Best Citrus Cake Contest Winner

Citrus Daffodil Sponge Cake Takes 1st Place at MN State Fair

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Best Citrus Cake Contest Winner with Ribbon

The Kowalski’s Markets Best Citrus Cake Contest winner at the 2023 Minnesota State Fair was this Daffodil Citrus Cake from Jenny McElroy. The cake is half angel food cake and have citrus sponge cake. It has phenomenal flavor, which comes from using fresh orange and lemon zests. Learn how to make it with Jenny’s detailed recipe below.

Jenny McElroy - Best Citrus Cake Contest Winner

The contest drew a record number of entries, 130. Jenny learned to bake from her mother and grandmother. Over the years she had perfected angel food cake baking skills. It paid off with winning first place out of so many cakes!

Slice of Best Citrus Cake Contest Winner

She first make this cake for a Mother’s Day celebration. When she learned of the new Kowalski’s Market Best Citrus Cake Contest, this cake immediately came to mind.

Tables Full of Citrus Cakes

The scents of lemon, orange, lime, and even grapefruit were in the air over the tables full of citrus cakes. This contest was judged before the fair opened and on the same day all the bakers dropped off their entries.

Table full of cakes

High Praises for Best Citrus Cake Contest Winner

Among the comments from judge, “this cake speaks citrus” and “the baker has mastered the sponge cake process.” They also praised it’s true natural flavors. They even noted how the glaze was just the right consistency, how even the cake’s surface was, and how perfectly it cut. This is what it looked like on contest day.

Citrus Daffodil Cake

I can personally attest to this cakes deliciousness and how perfect the recipe was written. The detail was so good, I consider it a no-fail recipe.

When Jenny is not baking blue ribbon winning cakes, she is a librarian with the Minnesota Historical Society.

Congratulations Jenny!


Daffodil Citrus Cake

1 ¼ cups cake flour, sift before measuring
1 ½ cups sugar, divided
1 ¼ teaspoons salt
12 egg whites and 6 egg yolks
1 ½ teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
1 tablespoon orange juice
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
½ teaspoon grated orange zest
1 tablespoon orange juice
½ teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Pinch of salt

Makes approximately 12 servings (1 cake)
Bake time: 35 to 40 minutes


Preparation and Dry Ingredients:
Pre-heat oven to 350°F. Sift and measure flour. Sift together flour, 1/4 cup sugar, and 1 teaspoon
salt, at least two times.

Yolk Mixture:
Beat yolks and 1/4 cup sugar with an electric mixer on high speed until it has doubled in volume
(usually about 3 minutes, use whisk attachment if you have one). Beat in lemon and orange zests
and both types of juice.

Egg White Mixture:
In a clean bowl, beat egg whites on high speed until foamy (use whisk attachment if you have
one). Beat in remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Add vanilla
and slowly add remaining 1 cup sugar–1 tablespoon at a time–and beat until you have stiff peaks.
Add one-third of the flour mixture and fold in (about 10 to 15 strokes). Repeat twice, so that all of
the flour mixture is incorporated.

Citrus Layer:
Fold one half of egg-white mixture into yolk mixture. (To make this easier, start by folding in one
scoopful, then fold in the rest of the half.) Put this mixture into the bottom of an ungreased 10-inch
angel-food-cake pan.

Add Angel Food Layer and Bake:
Top with remaining egg-white mixture. Run a knife through to release air bubbles. Bake until top
is springy and/or tester comes out clean (usually 35 to 40 minutes), then cool cake upside down.
Once cool, remove cake from tube pan and turn out on a plate.

Combine all glaze ingredients to make a thick, pourable glaze. If it is too thick, add ½ tsp lemon
juice at a time to thin. Add more confectioners’ sugar if it is too thin. Pour glaze on the cake,
letting it drip down the sides and in the center. Let stand until set (should be about 30 to 45



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