This may have been the most exciting weekend in the history of the Barossa Valley.
All those hours spent watching the Great British Bake-Off have been handsomely rewarded, because the lovely and effervescent Mrs deYong has just taken home the top prize at the Barossa Farmers Market 20th anniversary baking competition.
To make the win even more impressive, she won for both flavor and presentation.
And just when you thought the win could not get any better, the judges’ decision was unanimous.
The competition was fierce. Five orange cake finalists were lined up on the judging table. The judges sliced small samples off the first entry, tasted it, cleansed their palates, and moved on to the next finalist. They repeated the process until they had tasted all the entries, compared notes just like Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry do on the Great British Bake-Off, and then cast their votes.
The crowd fell silent. The tension in the air was thick as a slather of orange frosting as one judge initially cast his vote for some lesser cake, but the wisdom of the other judge prevailed, the recalcitrant judge switched his vote, and Jamie was declared the winner!
The crowd erupted in cheers. Golden confetti rained down. She was mobbed by the adoring masses and hoisted upon their shoulders for a raucous victory lap around the Farmers Market. She sneered down at the saddened faces of her vanquished, pathetic competitors, knowing that she now holds the coveted titled of ”Winner of the Great Barossa Farmers Market 20th Anniversary Bake-Off.” And they don’t.
No, seriously, it was a lot of fun. Jamie had never before entered a cake baking contest, but she loves the Great British Bake-Off and she loves the weekly Farmers Market and thought it would be fun. But, honestly, she never thought she’d win.
The rules were simple: Make an orange cake using a century old recipe from the recently reprinted Barossa Cookery Book. Everyone was required to use the same recipe.
Effort obviously does count because she had been experimenting by making a new cake every day this week, refining and tweaking her technique as she went. My only contribution was to serve as Official Taster, offering my opinion of each cake. They were all delicious.
She was inspired by Sheralee, one of the Barossa Girls responsible for reprinting the 100-year old cookbook, and by our god daughter Stella, who definitely knows her way around an oven.
I was hoping the prize might be a million dollars, but no such luck. Nevertheless, Jamie is pretty damn proud of the apron emblazoned with ”Winner of the Great Barossa Farmers Market Bake-Off 2022” logo and bottle of wine she was awarded instead of the cash. I guess it all worked out for the best because she’ll have the apron forever, but would have just frittered away the million on more oranges and cake pans.
All hail Jamie, cake baking champion extraordinaire.
ONE UPDATE: One of the judges, Stuie Bourne, is actually an acquaintance of ours. We were dining in a local restaurant several years ago and the group of men at the next table were whooping it up and having a grand old time. On our way out of the restaurant I noticed that one of them was wearing an LSU (Louisiana State University) cap, so I stopped to ask if he had attended LSU. He hadn’t, but the ensuing conversation ended up with Stuie inviting us over to his home for dinner. He was named Barossa Winemaker of the Year in 2021. However, let’s make one thing clear: The cakes were submitted anonymously and Stuie had no idea that Jamie was behind the winning orange cake.