Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Eating Dr Pepper at the State Fair of Texas

Moving East has made it difficult, but I've gone to the State Fair of Texas almost every year I've been alive.  I love it.  To deepen my fair experience, I decided to enter one of the baking contests.  The contest offering the largest cash reward was sponsored by Dr Pepper.  In honor of the company's 125th birthday celebration, they asked contestants to bake a birthday cake using Dr Pepper.

How could I miss this opportunity?  Bake a Dr Pepper cake, one of my favorite drinks, for the State Fair of Texas, one of my favorite events?   I decided to modify the recipe for my favorite birthday cake to use both Dr Pepper and Dr Pepper syrup.

Well, I didn't win, but it was a fun experience.  I got to see a part of the Fair that I've never seen and learn a bit about the culture of cooking contests.  I'm not sure if I like them, but I plan to enter more.

The winner of this contest was awarded $1250, and had her cake deep-fried by the Fry King of Texas, Abel Gonzales.  Crazy, huh?

Gonzales took the winning cake and cut it into cake balls.  In order to provide some stability in the fryer, the cake balls were frozen solid using liquid nitrogen.  Before frying they are dipped in flour and a pancake-like batter with Dr Pepper.  After a few minutes in the deep fryer, the fried Dr Pepper cake balls were served with whipped cream and strawberry Dr Pepper sauce.

Here is Abel Gonzales reviewing the cakes.  He was planning his strategy for how to dismantle the biggest one.

This is another winner.  It is a cooler made of cake!  She spent almost two hundred dollars on molds alone!

Well, my cake wasn't a winner, but it still tasted good.

Dr Pepper Chocolate Birthday Cake
Makes one 9x13-inch sheet cake, or two 9-inch round cakes

For Cake:
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups white sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
½ cup butter
1 cup Dr Pepper
½ cup vegetable oil
5 Tbsp cocoa
½ cup buttermilk
2 eggs
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp Dublin Dr Pepper syrup

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Blend flour, sugar, and cinnamon in a large bowl. 

In a medium saucepan, boil together butter, Dr Pepper, vegetable oil, and cocoa.  Stir to blend.  Pour over flour mixture and stir.

Add buttermilk, eggs, baking soda, vanilla, and Dr Pepper syrup.  Mix well.

Pour into greased and floured pans.  Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until tester comes out clean.  Let cool completely before frosting.

For Frosting:
½ cup butter
6 Tbsp milk
4 Tbsp cocoa
1 ½ tsp Dublin Dr Pepper syrup
¾ to 1 lb powdered sugar

In a medium saucepan, melt butter, milk, and cocoa.  

Stir to blend.  Once butter is melted and ingredients are well blended, remove from heat.  Quickly stir in Dr Pepper syrup.  

Then, gradually add powdered sugar, stirring to remove lumps, until reach desired consistency. 

For Dr Pepper Glazed Pecans:
2 cups whole pecans
1 Tbsp butter
1 cup Dublin Dr Pepper
1 ½ tsp cinnamon
1/8 cup white sugar

Combine ingredients in medium skillet and cook over medium heat, stirring until liquid evaporates.  

Spread out on a cookie sheet, sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.  

Roast in preheated oven at 300 degree F for about 20 minutes.

I used the nuts to garnish the cake, along with maraschino cherries.


  1. I am truly impressed with your baking prowess and ability to come up with innovative ways of using different products...I can cook and grill, and often come up with my own recipes, but when it comes to baking, I appear to be lacking something...

    Good job and I'm glad you were able to attend the State Fair of Texas.