Tag: best recipe

Great Chocolate Cake Contest Winner: MN Blackout Cake

The Kowalski’s Great Chocolate Cake Contest Winner at the 2022 Minnesota State Fair was this phenomenal “MN Blackout Cake.”

With its three layers, pudding filling, chocolate drip, and decoration, this cake is a chocolate lover’s dream come true. It’s intense color and flavor are going to wow you, just like it did us and the judges.

Replicating it as we did, takes time, but every bite makes it worth the effort.

Great Chocolate Cake Contest Winner MN Blackout Cake

Kudos to Michelle Seywerd who was the Great Chocolate Cake Contest Winner at the 2022 Minnesota State Fair with this inspired creation.

Michelle’s husband loves Guinness chocolate cake which was her first idea of what to enter. Then she recalled the notorious Brooklyn Blackout Cake. Michelle’s winning recipe is a twist on it. She used this recipe as her base and then adapted a Food Network pudding filling. She added the fun chocolate shards on top too. We were shocked to learn Michelle had barely baked a cookie before the pandemic but really got into it with her daughter, who was a toddler at the time. They started with basic baked goods, watched a lot of YouTube channels, and worked up to more challenging recipes. “It’s been quite a journey,” Michelle shared.

Decadently Dark Cake

In her own words, Michelle describes her MN Blackout Cake here:

A decadently dark cake perfect for the dark chocolate lover in your life! I created a twist on the classic Brooklyn Blackout Cake by featuring black cocoa. Black cocoa is used to give Oreos that distinct color and flavor. Here, I’ve featured chocolate in 4 ways –  layers of moist cocoa cake, filled with black cocoa pudding filling, dripping with a semi sweet chocolate ganache, and topped with intense dark chocolate shards. The result – the boldest and richest chocolate flavor possible without use of food coloring. Enjoy with a nice glass of cold milk! Thank you!

Baking Tips: Great Chocolate Cake Contest Winner

Some random tips we got from Michelle and learned along the way, are these:

  • You’ll want to double the cake portion of the recipe if you want to recreate Michelle’s 3-layer version she won with at the fair. You’ll have an extra single layer that works great to taste and decorate separately. We did crushed salted peanuts on ours (4th unused layer) and loved it. You could also go for a 4 layer cake, but that’s mighty big.
  • If you opt to not double the cake and don’t want extra of the pudding filling, you’ll want to cut that recipe portion in half or do 2/3. The thick filling layer makes this cake a show stopper in our opinion. I would eat that pudding filling as a solo dessert. It’s that good.
  • We got our black cocoa from King Arthur and loved the results. Get yours here.
  • Using black cocoa over the buttered parchment helps the cake keep its intense color.

  • With chocolate drip, if you’re starting with a chocolate bar (versus chocolate chips), chop it into small pieces until they’re about the size of chocolate chips. You’ll get a smoother, more efficient melt.
  • If you can’t find 90% cacao chocolate, use 100% (2 ounces) and semi-sweet chocolate (1 ounce) as a substitute.
  • When we did the chocolate drip, we started with the edge. We worked by the spoonful for more control and to get the drizzle/drip look we wanted.
  • Michelle says this cake is not a fast one to make, but the payoff is totally worth it.

We invite you to re-create the magic of this MN Blackout Cake. Be sure to share on social media and tag @blueribbonfoodies. We want to see what you’re baking!

Enjoy!

-Cyndi

 

New Blue Ribbon Group Contests @ State Fair of Texas

Enter Our New Blue Ribbon Group Contests at the 2022 State Fair of Texas

Cash Prizes of $200, $100, $50 Offered in New Cooking & Baking Contests 

Dallas-Fort Worth, September  13, 2022 – Calling all Texas home cooks and hobby bakers! You’re invited to compete in our new Blue Ribbon Group Contests @ State Fair of Texas. Up for grabs is $350 in prizes in each of four contests/categories, plus bonus prizes and additional ways to win. Do you make great game day foods that are total crowd pleasers? How about some homemade low-sugar sweet-treats? If you do, then these new contests are for you!

Tom Thumb “Blue Ribbon Recipe Round Up” (Game Day Themed Recipes/3 Categories) 10/2/2022

The first Texas Blue Ribbon Group contest is the Tom Thumb  “Blue Ribbon Recipe Round-Up” on Sunday, October 2. With a “Game Day Delights” theme, the Blue Ribbon Recipe Round-Up calls for crowd-pleasing appetizers, main dishes, and desserts. The event is essentially three contests in one. We want to see your best-tasting recipes that are perfect for parties! Each category/type has $350 in gift card prizes, including $200 for 1st Place, $100 for 2nd Place, and $50 for 3rd Place. Plus, bonus prizes will celebrate overall baking category winners (among the fair’s total contest line-up) and offer additional ways to win, even if you don’t compete at the fair.

Splenda Magic Baker™ “Low-To-No Sugar Showdown” (Creative Cookies) 10/5/2022

The second Texas Blue Ribbon Group contest is Wednesday, October 5, for the Splenda Magic Baker “Low-To-No Sugar Showdown.” This contest includes a free product giveaway – while supplies last – and calls for CREATIVE COOKIES that are low in sugar or sugar- free! Use any Splenda product, such as Splenda Magic Baker, a new zero-calorie, zero-sugar, plant-based sweetener that tastes and measures just like sugar. The product  is now available from Amazon, Walmart and other grocery stores.

Winner Selections

State Fair of Texas official judges (a varied panel of food professionals, local celebrities, and foodies) will decide each contest’s winners based on evaluating entries with this judging criteria:

  • Unique, innovative, creative recipe (35%)
  • Taste, flavor, aroma (30%)
  • Appearance, color, presentation (25%)
  • Texture, internal appearance (10%)

Extra Ways to Win

Be sure to follow Blue Ribbon Foodies on Instagram and/or Facebook or join our mailing list here for a chance to win one of our $25 gift card giveaways. Whether or not you are competing at the State Fair of Texas, we invite you to take part. We will offer random prizes and perks to our community members and followers throughout the 2022 state fair season, which for us, ends October 22, 2022.

Participation Tips/Guidelines – Blue Ribbon Group Contests @ State Fair of Texas

 All state fair recipe/cooking contest registration and judging goes through the State Fair of Texas Creative Arts Department.

  • Get all the competition details here (Jump to pages 19 & 26, for the Tom Thumb and Splenda Magic Baker contests)
  • Only Texas residents can win at the State Fair of Texas. Advance registration is recommended but not required.
  • When you are ready to register, follow this link (TX Registration Shortcut)

 

Special thanks to our 2022 Texas Contest Partners

 

Minnesota State Fair Baking Competition Winners Announced

Minnesota State Fair 2022 Baking Competition Winners Announced

  • Blue Ribbon Group special contests celebrate the best in home baking & cooking

  • Find the complete Creative Activities Building winner list here

  • Take in daily live demos/tasting Events in the Cambria Kitchen, starting with Kowalski’s Markets opening day

 

Minneapolis-St Paul, August 25, 2022 – Please join the Blue Ribbon Group in congratulating all the talented and creative entrants in our Blue Ribbon Special Contest Series at the Minnesota State Fair.

 

Splenda Magic Baker “Low-To-No Sugar Showdown” Winners

1st Place – Gina Walker of Savage for “Gina’s Sugar-Free Gourmet Banana Bread”

2nd Place – Billie Holterman-Schniepp of Cottage Grove for “Low-Sugar Apple Coffee Cake”

3rd Place – Christina Bergstrom of Twin Lakes for “Peaches & Cream Coffee Cake”

 

Kowalski’s “Great Chocolate Cake Contest” Winners

1st Place – Michelle Seyward of Woodbury for “MN Black Out Cake”

2nd Place – Erin Dooley of St Paul for “Tribute to Mexican Hot Chocolate Cake”

3rd Place – Colleen Jensen of Woodbury for “Merry’s Chocolate Orange Cupcakes”

 

Kowalski’s Supreme Sourdough Contest Winners

1st Place – Guillermo Guardia of Minneapolis for “Peruvian Sourdough Croissants”

2nd Place – Karen Cope of Minneapolis for “Beer & Cheese Sourdough Bread Twist”

3rd Place – Molly Abbattista of Minneapolis for “Sourdough Focaccia Barese”

 

Blue Ribbon “Best Peanut Butter Cookie” Contest Winners

1st Place – Betsy Faber of St. Paul for “Crispy Creamy Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies”

2nd Place – Emily York of Hopkins for “Peanut Butter & Chocolate Macarons”

3rd Place – Sheila Mullen of Woodbury for “Salted Caramel Nougat-Filled Peanut Butter Cookies”

 

Blue Ribbon “Best Cream Pie” Contest Winners

1st Place – Melinda Chapel of Rosemount for “Blueberry Mojito Pie”

2nd Place – Randy Ferguson of Randolph for “The Pie-phrodisiac” (Chocolate Almond Coconut Pie)

3rd Place – Rachael Hood of St. Louis Park for “Blackberry Smash Cream Pie”

 

Blue Ribbon “Salad Bowl Tournament” Winners

1st Place – Amy Ellenberger of St Paul for “Lemony Summer Kale Salad”

2nd Place – Mia Bremer of Minneapolis for “Herby Tortellini Harvest Salad”

3rd Place – Ellen Joseph of Minneapolis for “Peppery Greens with Shrimp, Soba Noodles & Crunch Herbs”

 

3 Cricketeers “Energy Bars & Power Balls” Recipe Contest

1st Place – Amy Ellenberger of St. Paul for “Magic Chai Power Balls”

2nd Place – Tiffany Mainella of Rochester for “Apple Pie Energy Balls”

3rd Place – Eamon Whiteaker of St. Paul for “Cherry Chocolate Almond Energy Balls”

 

Find the Minnesota State Fair’s complete Creative Activities Building winner list here. During the fair, visit the Creative Activities Building to view entries across all baking classes and categories. To get involved:

  • Sign up for Creative Activities Mailing list (Under Participant tab at MNSTATEFAIR.org)
  • Follow Blue Ribbon Foodies on Instagram or Facebook

 

Thank you to the brands that made this Minnesota blue ribbon contest line-up possible:

@splenda

@kowalskis_markets

@kingarthurbaking

@3cricketeers

@thesaladgirl

 

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Best Banana Cream Pie Recipe

This winning “Best Banana Cream Pie Recipe” is a banana lover’s dream come true. You use 5 bananas to make it, including an early step of making a “banana milk.” You use that banana milk to create a custard thickened with egg yolks and cornstarch.  This amps up the flavor, as does using both vanilla extract and vanilla bean seeds. Also, using both heavy whipping cream and whole milk gives the pie the richness it deserves.

Whipped Cream Topping

This creation is adapted from a best cream pie winning recipe at the Iowa State Fair. Jessica Denner won 3rd place for her banana cream pie back in 2015. She split her filling into multiple layers and used a different crust. I simplified the layering, reduced the chill times needed and swapped out the winner’s dough crust recipe for a graham cracker version.  I like the texture a cookie-like crust adds, especially when you crumble some crunchiness on top.

Closeup

Baking Tips

Save the smashed bananas used for making your “banana milk” and put them into smoothies, banana bread or muffins.

The winner’s tip of doing a quick lemon juice soak with the banana slices is genius.

Bananas

With that step, plus a quick rinse and a pat dry, your fruit will hold its bright color and avoid turning brown. Doing such a step, helps this “Best Banana Cream Pie Recipe” have a winning presentation.

Best Banana Cream Pie Recipe Overhead ShotThe filling resembles a thick pudding. It comes together easily. Be sure to cook the custard until it thickens. As a result, the pie will set up properly and not be runny. Avoid overcooking it as well. Hint: the filling should thickly coat the back of a spoon and stay separate if you run your finger down the center of the spoon.

You also want your whipped cream on top to be thick, almost firm. Whip it until moderately stiff peaks form and it can hold its shape. This is the consistence you want.

Moderately stiff peaksCrazy for Crust? If you prefer a dough crust instead of a graham cracker crust, use the winner’s butter-lard pie crust found here. Our tasters loved that version as well. Plus, we had fun with the whipped cream presentation.

Best Banana Cream Pie - Decorated

A Pie in the Sky: keep an eye out for even more cream pies as we’ve been testing and tasting loads of them. We’ll share more soon!

-Cyndi

 

Blue Ribbon Triple Berry Pie

This Blue Ribbon Triple Berry Pie features a flaky butter crust and first-rate filling of blueberries, raspberries and cranberries. The combination makes for a delicious taste that’s perfectly sweet, but not overly so. Cinnamon and nutmeg give the pie tasty nuances as well.

MN State Fair Blue Ribbon Triple Berry Pie

This award-winning recipe comes from Tim Scott, a long-time lover of pies and baking-at-home. He entered his first Minnesota State Fair baking competition in 2016. His pie won best multi-berry pie out of 60 pies. He also placed 2nd and 5th with two other pies, making 2021 his best year yet. His first ribbon was in 2017, a 3rd place for a peach pie.

Cranberries for the Win?!

Given many multi-berry pies have blueberries, raspberries and blackberries, the cranberries are what helped Tim’s pie stand out. The proportions he used translated to a fantastic flavor. The tartness from the cranberries paired perfectly with the sweetness of the blueberries and raspberries. Tim shared that using the very best seasonal fruit from local growers is key. Ripeness plays a factor as well.

Tim shared that another secret to winning is being organized, enough so that the timing of baking multiple pies works out and every aspect get the attention and time it deserves. Tim’s strategy is to always make 2 pies per competition entry. He picks the more perfect one to enter. The other often goes to (very happy) neighbors.

Attention to Detail

Fun fact: Tim uses butter for all his Minnesota State Fair Pie entries, but lard for something like the Braham Pie Day Contest.

His advice to aspiring pie bakers trying his recipe: “Cranberries have a lot of pectin, so how much thickening agent you use is tricky,” Tim shared. “Pay close attention to how much liquid is in the berries after simmering to get the right consistency.”

As far as advice to first time baking contestants: practice by entering other baking contests for experience. Also, have tasters who know what good pie is (or great cake or cookie, etc.) and will give you honest feedback.

Great tips! Now give Tim’s Blue Ribbon Triple Berry Pie recipe a try! If you don’t bake, find a friend who does and request they make this! Pie lover alert: be sure to also check out our other award-winning pies on our site, like this other 2021 apple pie winner.

-Cyndi

 

Blue Ribbon Beer Bread

Say hello to this award winning Blue Ribbon Beer Bread. The recipe features the pilsner Wonderstuff, from Bauhaus Brew Labs in Minneapolis, along with cheddar cheese, rosemary, and honey. A thick slice of this bread solo or with a swipe of butter is pure bliss. It’s tender but hearty, and has a beautiful golden brown exterior.

The recipe comes from Cortney Carlson who won “best beer bread” with it at the 2021 Minnesota State Fair.

Cortney Carlson

This was her first blue ribbon win ever! In fact, she had only competed one other time, in 2019 for a special sugar cookie competition. Cortney shared, “Nothing came of the submission, but it ignited my interest in competing.”

Her recipe is easy to follow and replicate. It also great starting point for variations. After tasting and loving Cortney’s Blue Ribbon Beer Bread, we tried a cheddar, chive, and jalapeño version. It was really good also.

Winner Q&A

We caught up with Cortney for a Q&A recently. Read on to learn about her backstory.

BRG: What can you tell us about your Blue Ribbon Beer Bread recipe and why you chose it?

Cortney: While you’d think most people just KNOW they are submitting their (insert favorite recipe here… sugar cookies, sourdough, etc.), I actually stumbled across mine. When the categories for baking categories were released, I scanned the list for something to jump out at me. I like to try new recipes, new areas of baking, new techniques… so I didn’t go into this with a plan or recipe.

Immediately beer bread jumped out at me. My experience with bread was virtually nonexistent, but all the breweries around town, especially coming from Northeast Minneapolis? Not so much a mystery to me (hehehe).

Knowing little about bread, I looked at dozens of different recipes. I looked for types of beer bread, what types of things people added to them, and then just dove in. I liked the idea of adding an herb…I tried different cheeses, different styles of beers, and went back to the drawing board the more I tried things (that’s a MN nice way of saying the first attempts were gross). Once I started researching the right things, things started clicking and here we are. I landed on the attached final recipe.

BRG: What do you think your secret to winning was?

Cortney: The only thing larger than the amount of foods on a stick at the Minnesota State Fair is the Minnesota pride that you can feel in the air the entire twelve days of the fair. My recipe included ingredients made or headquartered in Minnesota. From local beer, honey, and cheese, to Pillsbury flour and rosemary grown at home… every part of that bread was a nod to people (myself) who say “ope” several times a day.

BRG: What is the worst disaster you’ve had in the kitchen and how did you deal with it?

Cortney: I’ve experienced the most average disasters – burning things, undercooking things, messing up a recipe, missing key ingredients, etc. The thing I’ve learned about kitchen disasters is that while it’s so disappointing and frustrating that day, the greatest lessons I’ve learned in the kitchen have come from the time I did it wrong.

BRG: What advice would you give young people wanting to cook/bake more?

Cortney:  Learn your staple dinners/desserts/contributions to potlucks, but don’t stay there. Try new areas of cooking. You like pie but have never made one? Try it. And know that you may not knock it out of the park the first try, but the more you try the more you will learn and can apply to the next recipe.

Great advice Cortney! Now everyone, get ready, set, and bake this bread!

-Cyndi

p.s. If you’re into breads, be sure to bake this blueberry winning recipe and this whole wheat winner.

Blue Ribbon Blueberry Bread

This Blue Ribbon Blueberry Bread has a delightful streusel topping and in its batter: poppyseeds and lemon zest. The flavors are perfectly balanced, making every bite taste fantastic. It’s a tender, yet firm bread that bakes beautifully through the entire loaf (with no part under or over baked).

Blue Ribbon Blueberry Bread

Sheila Mullen won best quick bread at the 2021 Minnesota State Fair with this recipe. She won out of 49 entries. Wow!

Sheila Mullen

Sheila says: This is a family and friends favorite.  The original recipe came from a bed and breakfast our family stayed at in Iowa after my sister’s wedding.  It’s so popular that I freeze blueberries in the summer specially so I can bake up a fresh loaf all year long.  I’ve made a few changes to the recipe to make it easier to mix up.

Key Ingredients/Tools/Tips

Sheila uses a Danish whisk with this recipe.

Blue Ribbon Blueberry Bread

She thinks one of her secrets to winning was choosing small, equally sized blueberries and not overmixing the batter. The Danish whisk helps with this.

Blueberries for Blue Ribbon Blueberry Bread

The streusel is key, adding a richness with just a few ingredients.

Ingredients

You can make the batter in a variety of pans. Sheila favors 4 mini loaves.

For the fair though, she uses pan 7-inches x 3 1/2-inches in size. The bread bakes perfectly, making for perfect slices to enjoy.

Sliced Blue Ribbon Blueberry Bread

Add this to your best recipe pile and bake it soon!

And try more Minnesota winning recipes from our collection, like this one.

-Cyndi

 

State Fair Apple Raspberry Pie

This State Fair Apple Raspberry Pie is a show stopper. It won both “best creative apple pie” and “best overall pie” at the 2021 Minnesota State Fair. Carol Marsh is the star state fair baker here. Her pie is beautifully designed and absolutely delicious. The filling tastes fantastic and has a firm yet tender texture. Fresh raspberries add a splash of color. Their sweetness pairs perfectly with tart apples.

State Fair Apple Pie

Carol has been competing at the Minnesota State Fair since 2010 and baking since she a child. This year, 2021, was a big year, with her winning four blue ribbons. They were for a 2-layer chocolate cake, a raisin bread, a classic apple pie, and this creative apple pie, which won best overall pie also. This makes her a 6 time pie sweepstakes winner (best overall pie 6x since 2010). That brings her total to 36 Minnesota State Fair ribbons for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place wins.

Carol, like a lot of us, finds much joy in baking. She knows the ideal texture of pie dough and how to have a thick filling. As a result, she finds baking pies a breeze. She has it down to a science.

State Fair Apple Pie Baker

Carol has won multiple times at the Minnesota State Fair with this recipe and slight variations on it. Carol recently baked her pie for me and we brought you along to experience the journey of making a perfect pie. Seeing her in action was so much fun!

Carol’s Pie Baking Tips – Step by Step

Chill your bowl and all your pie crust dough ingredients (dry, wet and shortening).

Dough mixture (with chilled shortening already cut in) should resemble cornmeal.Cornmeal Looking Stage

Carol strains her egg/vinegar mixture into the crust’s dry ingredients.

Allow enough time to also chill the dough, for at least an hour. Check out the beautiful texture Carol gets. State Fair Apple Pie dough

For the filling, Carol prefers using a combo of Granny Smith, Braeburn, and Pink Lady apples.

Layer the apples, butter, and raspberries. You’ll get a colorful look that doesn’t “bleed” much or look messy.Layering State Fair Apple Pie

Let your artistic side out by cutting and etching the leaves for the top crust like Carol did.Pie Crust Leaves

Layer and distribute the leaves evenly, so the top crust will bake uniformly.Leaf decoration on State Fair Apple Pie

Brush with beaten egg white and sprinkle with sugar for some beautiful browning and sparkle.

The pie will be heaping with apples. While baking, the apples shrink, resulting in a full, lush-looking pie.Baked State Fair Apple Pie

The pie cuts beautifully and has a firm yet tender filling.State Fair Apple Pie

This State Fair Apple Raspberry Pie is a classic. Put it on your holiday baking list. And if you want another 2021 Minnesota State Fair winning pie, check out this blue ribbon winner also.

Enjoy!

-Cyndi

 

Cinnamon Cookie Butter Cookies

These Cinnamon Cookie Butter Cookies won best sandwich cookie and best overall cookie at the 2021 Minnesota State Fair. Their creamy filling, phenomenal flavor, and utter deliciousness will wow you with every bite.

Cinnamon Cookie Butter Cookies

A Winning History

Joan Kinsley

Joan Kinsley was the winning Minnesota State Fair baker. She adapted a Star Tribune Holiday Cookie Contest winning recipe that Annette Gustafson won with in 2020. Joan first entered the state fair baking competition in 2014, had a win, and was hooked on the annual tradition.

Joan’s version is a linzer look-alike with an opening on top so you see the inside filling inside, which is thick, creamy, rich, and absolutely divine.

Cinnamon Cookie Butter Cookies

We invite you to make them for the holidays and check out our step-by-step tips for reproducing these blue-ribbon-winning Cinnamon Cookie Butter Cookies. Did I mention that outstanding filling? =)

Special thanks to Joan fore re-baking her cookies for me. Same to the our friends at the Star Tribune for their recipe use permission and to Annette. We look forward to learning what more about this year’s Star Tribune Holiday Cookie Contest winners!

Secrets to Success

Joan estimates she made these cookies 5-6 times before entry drop-off at the fair. She spent hours tweaking ingredients and altering the thickness of the dough and the filling. She also adjusted baking times, temperature, and what kitchen tools she used. This seems to be a popular process among successful state fair blue ribbon baker, especially with recipes they’re new to. It pays off.

  • To achieve the “perfect bake” Joan keeps the dough chilled throughout the entire prep process: before rolling it out, afterward with the scraps she re-works, and even while the cut dough waits its turn in the oven.
  • Hint: Handle the dough as little as possible. It’s much easier to transfer and work with when chilled.
  • Joan prefers baking them on parchment that sits on a silpat baking mat with an air bake pan underneath.
  • You can opt to cut out the cookies an inch apart, directly on the parchment you’ll bake them on. This way the shapes stay fully intact because you’re not touching or moving them.
  • Joan uses an adjustable rolling pin (for an exact thickness) and a Linzer tart cookie cutter.
  • Joan also bakes her cookies 1 sheet at a time.

Step by Step

You make the cookies with flour, cinnamon, salt, butter, and brown sugar. Set out your butter ahead of time as you want it room temperature. Also, allow enough time to chill the dough at least 30 minutes.

Ingredients for Cinnamon Cookie Butter Cookies

When mixing the dough, it’s ready when the ingredients are just fully combined and clumps start to form. Like with pie dough, avoid over-mixing.

Prepped Dough

Pressing the dough out before chilling makes for an easier roll out. And seal it in plastic wrap. Ultimately you end up rolling it out between parchment layers.

Dough pressed out

Joan uses an adjustable rolling pin with rings to make the dough exactly 1/6th inch thick.

With the first portion of dough, you cut the cookie “bottoms.”

Cinnamon Cookie Butter Cookies

With the second portion of dough, you cut the cookie “tops” with the center cut out.

Wilton Linzer Cookie Cutter

Tip: cut out, then chill the unbaked cookies again and they will be easy to move with an offset spatula. Bake them an inch or more apart. Cinnamon Cookie Butter Cookies

You sprinkle all with a cinnamon/sugar mixture before baking, giving them some glitter and glam.

Cinnamon Cookie Butter Cookies

Then, simply keep a close eye on the oven. You want the bottoms to barely start to brown, which takes 12-14 minutes.

The filling features Biscoff cookie butter (available at most grocery stores in the peanut butter section), along with butter, and powdered sugar. I could eat this stuff by the spoonful.

Cinnamon Cookie Butter Cookies

Joan pipes hers on before spreading it even with an offset metal spatula.

Cinnamon Cookie Butter Cookies

All these tips and tricks were the secrets to her baking success.

The last thing you need to do is enjoy these better-than-anything blue ribbon cookies.

Happy baking!

-Cyndi

 

Coconut Curry Mango Cake

At the 2021 Minnesota State Fair baking competition, no one could have predicted how tasty this Coconut Curry Mango Cake was going to be, including me. With surprising ingredients and a colorful exterior, the cake stood out for its perfectly balanced flavors, rich taste, and tender yet firm texture.

Recipe credit goes to Maggie MacIntosh. She used a Cooks Illustrated coconut cake recipe as a starting point and began experimenting.

Creative Cake

Garam masala, turmeric, mango nectar, and mango crystals are among the unique ingredients Maggie features in this award winning cake. Between that creativity, how well she combined all the ingredient amounts, and how perfectly she baked the cakes, this Coconut Curry Mango Cake really stood out. Plus Maggie nailed it with the coconut aroma, in both the cake itself and the frosting. The mango filling was a colorful element that added yet another dimension to the cake. Well done!

Maggie won 1st place in our Blue Ribbon Best Coconut Cake Contest with this cake. She wins $100 in King Arthur Baking Company gift cards. Here’s a shot of Maggie and her daughter, celebrating her win and all the fun the fair has to offer. Congratulations Maggie!

Judging Criteria

If you’re curious about the winner selection process, here’s the judging criteria.

  1. Unique, innovative, creative recipe……………………………………………25%
  2. Appearance, color, presentation………………………………………………..25%
  3. Texture, internal appearance…………………………………………………….25%
  4. Flavor, aroma…………………………………………………………………………. 25%

Coconut Curry Mango Cake – Step by Step

Want to re-create the magic of Maggie’s coconut curry cake and its mango filling? We walk you through it with a detailed overview, including photos.

Here’s everything that goes into the batter, from the cake flour and spices, to butter, sugar, and eggs.

Batter ingredients

You starting with whipping the egg and egg whites before adding cream of coconut, water, and extracts.

Coconut Curry Mango Cake Egg Whites

Next, you mix the dry ingredients: cake flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, garam masala, and turmeric.

Batter mixing stage 2

Then you mix in the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, until mixture resembles coarse meal.

Batter mixing stage 3

Once you slowly combine everything together…Batter mixing…you divide the batter between your prepped 8-inch pans. It makes a nice thick batter. Spread it around.

Batter in pans

While those bake and cool, get your filling ingredients together. Whip that up.

Coconut Curry Mango CakeDo the same with your buttercream frosting.

Coconut Curry Mango Cake

Whip it good. It should form stiff peaks. Here’s a shot when it’s reaching perfection.

Buttercream Frosting Stage 2

Last, you slice each cake in half to get 4 equal layers, then assemble everything together. A great tip from Maggie was to pipe the frosting on the edge of each layer to help hold in the filling.

Filling layer

We didn’t get shots of this, but applying a crumb coat–thinly frosting top and sides of cake before fully frosting the cake–prevents a messy look.

Finishing Touches

To finish, sprinkle toasted coconut on top and press into sides of cake. This will give the cake a classic look, like this.

Or you can opt to dye the toasted coconut in one or more colors and decorate in circular patterns on top (as winner did).

These resemble the colors Maggie used: yellow, orange, and red.

Dyed Coconut flakes

And this is her stencil she used decorating the top of her cake.

Feel free to reach out to us direct if you want help re-creating the multi-color decor Maggie used. We have additional notes from our test runs and Maggie we can share.

If you love this cake’s concept but want a faster, easier version of the recipe, stay tuned. We are working on a sheet cake version of this magical Coconut Curry Mango Cake we will share later.

In the meantime though, this cake makes a fun fall baking experience. Fun fact: some of our tasters thought the curry/turmeric combo was a tastier, gingery pumpkin spice. Give it a try and see what you taste.

Enjoy!

-Cyndi