Blue Ribbon Baking- My Royal Show Baking

If you’ve been living under a rock this week in Adelaide the Royal Adelaide Show was been on. For those of you outside Australia it’s similar to a State Fair. About 500 000 people attend the show. There’s rides, show bags, animals, wood chopping, fireworks food, wine, a cornucopia of stalls selling stuff and an incredible variety of competition categories form including cookery.

Last year we had a look at the baking entries and I thought I reckon I could give that a go, so this year I did. for most of the open cookery there is no qualify you just fill out your entry form and pay your entry fee and turn up on allocated day with your baked goodies.

Instead of starting small and entering 1 category I thought I’d tempt a baking induced nervous breakdown and enter 3 categories. Chocolate cake, carrot cake and Anzac biscuits. I bake really good version of these (see my Anzac Biscuits post) so thought I’d give it go.

In the months leading up to it I was intent on baking these things often to get a consistent result. I didn’t bake them as much as I really should have but people I’d still have to suffer through multiple tastings of these baked goodies. My husband at present can’t really face another Anzac biscuit.

So I had the day off work the day before I had to enter my goods. I imagined the day being spent listening to some tunes while I got my bake on. In fact it started with a dog chicken disaster and a sick child at home. None the less behind schedule I started baking. My first carrot cake was good as was my first batch of Anzac biscuits. The chocolate cake however was a complete and utter failure. It fell apart as I was getting it out of the cake tin. I also wasn’t happy with how high it had risen. So back to the drawing board I used another recipe with some modifications. it rose well, but then it too fell apart coming out of the tin. I drunk what seems a bazillion cups of tea and lunch had been cake batter so I was feeling all nervous and jittery on a caffeine/sugar high and getting panicked by the chocolate cake. So I baked another batch of Anzac biscuits which again worked well, then gave the chocolate cake a third time lucky go. Hallelujah it worked. I hadn’t put walnuts in my first carrot cake so thought I might make another with walnuts. By this time it was 9pm and I was all baked out. I put the walnuts in the cake, but forgot the bi carb/orange juice mixture. I realised this after I’d just popped the cake in the oven so pulled it out and stirred it through. But when I go the cake out of the tin it looked 2 toned as I hadn’t stirred it through thoroughly. But I had my first carrot cake so all good. I then iced the carrot cake and chocolate cake without incident (a miracle given it was near 11pm)

So after 12 hours baking and an insane amount of eggs, flour, butter and sugar later I was all done .

I lined up with everyone else to drop off their baked goods the next day. Which was itself fascinating seeing all the people with all their cooked goods, as well as seeing frantic last minute preparations for setting up the show

Well how’d I go? No ribbons for me as you can see in the picks below my entries were different form the winning entries. But I’m ok with that. I’m more impressed that I did it.

My Anzac biscuits

The winning Anzac biscuits (noticeably smaller)

My chocolate cake

The winning chocolate cake

My carrot cake

Th wining one (clearly the cute little carrots on the icing were a winner)

Would I enter again, sure, next year I’m aiming to enter the Anzac biscuits because mine were pretty damn good, just bigger than the ribbon winners, the rock cakes and lamingtons (see my blog post for my amazing lamingtons).

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Anzac Biscuits

On Anzac day I attend our local dawn service. I’ve been to the one in the city and its moving, but I prefer the local one. It closer and obviously easier to get to and has a community feel. But mainly I prefer it because it’s on the beach front and is hauntingly beautiful with the waves breaking and the seagull’s cries as dawn’s first light casts its glow over the service.

I go to the dawn service to pay special respects to my grandfather who fought at Gallipoli, my father who fought in WW2 , My uncles Dan and Dermot who also fought in WW2 and my Uncle William (Bill) who made the ultimate sacrifice at Kokoda.

My children are still young so when I talk to them about Anzac day I talk about how it’s a day for us to commemorate those soldiers who have served our country when asked. I am also pleased to see the kids also learn about it in school.

I also make Anzac biscuits. These are one of the easiest biscuits to make and of course they are delicious in an oaty golden syrupy kind of way. Some people put fruit or nuts in them but I think they are pretty good plain.

At the moment I’m tweaking my recipe as I want it to be perfect as I intend to enter my Anzac biscuits in the Royal Adelaide show (the blue ribbon shall be mine). I’ve used brown sugar here but have successfully used normal sugar as well (same quantities). I also used plain flour but have successfully used self raising flour (again same quantities).

Let’s make Anzac Biscuits

We’ve got sugar action

oats

flour

desiccated coconut

butter and golden syrup

bi carb foamy action

Anzac Biscuits

1 cup brown sugar (or white sugar)

1 cup plain flour (or SR flour)

1 cup rolled oats

1 cup desiccated coconut

125 butter

2 tablespoons golden syrup

½ tsp bicarbonate of soda (bi carb)

2 tablespoons boiling water

Preheat oven to 160 C

Combine dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.

Combine butter and golden syrup in small saucepan, stir low heat until melted. Add boiling water, then add bi carb, stir. it will foam up at this stage which is good

Stir the foamy mixture into the dry ingredients. Take teaspoonful’s of mixture and place on lightly greased oven trays and press down slightly.

Pop in oven for about 20 minutes (or lightly brown). Cool on tray for a few minutes before transferring to cooling rack.