Tag: Kowalski’s Markets

Best Citrus Cake Contest Winner

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 half 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 made 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!

p.s. If you want another Kowalski’s contest winner, we will point you back to this unforgettable chocolate cake 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!