What: Tennessee Strawberry Festival Pie & Cake Contest.
When: Wednesday, May 9.
Eligible cooks: Open to anyone.
Entry forms: Applicants must register in advance. To receive an entry form, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
To enter: Deliver finished dessert with recipe to Pooh's Place, 1371 Market St. in Dayton, Tenn., between 3:30 and 4:30 p.m. May 9.
Judging: 5 p.m. May 9. Winners announced at Centennial Park Stage.
Tasting: Free public tasting of the desserts at the conclusion of judging.
Katie Carver had never entered a cooking contest before she thought up an original dessert for last year's Tennessee Strawberry Festival Pie & Cake Contest in Dayton.
"I just made it up," said Carver, 25. "I just took different things I liked and tasted them to see if they would go together. I did it on a whim to see how it would turn out ... and I guess it turned out pretty good."
Carver's creation, Frozen Strawberry Perfection, is a small dessert that's big on flavor with its layers of cake, ice cream, fresh strawberries and strawberry preserves.
Carver said she grew up in Augusta, Ga., but a visit to her grandmother's home in Dayton, Tenn., the week of Strawberry Festival was an annual family vacation.
She later attended Bryan College, then Chattanooga State Community College before touring with an Irish dance company. She now resides in Dayton.
The dancer was one of 15 adults who competed in last year's dessert contest along with 10 children, according to April Curtis, contest coordinator. First, second and third places are awarded in adult and youth divisions, and a grand-prize winner from all contestants is selected by highest judges' score.
"The desserts are really good and are so creative," Curtis said. "People are really interested in seeing how creative and tasty the desserts will be from some of the repeat bakers."
Jonathan Fry, 15, has twice won the grand prize. Last year, the teen took third in the youth division and his sister, Laura, 13, placed second. The youth division was won with an entry made by Bruce Rothwell and Montana Berndt.
Jonathan said the first year he entered, he won grand prize with Strawberry Dream Torte. He described it as a Toll House cookie base, cream cheese/whipped cream filling, topped with sliced strawberries.
"Jonathan just enjoys baking," said his mother, Lynne Fry. "He is very creative. He gets around in the kitchen on his own, and I'm the cleanup crew."
Contact Susan Pierce at email@example.com or 423-757-6284.
Frozen Strawberry Perfection
1 box moist white cake mix
1 box vanilla pudding
3 egg whites
1 1/3 cups water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Large cupcake liners
6 Oreo Fudge cookies, crushed
1 teaspoon butter
1 half-gallon strawberry ice cream
Fresh strawberries, washed and capped
Prepare cake batter using pudding, egg whites, water and vegetable oil. Pour batter into jumbo cupcake pan with six cups that have been coated with nonstick cooking spray, filling each cup with 1/4-inch of cake batter.
Bake at 325 F for 9 minutes. Let cool, remove cake rounds from pan, clean pan, then fill each cup with a liner.
Mix crushed cookies into butter. In each baking cup's liner, layer the following ingredients: Oreo/butter mixture, strawberry preserves, white cupcake round, slice of strawberry ice cream, another white cake round, fresh sliced strawberries, whipped topping. Drizzle additional preserves over top. Freeze until solid and serve.
Note: Katie Carver says this recipe will make six jumbo cupcakes, each of which she said is more than double the size of one regular cupcake.
Susan Palmer Pierce is a reporter and columnist in the Life department. She began her journalism career as a summer employee 1972 for the News Free Press, typing bridal announcements and photo captions. She became a full-time employee in 1980, working her way up to feature writer, then special sections editor, then Lifestyle editor in 1995 until the merge of the NFP and Times in 1999. She was honored with the 2007 Chattanooga Woman of ...