Julie Hein of York wins first place for her Banana Split Angel Food Cake at the York Fair.
Julie Hein of York wins first place for her Banana Split Angel Food Cake at the York Fair. (Tammy Higgins photo)

If at first you don't succeed, try a banana split.

Not the traditional saying, but, it worked for Julie Hein of York, who took first place in the PEQAP Angel Food Cake at the York Fair with her Banana Split Angel food cake.

She also placed second in the PA Preferred Classic Chocolate Cake contest at the fair. Both contests afford the winner the opportunity to enter at the Pennsylvania Farm Show in January. Hein had her eye on the trip but came up short, until an angel helped her ... an angel cake that is.

Hein did well during the week of the fair earning a blue ribbon in the Rutter's Scrumptious Corn contest, placing second in PA Preferred Chocolate Cake and in Best Red Sauce and taking third in the Challenge of Champions, Appetizers.

Of course, based on her smile, no one would know. Many might have thought this was her first win, but it was really just the win that counted most.

Hein has used a variation of banana split flavors in cream puffs, but was unsure of whether it would command a win with angel food. The use of chocolate chips is the first time she had put something in cake. It was a choice that paid off.

Elizabeth Pokrivka took second place with a maraschino cherry topped Spumoni Angel Food Cake.

Third place went to Linda Hemman of Red Lion for her Double Chocolate Chip Angel Food with Chocolate Mint Frosting.

Ellen Bolton, a family and consumer science teacher for Dover School District, Shari Steager, a family and consumer science teacher for North Eastern High School and Joan Kennedy from the York Fair office served as judges. The contest required scores for flavor (smell, taste, flavoring), inside characteristics (texture and lightness), overall appearance (surface, size and color), creativity, topping (icing or decoration). Steager, who teaches a unit specifically on angel food cake to her students, knew just what she was looking for and Julie Hein had it.

Winners received cash prizes of $25 for first place, $15 for second and $10 for third. A first place win at the Farm Show, though, comes with a much bigger purse of $500. It's not hard to see why Hein would want to make the trip.

The Angel Food Cake Contest was sponsored by Pennsylvania Egg Farmers and the Pennsylvania State Association of County Fairs.

Banana Split Angel Food Cake

Cake:

12 egg whites

1 1/4 cup confectioner's sugar

1 cup cake flour

1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup superfine sugar

1 cup miniature chocolate chips

Filling/Topping:

2 (3.5oz) boxes of instant banana pudding

1 1/2 cups of milk

1 (16oz) frozen whipped topping

1 cup crushed pineapple, well drained

1/2 cup chopped maraschino cherries, drained

1/3 cup walnuts chopped

For Cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Let egg whites stand at room temperature for 20-30 minutes in large glass bowl. Meanwhile, sift together confectioner's sugar and flour three times and set aside. Beat egg whites, cream of tartar and vanilla extract on high with an electric mixer. Gradually add sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form and mixture is glossy. Fold in flour mixture and chocolate chips, making sure batter is thoroughly combined. Carefully spoon into ungreased angel food cake pan and cut through batter with a knife to remove any air pockets. Bake for 35-40 minutes. Invert pan on long neck bottle to cool. Cool completely before removing cake.

For filling/topping: Whisk together pudding mixes and milk in large bowl. Let stand for two minutes and then fold in whipped topping. Place two cups of this mixture in a medium bowl and place the remaining mixture in the refrigerator to use as frosting. Gently fold in pineapple, cherries and walnuts into the remaining two cups to make the filling mixture.

To assemble: Slice cake into three equal layers with a sharp, serrated knife. Place one layer on plate and top with half the filling mixture. Repeat with another layer and the rest of the filling. Top with remaining layer and then frost the top and sides with refrigerated frosting. Decorate as desired.