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Dean George is the Marketing Specialist and Content Creator for Dental Insurance
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Judging This Contest Was a Piece of Cake

Dec 11, 2012

Earlier this year our Human Resources Department invited Dental Insurance Store employees to participate in an intriguing competition: The Creative Crock Pot Cake Concoction Culinary Confection Cook-Off. 

I unselfishly volunteered to judge because I knew it would offer readers a unique perspective on this historic event. (Okay, I bribed someone.)  I saw my role as that of an embedded reporter. The fact I was embedded at Fort Betty Crocker rather than Iraq or Afghanistan was just fine with me. 

Crock Pot Cake Cook-off Champion
Grand champion Meagan B posing alongside Linda S with her grand champion award.
Photo courtesy Linda S.

But this wasn’t just any baking contest. This was a crock pot cake baking contest. Yeah, you read that right. Cake - baked in a crock pot. Linda, our Human Resources/Payroll Coordinator, introduced us to the kooky (cooky?) concept and the contest was her inspiration.

I believe it was crock pot kismet that I was offered the opportunity to stuff my pie hole with cake. After all, in college I was named "The Most Likely to Judge Fatty Baked Goods in the Workplace."  Besides, I like cake, I like crock pot cooking and my colleagues and I have sweet tooths' that would make Willie Wonka proud.

Joining me on the judging dais were Catherine, our VP of Information Systems and an admitted cakeaholic; Kathy, VP of Human Resources and the judges' spokesperson; Ben, a Compliance Analyst who regularly works out his sweet tooth with his wife’s homemade confections, and yours truly, who never met a cake or crock pot dish he didn't like.

Embedded reporter at cooking contest
Crock Pot Cake Judges left to right: Dean, Ben, Catherine and Kathy
Photo courtesy of Linda S

Linda graciously demurred from entering this inaugural event in order to keep the playing field level for our four brave competitors.

Per management's request we had a nurse and a dental hygienest standing by, presumably in case someone overdosed on sugar and spice or required an emergency flossing.

The contest’s four competitors were:

•IT’s Jason and his oh-so-sweet Peanut Butter Hot Fudge

•Communications Coordinator Teresa and her zesty Lemon Berry Zinger

•Quality Assurance Supervisor Symone and her heavenly Divine Blueberry Crunch

•Communications Coordinator Meagan and her muse-inspired Carrot Cake Creation

Four creative competitors
Contestants Jason, Teresa, Meagan, Symone and contest organizer Linda
Photo courtesy of Linda S

Judging consisted of four categories:

Plating: the look and feels of the dessert on our plate and in the dish.
Taste: first impression, after taste, distinctive flavor and overall taste.
Texture: "Goo" factor.
Creativity: "WOW" factor.

Man, was I in trouble! This wasn’t going to be the cake walk I thought.  Apparently more was expected than making loud smacking noises, smiling politely and asking for seconds. 

Cooking contest promotes audience participation
IT's Sushma and Push helped with audience participation
Photo courtesy of Linda S

Rather than risk being outed for not having a clue as to what I was doing, I did what any self-respecting guy who likes his cake and wants to eat it too would do: I faked it.  By feigning insight, assuming a thoughtful demeanor and scribbling notes like I’d seen judges do at the Westminster Dog Show, I was able to gamely hold my own with my fellow judges.

That and copying off their notes helped too.

Between our judging quartet’s harmony of "ummm's" and "yum's" we tasted, scribbled notes, asked probing questions, huddled, retasted and re-retasted because after all, this was serious business. (Not to mention it was time away from real work.)

But seriously, who knew that these folks that toil tirelessly here at had the energy and imagination for such culinary creativity?  Not I – master of the processed supper and whose signature dish is Kraft Macaroni & Cheese with a heretofore secret ingredient – more cheese.

When the votes were finally tabulated and the judges finished wiping the cake-eating grins from our faces, Meagan and her delightful carrot cake were named the winner.

And to show what a gracious winner she is, Meagan agreed to share her recipe for Agent Straight-Talk readers below:

Divinely Inspired Carrot Cake

Recipe Ingredients:

1 Duncan Hines Decadent Classic Carrot Cake Mix
1 small box of instant Cream cheese or White Chocolate pudding mix
16-oz carton sour cream (light)
12 oz finely shredded carrots

Spray inside of crock pot with nonstick cooking spray. Mix all ingredients together for a couple of minutes and pour into crock pot. Put lid on and cook on low. Cooking time can be from 4 ½ - 6 hours, until center is set.

Once it’s in the crock pot and cooking, leave it alone, and don’t stir it!

After the cake is done cooking serve with Cream Cheese icing and ENJOY!!

Photo courtesy of Linda S

Thanks for reading Agent Straight-Talk, and remember: Life is like a mirror; we get the best results when we smile back at it.

Email me at:
Find me on Twitter at Twitter@ToothTeller
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Copyright 2012, Bloom Insurance Agency, LLC©

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