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    Kentucky State Fair cake
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    As the summer sets in all of its afterglow wonder, another State Fair has come to pass, full of delight and the charm of southern tradition. No matter what age you are, I am convinced the Kentucky State Fair never loses its pure joy or sense of adventure. It’s the best kind of escapade: unraveling the secrets of our hometown, hand in hand with your family, your lover, or even your best friend. It’s a way to reconnect with what makes Kentucky truly great. While spending cherished moments with the people you will never forget.

    Butterfly Chocolate Cake made by Rita Woolridge

    As the resident sweet tooth of Louisville.com, I look forward every year to the stunning pastries Kentuckians craft for culinary competition. It’s like strolling through a botanical garden of sugar; majestic, at times even breathtaking. I love to gaze through the display windows at the artistry. The saccharine tour des forces at work leave you appreciating every ounce of deliciousness of these pastries. I dare you to stroll through the desserts aisle and walk away without the giddiness of being a kid again, with your taste buds daydreaming in the clouds. 

    Intermediate Birthday Cake, Starry Starry Night Style by Rebecca Ruark

    Top: "Beginner" Birthday Cake by Jack & Adley; Bottom: Brooklyn Boyer; both ideal for the inner child in us all!

    I took my dessert partner-in-crime Erin as my cake accomplice. Our mission: Step One- Marvel at all of the amazing Kentucky-made creations. Step Two- Work up a voracious appetite. Step Three- Devour all the whirlwind treats the State Fair has to offer. 

    Have I mentioned that this week couldn't be more perfect for State Fair weather? Clear blue skies straight out of a Disney movie musical and happy sunshine make for maximum State Fair enjoyment.

    Staple State Fair musts: The infamous doughnut burger and corn dog! We each had a little bit of salt to prep us. We wanted all of our senses to fully embrace the stunning desserts that awaited.

    To say that Erin and I are huge fans of all things Sweet Surrender would be an understatement. We slightly nerded out when we saw they won second place for this whimsically gothic confection. Cake Life needs to be everyone's new life motto. 

    Major shout out to this hilarious meets visionary first prize winner Robyn Dale for one of our favorites. Can you say bachelor/bachelorette party cake award? We were both chuckling with amusement and giving a nod of impressed approval as we moseyed on by this national treasure.

    Third place victor: Ken-Setti Cupcakes

    Beautiful cupcakes by Taylor Baugh

    Jackie Siebel's Red Velvet Peanut Butter Blossom Cookies were alluring enough to garner that victorious blue ribbon.

    Robyn Dale created more than just one eye-enticing piece!

    This "Run for the Roses" was one of my favorites. Such a perfect throwback to one of the most beloved aspects of Louisville: horse racing. Miranda's creation even captures the lightning fast thoroughbread racing towards the finish line. 

    Plehn's Bakery outdid itself with a stunning bridal cake that stopped us in our tracks. Cake beauty at its finest.

    In the masterful hands of Greta Sparks, a cake can be an absolute whimsical adventure. You felt like you fell into a spectacular storybook when looking at the levels of this creative cake.

    Because Rebecca Ruark understands that all you need is love. A creation that emerged from the same mind as the Van Gogh-inspired cake. Ms. Ruark needs to open her own cake bakery!

    Everyone needs the simplicity of Minnie and Mickie Mouse in happily ever after cakedom. Thank you to Debra Bridwell for giving that to us all.

    Plehn's Bakery had their winning aprons on- each of their creations was a new level of magnificent. I loved the ethereal aspect of this owl almost fairy woodland-like cake. 

    Did I mention Plehn's Bakery was straight-up killing it at the State Fair?

    Lynnetta Hornback's mouthwatering take on her favorite no-bake cookies.

    If you have been to the State Fair without going to get some of Morgan's Fudge, you're missing that crucial scene when a movie goes from black and white to vivid technicolor. This homemade fudge is the greatest, most authentic homemade fudge you will ever try. I went back to this booth three times so that the Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Fudge would be freshly ready. Was it worth it? Let's just say my life is all sorts of technicolor post-chocolate bourbon pecan fudge.

    Deep-fried. Derby. Pie. It would be incomplete without the powdered sugar frosting your lips and the raspberry drizzle seeping into the hot, chocolatey, nutty bites. Make sure you ask for extra raspberry drizzle. It is necessary.

    Erin then introduced me to the glory beheld in these plastic cups- lemon shake-ups. Better than any artificial lemonade you might try. The State Fair makes these like old-fashioned lemonade, using just lemons, water, and sugar. Shake it up and sip a perfectly balanced tart-meets-sweet summery drink that complements a hot day in all the right ways.

    You have until August 30th to venture to the fairgrounds yourself. There are so many exciting, unique, and intricate sights to see at the State Fair. Go with your own partner-in-crime and make sweet memories you'll remember for countless fairs to come. You will leave with your heart full, of pride for our home and of the fleeting beauty of Kentucky summers. I always wonder how the cakes will get better- and the daydreamers and full-fledged bakers alike in our hometown never fail to boggle my eyes with awe. Anything is possible at the State Fair. 

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    All Photos: Courtesy of Julie Lamb

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    About Julie Lamb

    Curly-haired owner of one massive sweet tooth, believer of Harry Potter and Disney fairytales, and a fierce lover of all things literary and the arts.

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