Baking with Your Kids: Baking for the County Fair!

Entering an item in the county fair; it’s one of our favorite traditions.  We don’t get around to it every year, but it’s been something Babydoll and I have loved doing together.

This is a great way to really create a tradition around baking with your kids, but many people are unaware of how to do it, or that you can do it at all.

Today we’re sharing all you need to know to participate!

Be sure to keep reading because Babydoll and I are sharing our award-winning cake recipe further down the post!

Find a Fair

I don’t remember where I first read about baking for the county fair, but before I did, I had never heard of such a thing.  I didn’t grow up in your typical “county fair” going type place.

I can’t vouch for every single county and state fair out there, but I’d venture to say most have competitions.  They include everything from art and canning to baking and table decorating.

It really is a fascinating thing to see.

But before you can participate, you have to find a fair local to you {or one somewhere else that you’d really like to participate in} and find out about their competitions.

There are several ways to find this information, such as a Google search for your county and/or state, but there are also websites that list fairs in every state such as Countyfairgrounds, USA, and ExpoCentral.

Then there are other fairs that are known for a certain exhibit and folks travel from all over the world to attend, such as the OK State Sugar Art Show at the OK State Fair.

Find the Competition Rules

Most fairs have a website nowadays, and most of the time they have the rules and guidelines for entering items into a competition on the site.

Sometimes they’re labeled as competition guidelines, sometimes they’re labeled as exhibitor guidelines, and other times they’re listed as something completely different.  There’s no standard term.

Click around and look for words and terms such as open class, exhibitor, or competition.

If you’re still not coming up with anything, contact the fair office and they can send the information to you.

In addition to reviewing the rules, it’s important to review any important dates.  Since baking has to be tasted, and not just observed {unless it’s judged purely on decoration}, these items are generally delivered closer to the fair start date to prevent spoilage.

Bake Your Heart Out

After you’ve reviewed the rules and decided which classes you’d like to enter, it’s time to get busy!

Plan your recipes, choose presentation pieces, and have fun with your kids!  Let them be creative.

Let them create new recipes if they’d like.  Let them decorate their item however they’d like.

While it is fun to win, I think it’s more important to spend this time with your kids, just having fun while learning and experimenting together.

A Few More Tips

Leave plenty of travel time to get your goods to their destination.  You don’t want a smooshed cake at the fair…

Present a visually pleasing item.  Even if presentation isn’t part of your score, I find it’s always good to create a “WOW” moment.

You almost always get free tickets to the fair as an exhibitor.  Be sure to pick those up at the designated time.

Winning is great {we love our ribbons}, but you can’t always win.  Don’t let that be the focus of your exhibit.  Focus more on the fun of baking and the fun of the fair.

Our Award-Winning Cake Recipe

As promised, here is the cake recipe that Babydoll and I have used to win on several occasions.  This recipe got me Best of Show and Best of Class at the Kitsap County Fair a few years ago.  Those are big, pretty ribbons…

It’s a doctored cake recipe and I did not create the original, but the version below is my modified version.  It was also my most popular flavor when I did wedding cakes.

It’s a total winner.

Click the image to download the PDF recipe.