Culture December 28, 2012

Who Knew Badgers Could Bake?


To keep the Thanksgiving eating tradition alive, infernites donned their elastic-waist pants and celebrated American kitchen ingenuity with an agency-wide Dessert Bake-off November 28th.

Needless to say, the competition was heated. “Playing with Fire” teams, Pyronauts, Badger Force, and Cap’n Cheese and the Peppa Jacks were on edge. With the fall App-off, the perennially trailing Badger Force, barged into second place and within striking distance of the Pyronauts.

Moreover, wounds from the great chili controversy of 2010 when Michael Overton emerged the disputed victor were still fresh.

For the Dessert Bake-off, employees earned team points for bringing dishes for the lunch potluck and for submitting a dessert to the bake-off competition. First, second and third place Bake-off winners also earned team points

Employees sampled more than a dozen anonymous entries and then voted for their favorite three. After officials counted and there was a three-way tie, Michael Overton cast the tie-breaking vote. This moment, too, will live in agency infamy.

And when the final cookie crumbled, it was a clean sweep for Team Badger Force. First place went to Trish McLaughlin’s Please-Show-ID Amaretto Bundt Cake. Organizers awarded second place honors to Linda Corti for her Pucker-Up-and-Kiss-Me Lemon Cake and third place kudos to Logan Mailhot for his Your-Queen-Is-in-Jeopardy Chess Squares.

The winners received gift cards to Muddy’s Cupcakes. One of which they donated to the Hope House to fund a treat for staff.

And as the sugar highs descended into sugar lows, Badger Force was only three points behind the Pyronauts.

Please-Show-ID Amaretto Bundt Cake
1 box of yellow cake mix
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 6 oz. package of vanilla instant pudding mix
4 eggs 3/4 cup amaretto liquer
1/2 cup water
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup amaretto liquer
2 cups confectioners sugar, sifted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine first 7 ingredients. Blend well. Pour into greased and lightly floured 9 1/2″ bundt pan. Bake 45-50 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched. Combine amaretto and confectioners sugar for glaze. While cake is warm in pan, poke holes with a knife in the cake. Pour glaze over. Allow cake to cool in pan at least 2 hours before removing.

Pucker-Up-and-Kiss-Me Lemon Cake
Lemon Cake
2 1/2 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, slightly softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 large whole eggs, at room temperature
3 large egg yolks, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup whole milk
Lemon Filling:
2 large egg yolks
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, slightly softened
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/2 cup heavy cream
Lemon Frosting:
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
3 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1. To make the lemon cake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the bottom and sides of two 9-inch round cake pans. Dust the pans with flour and tap out the excess.
2. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir together the dry ingredients with a whisk. Set aside.
3. In an electric stand mixer, using the paddle attachment or beaters, beat the butter on medium speed for about 30 seconds, or until creamy. Gradually add the sugar, increase the speed to medium-high, and continue to beat until the mixture is light, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
4. Add the whole eggs and egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla and lemon zest. Reduce the speed to low and gradually beat in he lemon juice (the batter will appear curdled at this point smooth out after you add the dry ingredients). Beat in the dry ingredients in 3 additions alternately with milk in 2 additions. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat for another 10 seconds. Scrape the batter into the prepared pans.
5. Bake the cakes for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of each cake comes out clean. Cool the cakes in the pans on wire racks for 20 minutes. Invert the cakes onto the racks and cool completely.
6. To make the lemon filling, in a medium nonreactive saucepan, whisk together the yolks and sugar until combined. Whisk in the lemon juice, butter, and salt. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, for 5 to 6 minutes, or until the mixture turns opaque, thickens, and coats the back of the spoon. Do not let the filling boil, or it will curdle. Pour the mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a medium bowl. Stir in the lemon zest and allow the filling to cool.
7.Cover with plastic wrap, pressing directly onto the surface, and refrigerate for 1 hour, or until chilled.
8. In a clean bowl of the electric mixer, using the whisk attachment or beaters, beat the heavy cream on high speed until soft peaks form. Remove the lemon filling from the refrigerator and whisk until smooth. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the whipped cream into the filling. Cover the bowl and refrigerate the filling until ready to assemble the cake.
9. To make the lemon frosting, in the large bowl of the electric mixer, using the paddle attachment or beaters, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy, about 30 seconds. Gradually beat in the confectioners’ sugar on low speed. Add the cream, lemon juice, vanilla, and lemon zest. Increase the speed to medium-high, and beat for about 3 minutes, or until the frosting is light and fluffy.
10. To assemble the cake, place 1 cake layer on a serving plate. Pile the lemon filling onto the center using a small offset metal spatula, and spread it into an even layer, leaving a 1-inch border around the edge of the cake layer. Top with the second cake layer. Frost the top and sides of the cake with the lemon frosting. (If some of the filling oozes out from the middle, just blend it with the frosting around the sides of the cake.) Serve the cake immediately, or refrigerate and bring to room temperature before serving.
Your-Queen-Is-in-Jeopardy Chess Squares
1 (18.25 ounce) package yellow cake mix
1 cup melted butter
1 egg
1 cup chopped pecans
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 eggs
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9×13 inch pan. Mix together the cake mix, melted butter and the egg. Stir in the chopped pecans. Press mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Set aside.
In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese with the confectioners’ sugar. Beat in the eggs one at a time until blended.
Pour cream cheese mixture over crust. Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes. Cool in the pan, then cut into squares before serving.