HARRISBURG — Debra Martin Berkoski and her mother like to keep the Pennsylvania Farm Show baking ribbons in the family.
The Lancaster County women, routinely victorious in the various cake, pie, bread and cookie contests in Pennsylvania’s version of a state fair, both placed in the top five Sunday at the Incredible Egg Angel Food Cake Contest.
Pam Foor of Everett won first place over 64 other entries. She received a blue ribbon and a $500 premium for her “Triple Lemon Angel Food Cake.”
The contest, sponsored by the Pennsylvania Egg Farmers and the Pennsylvania State Association of County Fairs, was only open to first place winners of angel food cake contests from Pennsylvania’s agricultural fairs in 2014.
Other prizes went to:
• Berkoski, second place and $250 for her lemon angel food cake. She qualified at the Elizabethtown Fair.
• Lucinda Donough, third place and $100 for her angel food deluxe with vanilla buttercream frosting. She won the Juniata County Fair.
• Deb Lyon, fourth place, a ribbon and a gift bag for her strawberry rhubarb angel food cake. She qualified at the Plainfield Farmers Fair.
• Martin of Conestoga, Berkoski’s mother, fifth place, a ribbon and a gift bag for her cherry lovers angel food cake. She qualified at the Denver Fair. Martin, 87, had won first place on Sunday for her entry in the chocolate cake contest.
This year’s angel food cake entries seemed especially tall and ornate, with intricate designs in icing, fruit garnishes and candy. One cake was ringed with miniature marshmallows, some had flower garnishes and another was decorated to look like a sheep.
Judges evaluated creativity, color, icing and decoration along with smell, taste, flavoring, inside texture and lightness.
As judges tasted, hopeful contestants discussed the challenges of creating angel food cakes. Most used at least a dozen egg whites in their cakes. Foor used 18 egg whites.
Shirley Varner of Millerstown made an angel food cake with a lemon glaze using the same recipe that won her first place in the Perry County Fair.
She said she uses some eggs for breakfast and feeds the rest to her cats.
“I made a cherry angel food cake because I like cherries,” said Michelle Schrock of Berlin. “I chopped them and added them to the batter. My cake took 12 eggs. I threw the yolks away.”
Marcy Wallace of Galeton used 18 egg whites in her chocolate angel food cake with caramel sauce, and then used the yolks to make an orange sponge cake.
“I brought the caramel sauce to Harrisburg so I could put it on the cake just before entering it in the contest,” she said. “It got so cold that it was too thick but I had to use it anyhow.”
Rachel Kosach of Wattsburg made a citrus angel food cake with lemon, lime and orange flavor. She said she divides the batter into three bowls, then adds zest of lemon to one, lime to one and orange to the third.
She puts the batter in pans in blocks, and then bakes the cake 50 minutes.
“This is a labor intensive cake, but it’s a good one for spring,” she said. “It’s colorful and different. It took 16 egg whites. I froze the yolks and will use them to make Mardi Gras king cakes.”
The first prize angel food cake recipe:
Triple Lemon Angel Food Cake
- Cake ingredients
- 1 1/2 cup egg whites
- 1 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 2 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 cup cake flour
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon limoncello
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
- 2 teaspoon lemon pudding
- 2 teaspoon poppy seeds
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
Sift cake flour and 3/4 cup sugar. Set aside. Beat egg whites until frothy. Add cream of tartar. Beat until stiff. Add 1 1/2 cup sugar. Fold in vanilla, limoncello, lemon juice, lemon pudding, poppy seeds and zest. Gently fold. Add flour mixture gently. Pour into ungreased tube pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 35 to 40 min. Cool in pan.
- 2 cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon lemon extract
- 1 teaspoon limoncello
- 2 ounces cream cheese
- 1 Tablespoon milk
Mix until desired consistency. Doubling the recipe may require extra milk. Spread on cooled cake. Garnish with ½ cup lemon curd. Decorate top with lemon slices, poppy seed and ribbon.