Douglas County residents demonstrated creativity in the kitchen with their entries in the Douglas County Free Fair's first Ugliest Cake Contest on Thursday afternoon.
Examples of the entries were a cake shaped like a foot-long slug with bulging eyeballs; two that closely resembled cow patties one was black and green with dyed coconut "grass" and plastic flies, the other was frosted with a brownish glaze and featured flies and rubber worms; a cake with a crumbled cookie "dirt" topping and a variety of gummy worms poking out bearing a sign, "Nightworms 25"; and several frosted in putrid shades of purple.
GREEN WAS BY far the frosting shade of choice, ranging from a bright mint to drab olive to a sickly yellow-green. Bakers apparently decorated their cakes with anything they could find marshmallows, Cheerios, leaves and plastic spiders, to name only a few.
Heather St. Peters, of Baldwin, thought the cakes were supposed to taste as bad as they looked so she tossed a few spices chili powder, salt, pepper, garlic and a little broccoli into her recipe. "I took a taste and it was pretty gross," she said. "I don't know how they (the judges) could stand it."
As might be expected, contest judges frequently hesitated before sampling the creations.
Gussie Flory, David Bunker and Janet Fike evaluated the cakes based on overall ugliness, flavor and creativity in adding to ugliness.
Bunker said the 30 entrants displayed "monumental creativity."
"I think they were all pretty original, pretty well done," he said. "But it's hard to differentiate gross from ugly. Some of them tasted pretty well and some of them I don't hope to ever see again."
MARTHA NIEDER, superintendent of the ugliest cake contest, said she had expected the event to attract a different form of ugly cake. She'd heard many stories of old family recipes that were more palate pleasing than esthetically pleasing, and thought those would appear on the judges' table. Instead, entrants created new and unusual cakes for the contest.
Susan Krumm, home economics agent with the Douglas County Extension Office, said the contest was a fun way to alleviate some of the competitive pressure at the fair.
"I have seen 4-H'ers work very hard to make that perfect cake," she said. "It was wonderful for them to go home at midnight if they wanted to and throw it together. The grosser, the better."
The judges awarded the blue ribbon to Tara Flory, of Lawrence, for her smashed yellow cake with reddish brown frosting that oozed over the sides. Bunker said judges unanimously labled the entry "the barf cake."
Second place went to Lauren Browne, of Baldwin, who baked a three-tiered cake frosted and decorated with mint green icing.
"It's the leftover wedding cake that fell out of the freezer when they opened the door," Bunker said.
Bo Wempe, of Lawrence, took third place with his green-tinted sheet cake frosted and topped with candy sprinkles and worms. "It looks like someone stepped on it," Bunker commented.
THE CAKE CONTEST was held in conjuction with the fair's third annual Homemade Ice Cream Contest, sponsored by the Dairy Herd Improvement Assn. Sixteen ice cream connoisseurs cranked out various flavors of the frozen treat.
Judges Kenny Hubbard, Burke Anderson and State Rep. Sandy Praeger, R-Lawrence, awarded ribbons in the categories of vanilla, chocolate, fruit, low calorie and other.
For their vanilla creations, Mildred Luckan, Lawrence, took first, Linda Hulce, Overbrook, got second, and Mariann Bradley, Eudora, placed third.
Larry Saathoff, a Lawrence resident who submitted the only chocolate entry, received the blue ribbon in that category. John C. Curty II, Lawrence, was the only strawberry ice cream maker, so he placed first in the fruit category. Charlene Winter, Lecompton, was the only entry and winner for low fat-low calorie ice cream.
Winners in the "other" group were Mike Hart, Lawrence, first place with Heath Bar Crunch; Sonja Hart, Lawrence, second place with Amaretto, White Chocolate, Almond Crunch; and Sally Hayden, Lawrence, third place with Burt Sugar.
Overall winners were Mike Hart, first; Curty, second; Luckan, third; Saathoff, fourth; and Winter, fifth.