Sunday, April 29, 2012

Cake vs. Pie

Last night two of my friends hosted a Cake vs. Pie baking competition as a shared birthday party.  Everyone brought a cake or pie to enter in the competition.  I made a cake inspired by my favorite girl-scout cookie, the Samoa:
girl scout cookie cake
To make this cake, I layered the batters of half a yellow cake and half a chocolate cake into a glass pie dish and had a small round tart pan in the center to shape the cake with a hole in the middle.  It is frosted with a thick, sticky caramel glaze which I mixed with toasted coconut.  I used the remaining coconut to cover the top and make a crispy outer layer.  Finally, I carefully dressed the cake with a chocolate drizzle in the same style as its little cookie cousin.
Ralph decided to make a banoffee pie to bring to the party:

Banoffee pie is a graham cracker (biscuit) crust layered with sliced bananas, filled with thick caramel (toffee), topped with freshly whipped cream and a sprinkle of shaved chocolate.  Unfortunately, he accidentally bought regular condensed milk instead of the sweetened variety; and, after several hours of boiling, he opened the cans to find boiled milk instead of thick caramel.  It was very disappointing because he didn't have time for a do-over before the party.  Fortunately for me, he decided to make it today instead and I finally got to try the English delicacy.  I may or may not have eaten two slices and called it dinner.  This pie is amazing, but sadly not vegan.  I would like to say here that I will make a vegan banoffee pie one day; but, I'm truly doubtful that I could ever come up with a replacement for the creamy caramel center.
As for the rest of the competitors at the party, I have to say it was a very talented crowd.  Everyone brought something beautiful and delicious to the table:

It was a gorgeous spread.  There was even cake vodka:

Incidentally, it is an English vodka.  If you've read my previous post about the English calling everything either biscuit or cake, you will know why this is funny.
My Samoa cake was the only vegan entry and it was being judged against rich cheese cakes, so I didn't expect it to make it to anyone's top three list.  There were three awards:  best cake, best pie, and best over-all.  The best pie award went to the yellow-crusted pie at the bottom of the above photograph.  It was a chicken curry pie and people were raving about it.  Obviously, being vegetarian, I couldn't try it; but, I'm going to ask for the recipe to see if I can convert it.  Here is the sour cream cheesecake that (deservingly) won best over-all:

It was made from a secret family recipe that has been passed down through generations.  I wished my sister was there to try it.  She loves cheesecake more than I love dogs.  And that's a LOT.  Finally, the best cake award went to my Samoa cake!!!  It is now called Emily's award-winning Samoa cake.   It was very exciting to place in the top three when there were so many good things on the table to choose from.  Here's my cheesy grin and adorable hand-made ribbon (which will be going on the wall of my bakery when it opens):