By Michelle Slater
A STAPLE root vegetable was put in the spotlight at the Sale Show last month when keen cooks put their skills to the test for the highly contested carrot cake competition.
The carrot cake competition is one of the staple classes at the Sale Show and was in its 17th year with entrants vying for a share in more than $5000 in prizemoney.
Entries ranged from professional to primary and secondary school sections, with the carrot also celebrated in the kids’ best dressed carrot classes.
William Angliss Institute provided a pair of patisserie chefs to judge the carrot comp, looking at texture, balance, moisture, aroma, and icing.
Judges Debra Tadday and Valerie Georgopoulos said entrants could employ some creativity around the traditional recipe, but stressed the outcomes should still present like a carrot cake.
The pair has just run their expertise over the winning cake in the professional section which contained ginger, macadamia and orange.
“This is not classic, but everything worked well together. In a good cake, you don’t just taste one spice. One cake we judged had only nutmeg and this overpowered everything else,” Ms Tadday said.
“You want the spices to dance in the mouth, real food sings, it’s like a harmony and it has to be beautiful when you eat it. It must be amazing.”
Ms Georgopoulous said one year a cook had used purple carrots and black sesame seeds instead of nuts, which had dramatically changed flavour profile.
She said the icing was also just as important as the rest of the cake, which must be nicely aerated and spread smoothly across the top.
“Without the icing, it’s just not a carrot cake, if you don’t have this combination, then it’s just a cake,” she said.
“The carrot cake is an old classic, some people play around with the ingredients, but you don’t want to play too much with it or it won’t be a carrot cake.”