New Recipe: Royal Canberra Show 2022’s cookery section opens entries for at-home bakers’ best cakes, slices and biscuits | The Canberra Times

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Canberra’s Merran Hunter jokes that you never mention the “s-word” when baking an entry for the Royal Canberra Show. “As soon as you say ‘show’, that’s when something goes wrong,” she said, pointing to a collapsed marble cake made in preparation for this year’s cookery competition. Ms Hunter has been taking part in the show’s cookery competition since 1981, but there are still days when the cakes seem to have a mind of their own and come out less than perfect. “Even though you might be making a recipe for the 10th time, it still may not work out,” she said. But that’s all part of the process. Ms Hunter, like many of her fellow contestants, doesn’t necessarily care about the prizes that come with first, second and third place. She takes part because of the entire experience of entering, perfecting and then watching as the judges make their decision. And with entries for the cookery and produce competitions closing on February 14, preparations for this year’s show – held from February 25 to 27 – have already begun for Ms Hunter. Her boiled fruit cake is already made and ready to go, and there are two more cakes in the freezer that just need icing – not frosting, as are the rules for the cookery section stipulates. READ MORE: Other entrants – such as the chocolate chip biscuits and the scones – will be made the day before judging. Although Ms Hunter said other contestants will wake before the crack of dawn in the hopes of making the perfect scone. The show’s competition attracts entrants from as far as Newcastle and Sydney, all hoping to nab a place on the podium. Some categories are more popular than others, of course. Ms Hunter says chocolate cake is always a popular category, while the Anzac biscuit competition has been taken out of this year’s schedule, possibly due to a lack in popularity in previous years. But still, Ms Hunter is expecting there to be stiff competition. It does beg the question, however, what makes a winning cookery entry? The best place to start, Ms Hunter said, is to look at the schedule. It gives instructions on what size the cake should be, how many biscuits should be included, what flavour icing is to be used and even – for some categories – how much butter is needed. “The judges can tell by the size of the cake as to whether you’ve used 250 grams of butter or not,” Ms Hunter said. Everything from the presentation to the taste and smell are taken into account. The latter, potentially more so. “Say one chocolate cake looks really nice and well presented, but it doesn’t taste or smell chocolatey, and there’s another that’s a little bit more rustic, but might have a great chocolate taste and smell – well that one would probably win,” Ms Hunter said. “You see people ask ‘why did that get first?’ It got first because it was a real chocolate cake in that it smelled and tasted like a chocolate cake.” For more information on the Royal Canberra Show go to Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content:


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