Tag: San Diego County Fair

Double Chocolate Bacon Cake

For all the bacon lovers out there, this Double Chocolate Bacon Cake is for you. It is an easy cake to make that’s indulgent and ridiculously delicious. The batter is made chocolatey with cocoa powder, while the use of coconut oil and Greek yoghurt in place of butter gives the cake a texture that is tender, dense, and rich, all at the same time. It reminds me of pound cake, but without the butter. The frosting is just two ingredients: chocolate chips and heated whipping cream that you whip fast into fluffiness.

Easy Bake Cake

To make this Double Chocolate Bacon Cake, you first bake brown-sugar -coated-bacon to a crisp in the oven. You crumble the bacon and mix it into a thick luscious batter. You end up also putting bacon crumbles on top as a finishing step. You can whip up the batter in minutes, then split it among three 9-inch round layer cake pans, which bake in about 20 minutes. It is a deceivingly simple recipe.

This is also the recipe that confirmed I should keep oven-baking my bacon instead of frying it on the stovetop. The technique of folded aluminum foil “tented” underneath works great. The bacon comes out firm and crisp—just as it should—without losing any flavor.

This cake’s taste and texture make it a show-stopper. It is also a conversation starter. I’m guessing people will either love it or leave it be. Admittedly, this cake won’t be everyone’s cup of tea but if you’re curious, give it a try. It’s a delight! All my taste testers where ecstatic about it. With a creamy and intensely chocolate frosting, along with bacon bits on top, one look at this cake had everyone drooling. This is seriously one of the best cakes I have ever tasted. It’s up there with the chocolate/coconut cake we also previously baked/shared. And for those out there who don’t eat meat, this cake tastes great even without the bacon.

Double Chocolate Bacon Cake-Overhead


I can still remember the first time I had chocolate-dipped bacon. It was of course at my local fair, the Minnesota State Fair, where many fantastic food trends are always on display. Between that tasty treat—which was on a stick of course–and the “Showgirl” menu item menu at Glam Doll Donuts (in Minneapolis), I knew I would like this cake also. I didn’t expect to love it! Yay!

Acknowledgement goes to Kevin Clower for this recipe. His “Miss Piggy’s Surprise Chocolate Cake” which won at the San Diego County Fair 10 years ago (2011), was what inspired my Double Chocolate Bacon Cake. Kevin placed 2nd in a King Arthur Flour cake contest with his creative cake. The main change I made from Kevin’s recipe: I used coconut oil versus butter and added Greek yoghurt. I also changed up some methods and directions.

I hope you make this cake! It’s a winner!



Bali Hai Tropical Pie

Bali Hai Tropical Pie is a show-stopping, mic-dropping, tropical-themed award-winning best pie recipe you don’t want to miss.

Shredded coconut, fresh mango, fresh lime, cream cheese, and Malibou coconut rum are just a few of the ingredients comprising this marvelous masterpiece. It features a prominent citrusy creaminess, thanks to the heavy whipping cream you combine with cream cheese. You’ll be tempted to eat this mixture/filling by the spoonful. Macadamia nuts give it a nice texture contrast on top.

Recipe Inspiration

Recipe credit goes to Peggy Linberg. The Californian won first place with it at the San Diego County Fair (2014). Peggy’s Bali Hai Tropical Pie was inspired by her favorite musical, South Pacific. With a strong love of passionfruit, she made her pie a combination of the fruit she grew up with in Hawaii and other favorite Polynesian flavors. From the coconut in the pie crust, to the mango, rum and lime flavors infused into its layers, everything about this pie was a hit with the judges. Peggy wanted to transport herself to Hawaii when making and tasting it. Mission accomplished! We were too!

Extra Effort, Ingredients for the Win

Heads up: This pie isn’t for a first time pie baker. It is one of the more involved recipes we’ve tested, but after tasting it, you’ll be convinced…totally worth the extra effort and ingredients! Plan for several hours, start to finish, mainly because of the chill time once you’re done.

Special Recipe Tips & Tricks

  • For the tropical fruit juice concentrate, Peggy, used an orange peach, mango combination. We used a variation on that. Choose your favorite.
  • Peggy’s preferred whipped topping mix is Rich’s Bettercreme. It gives the top decoration more stability, i.e. holds up well while moved or carried.

More like this

If you like unique and creative recipes like this pie, check out these other original recipes:


Potato Chip Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies

These melt-in-your-mouth Potato Chip Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies are an award winning cookie. They won first place, top honors indeed, at the San Diego County Fair. With some potato chips and a few pantry staples, you can easily recreate these at home. They’ll taste like something off a high-end patisserie menu.

Recipe credit and blue ribbon bragging rights go to Alberta Dunbar of San Diego. She won the 2014 Gold Medal Flour Cookie Contest for this crazy good cookie creation. There are some home bakers out there who bake year-round and practically non-stop. Alberta is one of them. I dare say she is legendary. She has more award ribbons than she can count. This recipe for Potato Chip Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies is a blue ribbon winner and will wow anyone who tries them. Get making these! You won’t regret it.

And if you are looking for more amazing sandwich cookies, check these s’more themed ones out, or simply search for sandwich cookies in the search field.



Homemade Sea Salt Caramels

Homemade Sea Salt Caramels.  These little sweet treats make terrific little gifts for friends and family. The creation was a blue ribbon winner at the San Diego County Fair back in 2013. They are a go-to recipe for any candy lover. Recipe credit goes to Nancy Flint. My niece Crystal made them and I am seriously drooling. The recipe is short and sweet and she put together a terrific “how to” so you can experience them yourself.  Thanks to Karo Corn Syrup for supporting this recipe contest for the best bite-size sweet treats. Enjoy!


Sea Salt Caramels closeup

Homemade Candy Made Easy

I now have a new favorite sweets recipe. These homemade sea salt caramels are so buttery they melt in your mouth. I was a little nervous at first about making them because I had never made any kind of candy. I was surprised at how easy this was. Be prepared with some patience–when waiting for the caramel to reach the right temperature–and then letting it cool. That said, they are totally worth the wait!

Homemade Sea Salt Caramels plated in bowl

I like to get everything organized first, so all my key ingredients are at hand…

sugar, cream, corn syrup, butter

First, prep your pan (with oil/parchment) and cube your butter (3/4 cup).

Put 2 cups heavy cream, 1 cup Karo corn syrup, 2 cups sugar and the butter in a large pot.

mixing corn syrup, heavy cream, butter, sugar

Bring to a boil over high heat and stir to melt the butter. This should take about 10 minutes.

bubbling caramel

Reduce the heat to medium-high, stir often, and boil until temperature on candy thermometer reaches 248 degrees. This will take about 20-30 minutes. Remove pot from heat and stir in 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and 1 teaspoon sea salt.

Immediately pour into your prepared pan (great tip from the winner…don’t scrape the pot..it will prevent a smooth finish to the candy and be problematic in other ways).

Pouring caramel

Wait 5 minutes and then sprinkle the top of the caramel with the remaining 1-2 teaspoons sea salt. It’s important to wait the full 5 minutes, otherwise the sea salt will sink into the caramel.

Let the caramel stand at room temperature for 24 hours. Cut into 1-inch pieces.

cutting caramel candies

If you like a softer chew, keep your caramels at room temperature. I like mine a bit chewier, so I individually wrapped them and stored them in the fridge. Next time I will boil the caramel a tish warmer to try a firmer finish…just for fun. These were gone in no time, so I am looking forward to the next round already!