By Deanna Kirk
Corsicana Daily Sun
The Cakes had it at the 2014 Navarro County Youth Expo. All five top prizes went to cakes in various forms and fashions, even though the competition was open to candies, cookies, pies, muffin and breads, as well as canned products.
Top honors for creativity went to Senior Most Creative, Amber Owens of Mildred FFA for her black and white sheep cupcakes. Junior Most Creative was taken by Madison Ratliff of Mildred 4-H with her “Duck Blind” cake.
“We really have some pretty things this time,” said judge Bobbie Nichols. “These are very talented kids.”
In the Senior category, age 14 and up, Grand Champion went to Taylor Loflin of Mildred FFA for her Black Magic Owl Cake. Reserve champion was awarded Marleigh Davis of Blooming Grove FCCLA for her 7-Up Pound Cake.
Loflin is a 16-year-old sophomore at Mildred who won second in the cake division several years ago, and said it took her a while to select all the perfectly shaped slivered almonds to create the owls face.
Junior Grand Champion was awarded to Tanner Patrick of Blooming Grove FFA for his Chocolate Merlot Dewberry Cake, with Junior Reserve going to Madison Ratliff of Mildred 4-H for her Duck Blind cake.
Tanner Patrick, age 8, is a third grade student at Blooming Grove Elementary, and said he stayed up until 10:30 p.m. the night before the competition putting the finishing touches on his dewberry cake. The son of Monica and Terry Patrick, Tanner is a “youth expo baby,” born on the night of the swine show in 2005. He will be 9 on Monday.
Rosemary Goff, rabbit chairman, said her granddaughter Alex Harbuck used a recipe that’s been in her family five generations, having been brought to this country by an aunt from Hungary.
“It made me cry when Alex decided to make that,” Goff said.
Amanda Crawford Dodds, once an exhibitor in the Navarro County Youth Expo, is now the manager of the HEB Bakery, and returned to serve as a judge this year.
“My senior year I was grand champion with a cake,” Dodds said. “So I’m really excited to be a judge. Cakes are my area of expertise.”
And it’s a good thing: cakes could be “enhanced” cake mix cakes, fruit or nut cakes, chocolate, pound or “other.” There were cakes made of chocolate chip cookie dough, strawberry, apple, peach cobbler, Kit Kat cake, raspberry lemon, Dr Pepper Red Velvet, funnel cake, carrot and many other flavors.
Canned goods encompassed many different salsas, including one made of zuchini with homemade chips, as well as jams, jellies, pickles, beets and canned bacon jam.
“For the first time, entrants did not have to declare their category ahead of time,” said chairman Tresa Darby. “So when they showed up, there was no way to know ahead of time how many cakes there would be, candies, etc.
“We had some unusual entries this year. Several bacon products. Not as many chocolate desserts, but a lot of pies. There was an even smattering of entires, more canned goods this year.”
But it was the cakes that took the top six prizes (with the Duck Blind cake taking two).