Dessert won big at the 2015 Big Tex Choice Awards, the annual fried-food contest hosted by the State Fair of Texas. Winner for Best Taste went to Fernie's Holy Moly Carrot Cake Roly; Smoky Bacon Margarita won the award for Most Creative.
The carrot cake was the only sweet entry in a field otherwise dominated by savory items such as chicken-fried lobster and fried beer-battered buffalo. Did it give it an edge? In previous years, sweet items have often made up half the entries.
The carrot cake consisted of cinnamon bread, flattened, then filled with carrot cake, raisins, and julienned carrots. Then it's rolled in cream cheese and breaded in a mixture of panko, graham crackers, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
It came from Christi Erpillo, who has history with the fair: Her family introduced the funnel cake to the State Fair of Texas in the early 1980s.
The Smoky Bacon Margarita was a drink entry, following a new tradition created in 2014 with the very first beverage, and an alcoholic one at that: Funnel Cake Ale, which also won the Most Creative award. Created by Isaac Rousso, the margarita is a frozen lime imbued with bacon flavor and topped with bacon crumbles.
The State Fair elevated the contest this year to a more foodie level with the inclusion of ingredients such as lobster and buffalo, and the drafting of chef John Tesar among its judges. Joining him was Dallas Mavericks Devin Harris, former Dallas Cowboys Drew Pearson, local TV personality Dan Rodo, city council member Tiffinni Young, and audience member Bridget Russell. Emcee was talk show host Donovan Lewis of Sportsradio 1310 The Ticket.
According to a release, the fair has a new Big Tex mascot. There is also an additional food competition allowing fairgoers to vote for their favorite finalist. The winner will be announced on the final weekend. The State Fair of Texas opens September 25.