Friday, April 8, 2011

NSSC First Annual Cake Off

A few weeks ago, some of my co-workers were talking about the good cakes they make. This small group included a surgeon, nurses and a nurse anesthetist.  I was not in the room, but knowing this group, they were probably trying to one-up each other. The gloves were off and they decided to have a Cake Off!

A date was set, a sign up sheet for participants was made and prizes were determined. Several names went on the sign up sheet within the first day.  Our supervisor, who was not working that day, is an amazing baker so we added her name to the list.  I decided to add my name, then kidded with everyone that I was going to Lower The Bar!

Lowering the bar was not too far fetched. One time I made chocolate chip cookies and brought them into work.  Kelly, a fellow nurse, was eating a cookie and found a piece of the butter wrapper in the cookies. Yes, I have not been known for my culinary skills!

Soon after I signed up for the contest,  I was reading Go Ahead Take a Bite,  written by my friend Mrs. B. She had just posted a cake recipe for a delicious looking Orange Cake with a whip cream frosting.  It looked fantastic and her directions were so easy to follow, I decided then, and there, to make the cake.

I had a trial run two weeks ago, which did not go as well as I hoped. I knew the taste was there but the execution leaved a bit to be desired. I decided at that moment, no matter how the cake turned out, I was going to enter that recipe in the contest.

I don't know if you read my cupcake post, but that is when my confidence soared. Yesterday I made the cake and it actually looked, and smelled, fantastic. The subtle aroma of orange filled my kitchen while it was baking. When I took the cake out of the oven it was raised beautifully and done to perfection. I frosted it and put it in the a sealed cake pan, then in the fridge it went.

This morning  after driving to work, I  noticed the inside of the carrier lid was wet with condensation. I wiped out the lid, but the frosting looked somewhat wet. Luckily, I had leftover frosting and just touched it up, but the entire morning I worried if the cake was a soggy mess.  By 9:30 , all the cakes had arrived and the contest began.

Everyone was given a ballot and the tasting began! All of our Surgery Center employees, the surgeons working today and some family members came to taste the goods! Also, some employees of the hospital heard about our contest and came over for the tasting, and to cast their vote.  All the cakes were fantastic,  each one I tasted was better than the last. I had a hard time casting my ballot..I had to keep tasting each cake to make sure I made the right decision. I must have gained five pounds.
Seven wonderful cakes!

This cake won Best Overall Cake
I thought the Tulips were a nice touch!
Great Tres Leche Cake
This one tied for Best Taste with....
Can you believe it??   I can't!
Thanks Mrs. B
And this cake won Most Original
I loved the drizzled chocolate, so classy!
Enjoying the tasting!
Grandma is feeding this cutie, she liked the chocolate!
Everyone had a great time today. My Administrator was having the best time of all. She assigned a number to each cake, made sure the cakes were displayed on an OR table covered with a nice white sheet, printed the ballots, took pictures and tallied the scores.

The prizes were amazing.
Best Over All Cake-   $50 Williams Sonoma gift certificate, mini spatulas and bottle of Prosecco!

Best Tasting Cake-     $ 25 Williams Sonoma gift certificate and Spatula

Most Original              $25 WS certificate and Spatula!

Today was amazing. Some of the bakers were already talking about what they would make next year and the Administrator had so much fun, she announced an Appetizer Cook Off for next quarter.

Anyone have a good recipe?


  1. WOW!! I'm so proud of you!! Your cake looks so yummy, and so do the others:) The Tres Leche cake brings back some wild memories from Mexico! I'll have to tell you about that one.
    Love and hugs

  2. Shawn
    thank you so much I appreciate it


  3. Every one of them looks delicious. Yours was very unique. How much fun! I'm sure everyone enjoyed it, especially the tasters!

  4. I like the idea of an orange cake for Easter...congrats on your win!

    This is the easiest appetizer in the world but everyone who tastes it asks for the recipe-

    spread one package cream cheese in a dish (I use a quiche dish so something similar, a pie pan would also work)
    then spread one small jar of pesto on top of that
    next spread one small jar of diced, drained sun dried tomatoes on top
    and finally sprinkle with toasted pine nuts... serve with crackers.

    It tastes surprisingly more complex and is always a crowd favorite.

  5. Hi, I enjoyed your post. I am new to reading blogs and am cosidering starting one of my own!

  6. Congratulations ... no bar lowering from you! ;-)

    All the cakes look beautiful ... and YUMMY!

  7. Dang it Shawn! Now I want cake! LOL

    Congratulations! I bet my dad would LOVE your cake!

  8. The cake looked awesome ~ I can just imagine how good it tasted!!! Joyce is right - this would be great at Easter. I never realized the impact of high altitude cooking. I'm lucky I just have to deal with a 60 year old stove (I jest - it cooks better than the one I had before it which was only 10 years old).

    Can't wait to see what you choose as an appetizer - be sure and post pictures and recipes!!!

  9. Those cakes are fantastic looking - you did a great job and I gained 3 pounds just looking at them all. Looking forwarded to more great food from you know!

  10. Thanks everyone , I must admit i never dreamed I had a chance but enjoyed every moment of the process. @Joyce, thanks for the recipe. I have made this same cake before but using a cake mix and cool whip frosting. This cake was so much better.
    Again, Thank you Mrs. B
    Lauriejess, Join the blog world and have a great time and make some new friends!

  11. I can only imagine how good those must smell!

  12. Oh Shawn! The cake looked fabulous! I'm so thrilled for you! I knew you'd knock it out of the park with the right frame of mind, and it looks like the red velvet cupcakes were just the confidence booster you needed. My Mama woud be so proud! Brava!

    I've got more tried and true dessert recipes to post so you can show up all those other bakers at work! I'm thinking that you might soon garner a reputation as the best baker in town!!!

    Congratulations girlfriend! I hope this is just the beginning of a new-found joy of baking for you! (I'm so excited about this that I might just have to post a new dessert recipe today!)

    Huge Hugs!
    ~Mrs B

  13. @ Mrs. B

    Again, I can not thank you enough. I am truly looking forward to planning my next creation. I have always wanted to bake, but like I have said before I've had too many mishaps to count. Your instructions were so easy to follow and the pictures so helpful, that I could not fail. This time, after studying the picture of the syrup, i cooked it longer for a thicker consistency, which made a huge difference.
    Thanks again my friend,

  14. Congratulations on your amazing cake success! What a fun event - never expected that from an OR crew! The baking gene that runs in our family skipped me...

  15. I bet that was more fun than a golf tournament. At first it sounded out of character for a group of medical people but the results were outstanding. The pictures are beautiful, Shawn and I know they were a treat to the tastebuds. Now good luck with your next cook off

  16. Love cake but never really learned to bake darn it.

  17. shawn
    CONGRATS and those cakes look yummy!! I know who to get to make Bob n Mines wedding cake :)

    hugs n blessings

  18. Congrats! Those cakes look delish. :)

  19. Shawn
    thank you for stopping by :) I am going to make the challenge ..its my goal. I hope the goosebumps are good?
    Looking forward to seeing your comments on my pics :)