to the contest. I put my 9-year-old daughter, Reva, in charge of baking the Pumpkin Cake because somehow it became intertwined with a school project. Liz was a little unsure of her ability and ended up baking two Rum Cakes the night before the contest. She was afraid she made the rum glaze too strong or something on the first one. Hiccup.
We were very near the cakes on the first night of the festival because we had signed on to wash bean pots. During a lull in kitchen duties, we decided to check out the competition. We learned that a Butternut Squash Layer Cake had won. It wasn't long before we had taken it upon ourselves to give all of the top three cakes and our own a pinch taste test. With heavy hearts, we both decided that the cakes were not our best effort.
I decided to go to Mohammed to learn the ins and outs of baking. Edna Evans, the winner, told me that she never does a trial run. I tend to agree with her. I remember this strategy serving my dad well when he played in a golf tournament. He always played better if he hadn't set foot on the green in awhile.
So, next year, a quick perusal of the cookbook and a check on the egg stock and I'll be back in the batter.