My hands were shaking as I carried my basket full of homemade goodies thru the door of the county fair exhibitors office. I set the basket on the table and with the biggest smile on my face that I ever felt, I announced to one of the fair organizers sitting at the table, that i had arrived and was here to enter my items.
She met me with a lot less enthusiasm than I had, in a somewhat dull non discript tone, she said ” Name?, number?”.
I quickly provided my check in sheet,, which had been filled out and was placed on my fridge weeks ago, being held up by my lucky, sturdy magnet, that I found in a junk drawer along the way.
The organizer glanced at my items, eyeing them with absolutely no emotion what so ever, she looked at me , handed my my items tickets and said ” Next!!”.
This was my very first experience entering in the county fair, it was perhaps one of the most exciting events I had participated in to date. There were masses of exhibitors going in all directions as they carried their prize entries to each booth for placement. Some almost crashed in to each other and dropped their boxes while others, the pros at all this, very quickly glided thru the throng of people as if they were the only ones in the building.
Did I mention this all takes place in the middle of summer, in the middle of the hottest part of the hottest days in summer, well let me tell you, this was a very sweaty crowd, as we all bunched into the baking department for our place on the shelf.
My beloved canning goods were placed on the shelf, as well as the cookies, and rolls I had brought.
As I finally pulled the Lemon Blueberry Crumble cake out of my box, I was filled with such joy, and pride, that here I was entering one of my best bakes ever to compete in the county fair, alongside some very wise county fair ladies who had been at this since they could walk.
I took my seat at the back of the room, to await the judging of the products. If you have never sat thru a food judging, let me tell you, the first 5 jars of this and that are interesting, after that the process is arduous as the voices turn into a droning as the judges go on and on.
Suddenly my heart began to pound as I looked up and realized the item the judge was holding was mine!
My Lemon Blueberry Crumble Cake was being eyed from every angle held up in the air, like a newborn baby.
Once it was placed on the table, the meticulous unwrapping started, which led to another eyeing of it top crumble layer to the sides and ends, poking and prodding along the way.
The judge began the description in detail of the good, bad and ugly that she saw as she slowly, slid her knife into the cake, cutting effortlessly downward, once she reached the bottom of the cake, she once again slowly pulled her knife out and pushed the slice over along the way. I couldn’t take it anymore, I was so anxious for her to take a bite.
When she finally took the bite, I almost melted to the floor, although her face was as blank as a stone, I could sense she was enjoying the taste of textures she was experiencing. The judge nodded, and wrapped the cake back up , handed it to her assistant where she pointed to a shelf with two other cakes on it.
As this was my first experience I had no idea what was going on, I was so confused, why was my cake separated from the others.
Well come to find out, my cake was on the top three table, after what felt like days of judging , the final entries were than judged into 1st, 2nd and 3rd place. The anticipation was killing me!
I made sat there , my eyes not blinking, as she went into 3rd place, 2nd place and finally ” Ladies and gentleman we have a winner in the quick breads division, the Lemon Blueberry Cake made by Nancy, our 1st place winner”.
Yup you heard me, I went home that day with a blue ribbon for the 1st place at the county fair.!
Lemon Blueberry Crumble Cake
For the Cake Batter
For the Crumbs
For the Glaze
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan. In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar, oil, lemon zest, and juice until thoroughly combined. In another bowl beat together the buttermilk and eggs. In a third bowl, whisk together salt, baking powder, poppy seeds, and 2 1/2 cups flour. With the mixer on low speed, add dry ingredients to the sugar mixture in three additions, alternating with the buttermilk mixture and scraping the bowl as needed.
Toss the blueberries with the 2 Tablespoons of flour then gently fold them into the batter. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. To make the crumbs, combine the flour, sugar, and melted butter in a measuring cup until fine crumbs form. Spread the crumbs on top of the batter. Bake for 50-65 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the bread comes out clean.
Remove the bread from the oven and place it on a rack to cool for at least 10 minutes. To release, run a knife around the edge of the bread pan and turn it over onto a piece of parchment paper. A few of the crumbs may fall off.
Make the glaze--in a measuring cup, whisk together the powdered sugar, lemon juice, and milk until the consistency is smooth and pourable (add more milk if needed). Pour the glaze over the cake serve or allow to dry cover with saran wrap.