The OC Fair is officially open! As I mentioned earlier this month, the OC Fair Cupcake Classic is coming up in a few weeks. This year, instead of being a judge at the Cupcake Classic (as I was in 2010 and 2011), I got to judge the Culinary Arts competition. The judging for this event takes place before the fair opens to the public. The winners then have their desserts on display throughout the duration of the fair.
The Culinary Art division of the OC Fair is made up of several categories: Baked Goods, Confections, Sugar Art, and Table Settings. I didn't know ahead of time which category I would be judging, but I was hoping it wouldn't be table settings (I don't know anything about them and I certainly can't eat them).
I soon found out that I, along with Lyle of Meringue Bake Shop, and another judge, would be judging single-layer cakes, cheesecakes, and cupcakes. I couldn't wait!
The exhibition hall for the competition looked fabulous! There were so many desserts filling the hall. When I asked how many items we would be judging, I was told 120. I thought she was kidding. Nope, 120 desserts! I was overwhemled but ready.
We started off judging the single-layer cake division, which had many sub-divisions including bundt cakes, pound cakes, fruit-filled cakes, and cheesecakes (yum!). Someone even submitted a fruit cake (sorry, but that just isn't going to earn a ribbon). The real party started when we got to the largest division: CUPCAKES! I was really impressed with the caliber of the cupcakes. These were baked by amateur bakers, yet some of the cupcakes were outstanding! My favorites were strawberry lemonade, maple bacon, and chocolate chocolate.
I never thought I would get to the point were I tasted and spit desserts, but when you have 120 things to judge, it will eventually happen. BUT I will say that I didn't feel extremely over-full after it was over. Maybe a new strategy I'll have to try again at my next cupcake competition.
You can view the winner's of the culinary arts competition at the OC Fair from July 13-August 12. I'm heading back to the fair this weekend to "test" the other fair food. Honey-dipped corn dog, anyone?