When I heard about the baking and canning contest for the Fruita Fall Fest this past weekend, I did some deep thinking about what I wanted to attempt to bake, so I came up with the French-style Apple Rhubarb cake for this challenge
You see I wanted to bake a cake that would really stand out and stand-alone, and not be a standard cake, full of chocolate and frosting.
With the theme of the baking contest being “Fall Festival” I began to think about everything fall, you know pumpkins, squash, rhubarb, and apples. pears, and fresh herbs, you get the idea of the theme. Staying in that description was very important to me, to take as much of the fall produce, I had available and pack it into one cake.
I traveled thru my garden and found most of what I needed to get this cake going, I had the rhubarb and fresh herbs, and in the kitchen, I had 4 apples. the pecans, butter, and fresh flowers I had just purchased from the farmer’s market.
One of my best habits is prior to baking I lay out everything I need on my kitchen island, including all the bowls, measuring spoons, and ingredients, this way I know I won’t be running to the store in the middle of this process.
Thankfully I had everything on hand to make this cake, the flour, sugar, vanilla, eggs, and baking powder. I tend to also have a not-so-great habit of thinking of baking something and just doing it all in the moment of the thought. This has taught me to always have all the baking supplies you can think of on hand in my pantry at all times.
When I folded the rhubarb into the batter, I became very excited as the cake was really coming together and I was getting closer to the final product.
You will want to gently hand fold in the ingredients using a wooden spatula to keep the cake from being over worked, nobody likes tired cake batter.
The cake preparation and baking was very easy, the dough had a perfect rise to it, with a rich buttery vanilla flavor, I was very pleased with how it turned out.
As soon as the French style Apple Rhubarb cake came out of the oven I sprinkled a bit more white sugar on top to add some more sweetness and sparkle.
Once the cake cooled, I gently put it into a large Ziploc bag, put the bag into the box, packed the box with all the decorations I would need, and put the box into the car, off to the festival I traveled.
On the morning of the baking contest as I was decorating the cake and getting it ready. I found myself giving the French-style Apple and Rhubarb cake positive words and encouragement for the competition.
As I gently put the cake on the table for the contest staff to transfer back to the “official display table”, I had a moment of melancholy that I would never see my cake whole again, and this was it, all the work was now done and only the judges knew my fate.
The announcement was at 4 pm from the festival grandstand, for all the winners of the baking and canning contest. I was in the crowd, doing time, waiting to be done standing there so I could go back to being part of the festival. I think I was looking at the ground counting the blades of grass when I heard,” and the Best in Show goes to!- ME! I think I almost fell forward because I was startled by this announcement!
The cake and I had a wonderful journey together, we were both winners!
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease a 9-inch round pan. Beat 1 1/4 cups sugar and butter together using an electric mixer until well blended, light, and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, followed by vanilla extract, mixing well after each addition.
Individual oven baking times can vary, remember to check your cake with a toothpick for firmness and doneness after the recommended baking time of 35 mins at 400 degrees.
You may substitute almonds for pecans to lay on top.