So you think you can bake?
Maria Kaufmann Fisher does, and she’s got the ribbons to prove it. Maria enters her cakes every year into the Kentucky State Fair and usually wins. WINS. This year her Cherry Almond Vanilla cake won best White Cake. (Continue reading to the end to get the recipe.)
Is Maria a professional pastry chef? No, she is a working mother with two kids. She started entering her cakes in the fair in 2000 and has always won some combination of ribbons. She won the “big” prize of Favorite Cake in 2005 and 2010.
Maria gives us some insights on how she got into competing and what it takes to be a winner.
What award did your cake win exactly?
How long have you been baking?
How did you get involved in submitting your cakes to the Kentucky State Fair?
What are the requirements/qualifications for submitting your cake?
You said you could have tweaked your cake to win the grand prize–what would that entail?
(Maria is a Louisville native who lives in Bowling Green) Do you have to drive your cake up to Louisville?
Who is the person to beat at the cake competition?
Are the judges different each year?
Are there trends in the cakes that you see?
Do you like to cook? Or just bake?
- 2 ¼ cups cake flour, sifted
- 1 cup whole milk, at room temperature
- 6 egg whites, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons almond extract
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 ¾ cups sugar
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- Cherry Filling
- 21 oz. can cherry pie filling
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons water
- 12 oz. cream cheese, softened
- 6 tablespoons butter, softened
- 4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare 9-inch cake pans by buttering, flouring and lining with parchment paper rounds.
- Pour milk, egg whites, almond and vanilla extracts into a glass bowl and mix with a fork until combined.
- Mix flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer at slow speed. Add butter and beat at slow speed until mixture forms moist crumbs, Add all but ½ cup of the milk mixture and beat at medium speed for 1 ½ minutes. Add remaining ½ cup of milk mixture and beat 30 seconds more. Scrape down sides of bowl and then beat for about 30 seconds more.
- Divide batter evenly among three cake pans. Bake 25 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean when inserted in the center.
- Let cakes rest for 10 minutes. Loosen from the side of the pan and and invert onto a wire rack and cool completely.
- To make cherry filling, cook cherry pie filling over medium heat in a saucepan until warm. Add one teaspoon almond extract and cook five minutes more, stirring carefully. Mix cornstarch and water in a small bowl and add just enough to thicken the cherries, stirring constantly so no clumps form. Remove from heat and cool.
- To make frosting, beat together cream cheese, butter and vanilla. Gradually add the powdered sugar, mixing until all is incorporated.
- To assemble, top one layer of cake with a thin layer of frosting. Then spoon a layer of cherries on top. Top with next layer of cake and repeat the process until assembled. Frost top and sides of cake.
A big thanks to Maria for sharing her insights and her recipe with StyleBlueprint. This should inspire all of us to get baking!