HARRISBURG — Jayne and Robert Wenger, literally took the cake at the 98th Pennsylvania Farm Show Incredible Egg Angel Food Cake contest. Make that cakes.
The Adamstown husband-and-wife team on Sunday won two of the five prizes for the sweet competition that was open to first-place winners of angel food cake contests from Pennsylvania’s agricultural fairs in 2013. She won second place and $250. He won third place and $100. Both won bragging rights for their victory in the contest that had 62 entries and five judges.
“We both love to bake,” Jayne Wenger said, clutching her red ribbon and smiling. “But we didn’t think we both would win!”
Connie Shuff, of York, received the first place and a $500 premium for her Hawaiian angel food cake with an orange and pineapple filling and a coating of macadamia nuts and shredded coconut. Deb Gruber, of Slatington, took fourth place and Clancein Donough, of Port Royal, came in fifth.
The bakers took their entries seriously.
“I made five angel cakes to bring to the farm show so I could pick the best one for judging,” said Shuff, who over the years won the Farm Show’s chocolate cake contest three times. She also judges baking contests and has written “Connie’s Creations and Collectibles,” which includes many of her winning recipes.
“My family got the other four. Dic, my husband, is the cake taster,” she said.
The Wenger family shares their cakes too, according to Jayne Wenger’s sister, Nan Kubian, of South Brunswick, N.J. Kubian said her sister didn’t bake when she was growing up.
“Our mother didn’t bake much either,” Kubian said. “But Jayne got into baking and Bob followed. They love to bake together and make a good team. The rest of us are their testing crew. We taste the cakes.”
Jayne Wenger, a retired registered nurse, won fifth prize in the Incredible Egg Angel Food Cake contest in 2009. Her husband, noting how much fun she had baking for contests, decided that he wanted to bake too. The rest, as they say, is history and soon both were baking for contests.
In 2013, Robert Wenger won third place in the angel food cake contest at the Farm Show, the same award he received on Sunday. This year, he made a triple lemon angel food cake while she baked a raspberry white chocolate one.
As the judges tasted the cakes, bakers in the audience chatted about their cakes. Shuff wasn’t the only baker to create an angel food cake with tropical flavors.
Patti Vitez of Lemont Furnace entered a lemon angel food cake with limoncello icing.
“I use pure lemon oil and freshly squeezed lemon juice in the cake,” she said. “Then I use the limoncello liquor for the icing. The cake is tangy, but the icing is mild.”
Her grandson, Dalton Vitez, said he especially likes the icing.
Lauren Esherick, of Somerset, brought her coconut lime angel food cake to the competition.
“The secret of this cake is not to over mix the flour into the egg whites,” she said. “I beat the 12 egg whites for 10 to 12 minutes and add coconut extract and lime juice. I use coconut milk and lime juice in the glaze too.”
Doris Harper, of Allentown, made a raspberry angel food cake with fresh raspberries folded into the batter.