By Kevin Williams
As a young reporter with my local paper I spent a week each summer at the Butler County Fair in Ohio. I trudged through goat barns and rabbit barns and watched fair queens and kings get crowned. I really developed a deep appreciation for 4-H and the "fair ethos" that get instilled in everyone. Just a fun, fun time. It's been years since I've been to a county fair. But it's nice to know some things don't change, one of them, my friend Carmon Hacker's annual prize-winning entries at the fair. Now, she has taken home plenty of ribbons in the past, but this is the first time her applesauce cake has taken the Best in Show category. Man, I really need to stop by her house with a knife and fork and try to beg for a sample. There is some stiff competition at these county fair bake-offs so to take home Best of Show this must be some amazing applesauce cake.
But before we get to the applesauce cake here are some scenes from the fair yesterday, I didn't go, but Rachel and the girls did.
And now we get to Carmon's prize-winning applesauce that is so good it was featured on an episode of the Food Network's Flip My Food with Chef Jeff in 2016
Feast your eyes on this Best of Show beauty!
Here is the recipe, and thanks to Carmon for sharing it with us!
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon each baking powder, baking soda and salt
- ¾ tsp. cinnamon
- 2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup butter-flavored Crisco
- 1 cup each applesauce and buttermilk
- ½ cup each chopped walnuts and raisins
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Grease and flour 3 8-inch cake pans.
- Measure all ingredients except walnuts and raisins into large mixing bowl.
- Combine on low speed for 1 minute.
- Beat at medium speed for 3 minutes, being sure to scrape sides of bowl as you mix.
- Fold in walnuts and raisins.
- Distribute as evenly as possible in 3 prepared cake pans.
- Bake first two layers together, for about 25 minutes, just until center springs back when touched lightly with finger.
- Then bake third layer by itself.
- After 10 minutes, remove layers from pan and allow to cool on plate with potholder underneath.
- When completely cool, frost in between and on top of cake, using cream cheese frosting recipe below.
- Place halves or pieces of walnuts along edge of cake to form a circle.
- For the center, you can make an A with raisins if desired.
- This is a moist, delicious cake and the raisins really do enhance its flavor.
- If you have leftovers after 2 days, I recommend refrigerating it, where it will last well for at least a week.
CARMON'S CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
Cream Cheese Frosting
8-ounce brick of cream cheese, softened
½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla
¼ teaspoon salt
4-5 cups confectioner’s sugar
Combine cream cheese and butter in mixing bowl, along with vanilla and salt. Mix on low for about 2-3 minutes, until thoroughly combined. Add confectioner’s sugar ½ cup at a time, beating well after each addition and continuing to mix on low. When icing is a thick, creamy consistency, go ahead and spread it on cake. I have found that the icing maintains a better consistency when you do not add milk to it.