At the Farm Show: Lancaster County Chocolate Cake Tops the Competition


Harrisburg, PA – Dolly Getz of Lancaster County took home first place and a $500 prize in the PA Preferred™ Homemade Chocolate Cake Contest on Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018 during the 102nd Pennsylvania Farm Show.

Getz entered a decadent chocolate cake, a recipe that won a blue ribbon at the 2017 Elizabethtown Fair.

Cakes must have earned first place at a Pennsylvania county fair to compete in the statewide competition. Cakes were judged on multiple criteria, including appearance, texture, and flavor. The scores for these categories are then combined to determine the winners.

Judges for the 2018 competition included Chris Fickes of Franklin, Tn.; Val Edmiston, assistant plant manager of Asher’s Chocolate Company, Mifflin Co.; Ginger Weaver of Hershey Pantry, Lancaster Co.; John Landis of Vynecrest Winery, Lehigh County; and Pam Foor, 2017 PA Farm Show Cake Winner, Bedford County.

Karen Dobson, who was emcee for the competition, commented on how impressed she was to have gotten almost as many entries as last year even with the poor weather.

Additional Winners:

2nd – Jayme Kopecek, winner from the West Alexander Fair in Washington Co.

3rd – Ann Krug, winner of the Harmony Grange Fair in Cambria Co.

4th – Sandy Elbrecht, winner from the Harford Fair in Susquehanna Co.

5th – Sharon Kurtz, winner of the Schnecksville Community Fair, Lehigh Co.

The recipe for the winning chocolate cake is featured below:

Chocolate Cake


Cake –

1 ¾ cups of all purpose flour

2 cups of sugar

¾ cup cocoa

2 ¼ teaspoon of baking soda

½ teaspoon of baking powder

½ teaspoon of salt

1 cup of milk

½ cup of melted coconut oil

1 ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract

2 large eggs

1 cup of hot water

Coconut Filling –

14 ounce can of sweetened condensed milk

3 cups of sweetened shredded coconut

2-4 tablespoons of slivered almonds, toasted

Coconut Frosting –

1 ¼ cups of butter

1 ¼ cups shortening

10 cups powdered sugar

1 ½ tablespoons of coconut extract

5-6 tablespoons of water or milk

Chocolate Ganache –

6 ounces/1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips

½ cup of heavy whipping cream

Almond Joy candy bars (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and prepare three 8 inch cake pans with non-stick baking spray and parchment paper in the bottom.
  2. Add the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt to a large mixer bowl and combine. Set aside.
  3. Add the milk, oil, vanilla extract, and eggs to a medium sized bowl and combine.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and beat until well combined.
  5. Slowly add the hot water to the butter and mix on low speed until well combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to make sure everything is well combined.
  6. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cake pans and bake for 22-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs.
  7. Remove cakes from oven and allow to cool for 2-3 minutes, then remove to a cooling rack to finish cooling.
  8. To make the coconut filling, add the shredded coconut and sweetened condensed milk to a medium bowl and stir to combine. Set aside.
  9. To make the frosting, cream the butter and shortening in a large mixer bowl and mix together until well combined.
  10. Add half of the powdered sugar and mix until smooth.
  11. Add the coconut extract.
  12. Slowly add the remaining powdered sugar and mix until smooth. Add water or milk, as needed.
  13. To build the cake, use a large serrated knife to remove the tops of the cake layers so that they’re flat.
  14. Place the first cake layer on a serving plate or cardboard cake circle then pipe a dam of coconut frosting around the edge of the cake.
  15. Add about half of the coconut filling inside of the dam, then spread evenly into an even layer.
  16. Sprinkle 1-2 tablespoons of slivered almonds over the top and press into the filling.
  17. Add the next cake layer, then top it with another dam of frosting, the remaining coconut filling and more slivered almonds.
  18. Add the final cake layer to the top of the cake.
  19. Smooth out the frosting on the top and sides of the cake.
  20. Set the cake aside and make the chocolate ganache. Put the chocolate chips in a heatproof bowl.
  21. Microwave the heavy whipping cream until it just begins to boil, then pour it over the chocolate chips. Allow it to sit for 2-3 minutes, then whisk until smooth.
  22. Use a squeeze bottle or a spoon to drizzle the chocolate around the edges of the cake, then fill in the top of the cake and smooth it with an offset spatula.
  23. Allow the ganache to firm a bit, about 10 minutes, then top with remaining frosting, a little more shredded coconut, almond slivers, and Almond Joy candy bars.

The Pennsylvania Farm Show is the nation’s largest indoor agricultural event, featuring 12,000 competitive exhibits, more than 5,200 of which are animal competitions, plus 300 commercial exhibitors. The show runs January 6 – 13, 2018. Admission is free and parking is $15 in Farm Show lots. The Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo Center is easily accessible from Interstates 81 and 83.

For more information about the 2018 show, visit


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