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Former Jaemor strawberry cook-off winner talks passion for baking ahead of 2017 festival
Angel Rushing won last year's contest
0426STRAWBERRY-CAKE
Angel Rushing’s strawberry cream-filled vanilla cake won the 2016 Jaemor Farms Strawberry Cook-Off.

Annual Jaemor Farms Strawberry Festival
When: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 6
Where: Jaemor Farms, 5340 Cornelia Highway, Alto
Cost: Free admission; Prices vary depending on activity
More info: www.jaemorfarms.com/strawberry-festival

Cakes, pies and cobblers made with strawberries are what the Jaemor Farms Strawberry Cook-Off is all about.

Fresh ingredients and baking as well as cake decorating — two of her passions — are what Angel Rushing is all about.

So it seemed inevitable that Rushing would compete in last year’s Strawberry Festival cook-off at Jaemor Farms location in Alto.

“I always try to use fresh ingredients, because that’s what I grew up with on the farm,” she said. “So it kind of combines both my passions of fresh produce and the cake artistry. I thought that was a perfect thing for me.”

Rushing won the cook-off with her strawberry cream-filled vanilla cake.

“It was a French vanilla cake with fresh strawberries and cream filling, and it was topped with stuffed strawberries,” Rushing said, recalling her delicious dessert.

The woman who helps run the family business, Shook’s Family Farm in Cleveland, said she wanted to compete in the local contest for some exposures since she is a cake artist. And she picked a favorite dessert.

“I just used a recipe that I knew my customers really liked but tweaked it a little bit to include a lot more of the fresh strawberries,” Rushing said.

Her tweak involved coring strawberries, stuffing them with a cream cheese base such as a marshmallow cream cheese dip and placing them on top of the cake.

“(It) was kind of just something I came up with on a whim,” Rushing said. “ ... And it was a winner.”

She said it took time to decorate her cake.

“My main time consumption was in the decorating part,” Rushing said. “I just had to make an extra filling to put in between the layers.”

But she admitted to being nervous about submitting it for the contest.

“I knew that it had to be as good on the inside as it usually is on the outside,” Rushing said. “I was little intimidated because there were some really good recipes there.”

But the taste and appearance of her strawberry cream-filled french vanilla cake won over the judges, which surprised her.

“I didn’t know exactly how the judging would go,” she said. “Seventy percent of it was taste when it came down to it, and most of my cakes are judged on appearance. I was surprised to win to be honest with you.”

This year her experience will be different. Instead of competing, Rushing will be a judge.

“I’m real excited,” she said. “I’m like a foodie. So to get to try everybody else’s recipes, I love that. It’s just right up my alley.”

As for advice for this year’s participants, Rushing encourages people to “think outside the box.”

“Maybe look over online and try to find something unique that hasn’t been done and do it well,” she said. “I would encourage even more to participate, because the more turnout that’s there, the more exciting it is as far as competition level.”

The cook-off is part of the Jaemor Farms Strawberry Festival, which is 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, May 6, at Jaemor Farms, 5340 Cornelia Highway, Alto.

To enter the contest, participants may create a strawberry-based dish and compete for prizes.

This year’s entries will be judged on using fresh, quality strawberries (10 points), appearance (20 points), taste (60 points) and creativity (10 points),” according to the entry form.

Adult categories are cake, pie/cobbler and other. The youth category is simply desserts.

One winner per category will be awarded a $25 Jaemor gift certificate and a Georgia Grown T-shirt. The overall winner will receive a $50 product basket, $50 Jaemor gift certificate and a Georgia Grown T-shirt.

To view Rushing’s full recipe, visit www.jaemorfarms.com/strawberry-festival/2016-strawberry-cook-off-recipes.

To register for this year’s Strawberry Cook-Off, visit www.jaemorfarms.com/strawberry-festival-contact

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