Janet's Notebook
Decadent Gooey Butter Cake Takes Top Honors in Just A Pinch Baking Contest

Contest Winner Melissa Sperka!

Home cook Melissa Sperka had us at "gooey butter cake." The Greensboro, NC mom and part-time blogger is the most recent Just A Pinch contest winner! Her phenomenally decadent Caramel, Chocolate and Almond Gooey Butter Cake beat out nearly 900 other delicious entries to take top honors in the Flour Power 2011 Baking Contest. Her prize? A weekend getaway to Nashville, a $1,000 shopping spree at the Viking Kitchen Store AND top billing at the next Blue Ribbon Showcase event!

Melissa's cake is something special indeed. "Who doesn't love a gooey butter cake?" asks Melissa. "The variations and flavor combinations are endless." Her own winning combination of flavors is the result of mixing up some tasty traditional ingredients: caramel, cream cheese, almonds, chocolate and toffee! "I came up with this version using some of my family's favorite sweet indulgences! It's an original creation that's sure to please!"

We received so many delicious entries in this most recent contest... and we enjoyed every minute of testing them! Joining Melissa on our list of Finalists were three other wonderfully sweet treats that had the judges grinning from ear-to-ear.

From Traci Bentz of Vancouver, WA came the ultra decadent Chocolate Bliss Cake! This cake clearly deserves its title, as this is one truly blissful recipe. Jam-packed with chocolate everything, this over-the-top creation even includes chocolate milk among it’s ingredients! Add in chocolate chips, cocoa powder, chocolate pudding and Snickers bars, and you have one sinfully delicious must-try recipe.

For those who like a little fruit in their dessert, we have the divine Ms. Geraldine's Fresh Apple Cake submitted by Birmingham's Debbie Lawrence. "This recipe is from a true Southern Lady," explains Debbie. "[It was] made for our family in my childhood days and I'm sure many more times… super yummy and a great way to get that 'apple a day'. The whole family loves this wonderful taste of my childhood in the south!" And you can add us to that list of fans! This is a very moist apple cake that retains the texture of the fresh apples. A real harvest-time treat!

And rounding out our list of worthy runners-up is the always-vivacious Didi Dalaba from Greece, NY. All of our judging is conducted completely blind so that no one knows who submitted any of the Finalist recipes. That said, I swear you could almost taste Didi's energy coming right through her tasty Cranberry Cookie Strudel! This festive dish is full of bright cranberry color and intense flavor. We all loved the tartness of the berries contrasted against the sugary sweet dough. Didi's strudel would offer a wonderful change of pace to any traditional dessert table.

Being able to give back through our contests - even just a little - brings so much joy to all of us here at Just A Pinch. I swear, we're just as excited to contact contest winners as they are to hear from us!

Make sure to enter your recipes in our current contests for your own chance to win! Whether you've got a chili recipe perfectly fit for the Sporty Snack Showdown or a favorite cookie that you can't wait to share in our Cookie Celebration, we've got a contest for you!

(And psst... Don't forget to visit the Town Square often. You never know what kinds of giveaways may be springing up over there!)

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Melissa Sperka - Jan 21, 2012
Thank you Zelda!
Zelda Hopkins - Jan 21, 2012
Congratulations Melissa, I think your cake just sounds fabulous.
Melissa Sperka - Jan 21, 2012
Thanks Rita! Great story....sometimes mistakes actually taste better!! :)
Rita Heist - Jan 21, 2012
Karen, forgot to compliment you on your hair, it's so shiny and becoming on you. Can't wait to make your cake, maybe tweak it into cupcakes.......
Rita Heist - Jan 21, 2012
I once made a St. Louis ooey gooey butter cake and forgot the baking powder or soda, can't rem. so as it was in oven I rem. that and thought oh crap it's going in the garbage. It was the gooy-est,moist and most wonderful cake....so made it properly next time and it was dry. Go figure.....
Melissa Sperka - Dec 10, 2011
Thank you, Deloris!
DELORIS SALMONS - Dec 10, 2011
That is just awsome, to win to honors.
Anna Fleishman - Dec 10, 2011
Thank you Sherri. Got it.
Melissa Sperka - Dec 10, 2011
Thanks Rose! Glad you enjoyed! :)
Rose O'Connell - Dec 9, 2011
I asked my grocer for the DH Caramel cake mix and they ordered for me. I also prepared this recipe with DH Butter cake mix. Both were wonderful.
Melissa Sperka - Dec 9, 2011
Thank you, Diane!
Diane Hopson Smith - Dec 9, 2011
Awesome recipe Melissa, congrats!!
Sherri Williams - Dec 8, 2011
you have to click on the recipe in the above notebook. it's highlighted in blue** Caramel Chocolate & Almond Gooey Butter Cake** i hope this helps. sw☺
Anna Fleishman - Dec 8, 2011
Why can't I get this recipe?
Kim Biegacki - Dec 7, 2011
Thanks Melissa look forward to it!