When Steve and I decided to make a four-layer carrot cake (based on techniques and recipe from the May/June 2012 issue of Cook’s Illustrated) for our dessert entry at the IDOS 3-Pot Cookoff in Morrilton Arkansas, we knew we were in for a major challenge! We practiced several times and figured out what tools and tasks were needed to successfully deliver a tall carrot cake to the judges table. We had to grate the carrots, prepare the cake batter, make the frosting, bake the cake, chill four layers and a bowl of cream cheese frosting, and then frost it in 3 1/2 hours.
We were glad to have enough space in the coolers to chill the cake layers and frosting, but it was still a challenge to keep it from falling over in the warm Arkansas sunshine. Thankfully, we frosted it and covered the outside with pecans (great way to hide our oops!!) and presented it on time to the judges table while it was still standing tall.
You can see our carrot cake was up against many amazing dessert entries! Check out the bird carved from an apple and the colorful blue berry garnishes. There were two berry pies, a cheesecake, a pecan cake, bread pudding, and a pound cake. Everything on this table was made from scratch without electricity in 3 1/2 hours and baked in Dutch ovens with charcoal as the only sourse of heat. I was so impressed and inspired! I wish we had smell-o-vision installed so you could appreciate the amazing aromas of each entry. They were beautiful and packed full of sweet flavors.
Of the three entries we prepared, dessert was the most difficult, but we couldn’t stop and rest. We quickly moved on to work on our Macaroni Grill Rosemary bread that was due to the judges 30 minutes later. I’ll tell you all about that in my next blog entry!