The lemon pound cake got first place!!!
And, not to sound immodest, but it was DANG GOOD!!! You should definitely make it!
The coconut cake got second place!
Also, good. The other two cakes I made: banana and chocolate, got nothing. But, after tasting them I agree with the judges. I am pretty happy with the results, especially considering I’ve never entered anything before. Next up….Breads!
3 cups lukewarm water
1½ T. granulated yeasts (1½ packets)
1½ T. kosher or other coarse salt
6½ cups (29.25 oz.) unsifted, unbleached, all-purpose white flour, measured with the scoop-and-sweep method
Mixing and Storing the Dough
1. Warm the water slightly: It should feel just a little warmer than body temperature, about 100ºF.
2. Add yeast and salt to the water in a five-quart bowl, or preferably, in a resealable, lidded (not airtight) plastic food container or food-grade bucket. Don’t worry about getting it all to dissolve. (I added the yeast, then the flour and then the salt on top of the flour to avoid killing any of the yeast, but apparently this is unnecessary.)
3. Mix in the flour: Add all of the flour at once, measuring it with dry-ingredient measuring cups, by gently scooping the flour, then sweeping the top level with a knife or spatula; don’t press down into the flour as you scoop or you’ll throw off the measurement by compressing. Mix with a wooden spoon. If necessary, reach into your mixing vessel with very wet hands and press the mixture together. Don’t knead! It isn’t necessary. You’re finished when everything is uniformly moist, without dry patches. Dough should be wet and loose enough to conform to the shape of the container.
On Baking Day:
5. Sprinkle the surface of your refrigerated dough with flour. Pull up and cut off a 1-pound (grapefruit-size), using a serrated knife. Hold the mass of dough in your hands and add a little more flour as needed so it won’t stick to your hands. Gently stretch the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all four sides, rotating the ball a quarter-turn as you go. The correctly shaped final product will be smooth and cohesive. The entire process should take no more than 30 to 60 seconds.
6. Place the shaped ball on a cornmeal-covered pizza peel. (If you aren’t planning on baking the bread on a pizza stone, just let the dough rest on a cornmeal-covered cutting board. Allow the loaf (uncovered) to rest on the peel for about 40 minutes.
7. Twenty minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 450ºF.Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the crust is nicely browned and firm to the touch. Allow to cool completely, preferably on a wire rack.
Cinnamon Swirl Bread
makes one 8 1/2 inch by 4 1/2 inch loaf
For the Dough
Use 1/3 of the white bread dough above.
For the Filling
3 Tablespoons light brown sugar
3 Tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
2 Tablespoons ground cinnamon
2 Tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the egg wash
1 Tablespoon milk
Combine the flour, yeast, salt, sugar, butter, dry milk, potato flour, water, vanilla and egg in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the dough hook and knead until smooth and elastic, about 5-7 minutes. You can also make this by hand or in a bread machine. Adjust the dough’s consistency with additional flour as needed but remember, the more flour you add, the heavier and drier your bread will be. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and shape into a ball. Lightly spray the inside of a large bowl with non-stick cooking spray. Place the dough in the bowl and loosely cover with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap and place in a draft-free space to rise until doubled in size, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
Gently press down the dough to release the gas bubbles. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface. Shape the dough into an 8 inch by 18 inch rectangle; short side facing you. In a small bowl, combine the sugars and cinnamon. In a separate small bowl, combine the milk and vanilla. Brush the dough with half of the milk mixture. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture evenly over the dough leaving a 1/2 inch border at the opposite short end. With the short side facing you, tuck and roll the dough, brushing the bottom side of the roll with the remaining milk mixture as you turn. Pinch the end seam together and place the dough in an 8 1/2 inch by 4 1/2 inch loaf pan that is lightly greased. Cover the dough with a sheet of plastic wrap lightly sprayed with non-stick spray and place in a warm draft-free space. Allow the dough to rise until it is 1 inch above the rim of the pan, about 1 hour.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350° F. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and milk for the egg wash. Brush the top of the dough with the egg wash. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Tent lightly with aluminum foil for the last 10 minutes if the top appears to be browning too quickly. Remove the bread from the pan and allow to cool on a wire rack.