Let them eat cake|JDCC contest judges best cakes

Published 7:03 am Wednesday, March 4, 2009

By Staff
I had always had a dream of judging any kind of cooking contest. Imagine getting to eat and taste beautiful foods prepared by people who love to cook. It was certainly a fantasy I had often entertained.
My dream job landed in my lap last week as I was honored to be asked to judge the ‘Best Cake in Town’ contest at Jefferson Davis Community College.
Maurice Moore, co-sponsor of the Relay for Life Team fundraiser at the college, offered me an opportunity I simply couldn’t resist.
As I recall, the same fundraising contest was held at the college two years ago and involved 24 cakes. When I realized there would be two dozen chances for me to eat cake, I really got excited.
Much to my surprise, this year’s competition involved 33 cakes. My mouth watered and as the judges sat in a secluded room waiting for the chute to open, I mean the bell to ring; a fellow judge’s mouth was watering as well.
I couldn’t have agreed more. With the thought of 33 cakes just waiting for me to taste and enjoy was almost more than I could stand.
I will let you in on a little lesson that I learned from last week’s judgingduties: When judging any kind of contest that requires the consumption of food, take very small bites. Even with very small bites, 33 bites of cake is a lot of cake. Combine that with the fact that there were flavors from pina colada, butternut, chocolate and pound cake, there is a lot of variety churning around in a judge’s tummy.
Every cake that I tasted was good. However, the job of a judge is to pick the best based on the criteria set up by the contest rules. We judged on presentation, originality, taste and best overall.
Blind judging didn’t allow us to know the name of the person who prepared the cake prior to the competition. It wouldn’t have mattered if they had printed the name of the contestant right on the judging sheets, I was too overwhelmed with the scents of chocolate, coconut and vanilla to have cared who made what.
I will say, there was a handful of cakes that stood out as the most beautifully decorated cakes I’ve seen in some time. There were two particular cakes that simply took my breath away because of the
presentation. The time required by those cooks to make those cakes appear as if they were ready for magazine photographers was astonishing.
My hats are off to all of those who competed, and contributed, to the fundraising efforts for the Relay for Life team of Jefferson Davis Community College.
Kudos to event sponsors Sharon Peacock and Maurice Moore — you did an excellent job!
Contest results
Best cake in town
Grandma’s Peanut Butter Cake, by baker Chelsey Hess
Best texture
Grandma’s Peanut Butter Cake, by baker Chelsey Hess
Best taste
Grandma’s Peanut Butter Cake, by baker Chelsey Hess
Most original
Strawberry lotus cake, by baker Nikki Hatten
Best presentation
Strawberry lotus cake, by baker Nikki Hatten
People’s choice award
Three-layer pina colada cake by baker Sharon Peacock
The People’s Choice Award was voted on by patrons of the fundraiser who sampled the cakes. The People’s Choice Award is considered the second-place cake, Moore said.