Light and lofty angel food cakes were on display over the weekend at the Pennsylvania Farm Show.
This year, Shelia Suhan, of Fayette County, won first place in the Incredible Angel Food Cake Contest Jan. 8 with her Angel Food Cake with Salted Caramel Pecan Frosting. She competed against about 60 other entrants.
Baking contests are one of the hallmarks of the Farm Show, which runs through Jan. 14 at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex & Expo Center in Harrisburg. Along with angel food cakes, judges scrutinize apple pies and chocolate cakes.
Contestants compete at county and community fairs to become eligible to compete on the statewide level at the Farm Show.
Here’s the winning recipe:
Angel Food Cake with Salted Caramel Pecan Frosting
1 cup cake flour
1 ½ cups granulated sugar plus 2 tablespoons
1 ½ cups Pa. Preferred egg whites (about 12 eggs)
1 ½ teaspoon cream of tarter
¼ teaspoon salt
1 ½ teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place sugar in food processor and process until fine. Remove ¾ cup sugar and set aside.
Add flour and pulse a few times. In a large mixing bowl, beat egg whites until foamy. Add salt and cream of tartar until frothy. Beat in sugar 2 tablespoons at a time and continue beating on high speed until meringue holds stiff peaks. Beat in vanilla.
Sprinkle in flour sugar mixture ¼ at a time, folding in until no flour mixture is no longer visible.
Push batter into a 10 x4 inch un-greased angel food cake pan, spreading evenly. Run a knife through batter to remove air bubbles.
Bake on lowest rack of oven 35 to 45 min. until top springs back when touched and any cracks appear dry. Invert upside down on a plate until completely cooled. Run knife around edges of cake to remove from pan. Invert cake on plate to frost.
Salted Caramel Frosting with Pecans:
1½ cups whole pecans
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 ¼ teaspoons sea or flaked salt
¾ cup soft butter
1 cup soft cream cheese
¼ cup flour
1 cup caramel sauce
5-6 cups confectioners’ sugar
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup heavy cream
Melt butter in a heavy 1 quart saucepan over medium heat. Stir in sugar and heat until dissolved. Stir and continue cooking until sugar is an amber color, about 6-8 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in heavy cream and ½ tsp salt until all is combined. Return to heat and continue cooking another 2 minutes. Cool to room temperature.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Toss pecans with vegetable oil and ½ teaspoon salt. Spread evenly on parchment paper or foil lined baking sheet. Bake 5-7 minutes until just roasted. Cool to room temperature.
To make frosting:
Place butter and cream cheese in a large mixing bowl and beat until combined. Beat in flour and ¼ tsp salt. Slowly beat in ½ cup caramel sauce. Add powdered sugar until thick and creamy.
Frost cake with frosting. Place remaining caramel sauce in a squeeze bottle and drizzle on top of cake, allowing to drip sown sides. Place whole pecans around outside perimeter of cake. Coarsely chop remaining pecans and cover exposed top of cake.