It’s fair week — which has always been an exciting week for us! All eight of our children were in 4-H, showing lambs, photography, sewing, cooking and all sorts of projects. We had kids in 4-H for more than 34 years! It was a great learning experience for everyone.
But my earliest memories of the fair were of my mother baking. Mom was an excellent cake baker. When I was a child she made beautiful cakes which she sold to people in town. I especially remember her white two-layer cakes covered with fluffy, shiny seven-minute icing and coconut. I can still see it sitting on top of the deep freeze in the breeze-way waiting to be picked up. We always hoped just a little coconut would fall off so we could eat it. But what I really remember was fair week. Mom would make lots of cakes — entering them into every cake category. And I remember almost all of them getting first and second place ribbons. She used the premium money and the money from selling all the cakes to buy a brand new Kitchenaid mixer so she could make more!
I am including a fun cake she made a lot years later. I think it was very popular for a while, and she made it lots for our family. It is especially good because it has pineapple and bananas in it.
Our son John’s birthday was always during fair week. From the time he was 2 years old we were involved with the fair, so every birthday was celebrated there. His favorite dessert was peach cobbler, and the peaches were always beautiful and ripe during fair week. So we’d celebrate right there under a big tree singing happy birthday to John with candles in his peach cobbler.
I’ll be passing out my newest cookbook this week at the fair.
3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cup salad oil
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 can (8 oz.) crushed pineapple
1 cup chopped pecans
2 cups chopped bananas
Combine dry ingredients. Add eggs and oil, stir until dry ingredients are moistened. Do not beat or cake will be tough. Stir in vanilla, pineapple, nuts and bananas. Put in three well-greased 9-inch cake pans or one 9-by-13-inch pan (to be split into three layers like a torte.) Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes for 9-inch pans or 55 minutes for the 9-by-13-inch pan. Cool about 15 minutes. Ice with cream cheese frosting.
Cream Cheese Frosting
2 packages (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1 cup butter
2 packages (16 oz.) confectioners sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
Cream together cheese and butter, add sugar and mix until light and fluffy. Stir in vanilla. This is a generous amount of frosting and will cover the cake heavily, or just make half a recipe to put on a 9-by-13 inch cake. Decorate with nuts on top.
Judy’s Easy Peach Cobbler
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Mix. Put in bottom of square 9 inch pan.
2 cups fruit
1 cup sugar
1 cup boiling water
Mix. Pour over cake.
Bake 350° until cake comes up through fruit.
Fran DeWine is a Cedarville resident, wife of Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and guest columnist. Her newest cookbook, Fran DeWine and Tina Husted’s Family Favorites, will be available at the Greene County Fair.