Two years ago, friends and I launched a Cake Off competition. The Cake Off was a follow on event to the First Annual Pie Off which had occurred at Thanksgiving and was a delightful success, despite the fact I made a cheesecake and was ruled out of the competition. It turns out that my friends are 1) extremely competitive, 2) sticklers for rules and 3) very threatened by cheesecake. (Interestingly, cheesecake was also ruled out of the Cake Off which begs the question of where cheesecake belongs in this world.)
The inaugural Cake Off was held a few months later in March of 2015 and featured 5 cakes: an opera cake, two lemon blueberry cakes, a gingerbread budnt cake and a gingerbread salted whiskey caramel cake. We do not officially reveal our cakes until the night of the event, so it was quite surprising to see such an overlap in cake flavors and styles…and not a single chocolate entry.
One of my great joys in life comes from having friends who are great cooks and enjoy food and the ceremonies around food as much as I do. Which is also to say that this bake off presented some serious competition. Deciding among 5 wonderful cakes is not easy. Especially when the cake to taster ratio is 5:7.
At stake, beyond bragging rights for years to come, was a mystery perpetual trophy that I had purchased at the local Goodwill store. I had also secured the Pie Off trophy at the Goodwill, a beautiful amber glass sculpture of a horse rearing. The Pie Stallion, as we have come to refer to the now coveted trophy, would be hard to top so the pressure was on me to find just the right symbol of victory for the Cake Off.
I am happy to report that I won the first annual Cake Off with the gingerbread salted whiskey caramel cake. And was the very first ever recipient of the Cake Cock!
Two weeks ago I had to turn over the Cake Cock title and rights to my friend Claudia, a new entrant to the competition who swept year two with her strawberry cake. This was a devastating loss. I had spent almost a month researching, testing and obsessing over cakes. Ultimately I settled on one of the prettiest and tastiest cakes I have ever eaten, let alone baked, a bee sting cake.
It turned out perfect. And tasted delicious. And didn’t even come in among the top three. And if that isn’t bad enough, it was later revealed that the winning strawberry cake was made from a box mix and jello packet.
I am not going to let this year’s defeat hold me back. No, this loss will only make me stronger. My plan is to bake one cake a week for now until the Third Annual Cake Off.
Practice may not make me perfect but it will make me 52 more cakes!
Stay tuned on my journey, one cake at a time.