Winning 4-H recipes take the cake at fair


ich, delicious cakes were the stars at the Ellis County Fair. This week, I will showcase two decadent layer cakes that tempted the tastebuds of judges in the 4-H Foods Division. I hope you enjoy these prizewinning recipes.

Dylan Warner of the Gemini Juniors 4-H Club exhibited this cake, named the junior division 4-H Foods champion at the fair.

German sweet

chocolate cake

(with chocolate ganache and coconut-pecan-cajeta filling)


1 package German sweet chocolate

1/2 cup water

4 eggs, separated

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup butter

2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup buttermilk

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cover the bottom of three 9-inch round cake pans with waxed paper. Spray the sides with cooking spray. Microwave chocolate and water in a large bowl on high for two minutes or until the chocolate is almost melted. Stir after one minute. After two minutes, stir until the chocolate is completely melted. Set chocolate aside. Beat egg whites in a small bowl with the mixer on high until stiff peaks form. Set egg whites aside. Combine flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar together with a mixer until light and fluffy. Add egg yolks one at a time. Beat well after each. Blend in melted chocolate and vanilla. Add flour mixture alternately with buttermilk. Beat after each addition. Add egg whites, fold in gently. Pour into prepared pans. Bake 30 minutes until toothpick comes clean. Immediately run a knife around the pan. Cool cake for 15 minutes. Remove from pans onto wire racks. Cool completely before frosting.

Cajeta filling/frosting

2 cups whole milk

13/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk

1 cup goat's milk

3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar

1/4 cup water

2 tablespoons light corn syrup

2 tablespoons very cold unsalted butter cut into small pieces

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt

11/4 cups toasted coarsely chopped pecans

11/4 cups sweetened coconut

Bring milk, coconut milk and goat's milk to a simmer over low heat in a small saucepan. Keep warm while you prepare the caramel. Combine the sugar and water in a medium saucepan over high heat and cook (do not stir) until it becomes a deep amber brown color. Slowly whisk in the warm milk mixture and continue whisking until smooth, add the corn syrup. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until the sauce is reduced by half to the consistency of a caramel sauce, approximately 55 minutes. Once the sauce is reduced, remove from the heat and whisk in the cold butter, vanilla extract and salt. Whisk until combined. Transfer the sauce to a medium bowl and stir in the pecans and coconut. Let the mixture cool to room temperature before spreading between the cake layers.

Chocolate ganache

8 ounces heavy cream

8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

2 tablespoons light corn syrup

Bring cream to a simmer in a small saucepan over low heat. Put chocolate in a medium bowl, add the hot cream and corn syrup, let sit 30 seconds. Gently whisk until smooth. Let sit at room temperature for 10 minutes before pouring over the cake.

Coconut whipped cream

11/2 cups cold heavy cream

1/4 cup coconut milk

2 tablespoons powdered sugar

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup lightly toasted coconut

Combine heavy cream, coconut milk, sugar and vanilla in a stand mixer until soft peaks form. Top each serving of cake with a dollop of whipped cream and garnish with toasted coconut.

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This delicious cake was named senior division reserve champion, exhibited by Sarah Kuhn of the Victoria Vikings 4-H Club.

Pumpkin torte


2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 cup sugar

3 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

1/2 cup milk

8 ounces canned pumpkin-about 1 cup (save remainder of 15-ounce can of pumpkin for frosting)

11/3 cups vegetable oil

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Whisk flour, baking powder and salt. In a mixing bowl, combine butter, sugar eggs, vanilla, milk, pumpkin and oil. Cream well. Add flour mixture and spice and beat until batter is smooth. Pour into two greased and floured 9-inch round cake pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or until cake is done.


8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

1 cup powdered sugar

7 ounces canned pumpkin (remainder of can of pumpkin -- about 1 cup)

1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1 carton frozen whipped topping, thawed


1/4 cup caramel topping

1/3 cup chopped pecans

Beat cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add powdered sugar, pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice. Beat until smooth. Fold in whipped topping. Cut cake layers in half horizontally. Spread frosting mixture between layers and assemble. Frost top and sides of cake. Drizzle caramel over cake and sprinkle top with pecans. Refrigerate before serving. Makes 12 servings.

Linda Beech is a Kansas State University Research & Extension agent in Ellis County specializing in family and consumer sciences.