When it comes to baking, Seymour resident Lavena Hauer knows what judges like.

This year, Hauer took first place in the pie category of the annual Seymour Oktoberfest baking contest sponsored by Kemper CPA Group.

Her peanut butter pie was a big hit when Oktoberfest committee members and city officials came together Oct. 1 to pick the winners at the Community Foundation of Jackson County office.

“That’s my favorite, so I thought that’s what I should make,” Hauer said of her recipe. “It’s not hard to make at all. It’s a very simple recipe.”

Story continues below gallery

The entry earned her a $100 prize.

She’s entered the recipe in other contests before, and said this year one of the judges complimented the meringue topping.

“The judge told me she usually scrapes off meringue, but she thought it was awesome,” Hauer said. “That’s because I don’t use a mixer. I whip it up with an old-fashioned hand whipper to get the air flowing through it better.”

Although she doesn’t bake as much as she used to, Hauer said she still enjoys doing it and prefers making pies more than cakes.

“I like making the pie dough,” she said. “And I’m just not that good on cakes.”

She also likes making cookies and candy to give to people on the holidays, she added.

Hauer’s been baking since she was a child.

“My mother started me at 9 years old, and I’ve been baking ever since,” she said.

She’s a regular in the Oktoberfest baking contest, having placed first last year with her Reese’s chocolate pie.

“I’ve probably won four or five times,” she said. “My daughter competes with me. Sometimes she wins, and I take second.”

At a glance

Winners in the 2015 Seymour Oktoberfest Baking Contest

First place, pie – Lavena Hauer, peanut butter pie; cake – Kathy Nelson, carrot cake with cream cheese frosting; kids – Alexys Thompson, Oktoooober Hats (cookies).

Second place, pie – Michelle Nichter, key lime pie; cake – Paul Kedrowitz, sweet potato bundt cake with marshmallow topping; kids – Shayla Thompson, Chocked full-o-candy (cookies).

Third place, pie – Sherry Fisher, chocolate peanut butter pie; cake – Mindy Murray, salted caramel cheesecake; kids – Emalyn Self, Heath bar cookies.

Winning recipes for the 2015 Seymour Oktoberfest baking contest

First place winning recipes

Lavena Hauer – Peanut butter pie

1 cup powdered sugar

1/2 cup peanut butter

1 pie shell baked

1/4 cup cornstarch

2/3 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 cups milk scalded

3 egg yolks beaten

2 tablespoons butter

1/4 teaspoon vanilla

3 egg whites

Mix peanut butter and powdered sugar until it looks like cornmeal. Spread half of it in pie shell, set aside the rest. Combine remaining ingredients except the egg whites. Cook over medium heat until thickened, stirring constantly. Spoon the filling over the peanut butter layer in the shell. Beat egg whites until stiff. Spread over the filling. Sprinkle remaining peanut butter mixture over egg whites. Bake at 320 degrees for 20 minutes or until golden brown. 

Kathy Nelson – Carrot cake with cream cheese frosting

Carrot cake

2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 cups sugar

1 cup vegetable oil

4 large eggs

4 to 6 large carrots, washed and peeled

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift together flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon. Set aside. Combine sugar and oil in mixer. Add eggs. Mix well. Add dry ingredients. Mix until smooth. Grate the carrots (should be two cups) and add them to the mixture. Mix completely. Pour batter into a well-greased bundt pan. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes.

Cream cheese frosting

1 stick butter softened

One 8 ounce cream cheese softened

1 pound powdered sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 cup pecans chopped fine, plus extra for garnish

Add the butter, cream cheese and powdered sugar to the bowl, Add the vanilla. Mix until light and fluffy. Add the pecans and mix. Spoon the icing onto the cake and spread evenly. Note – Refrigerate leftovers.

Alexys Thompson – Oktoooober Hats (cookies)

1 bag Hershey’s Kisses (cookies ‘n’ cream flavor)

1 bag Reeces Pieces

2 1/4 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 stick butter (softened)

1/2 cup shortening

3/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 large eggs

Sift flour, soda, salt into a bowl, and set aside. In another bowl, cream butter, shortening, sugars and vanilla. Mix in eggs one at a time. Gradually mix flour mixture into the mix. Drop teaspoon fulls onto ungreased baking sheet. Place into preheated 375 oven. Bake eight minutes. While still warm, place the cookies ‘n’ cream kisses in center and the Reeses pieces around edges. Let cool completely.

January Rutherford is a reporter for The (Seymour) Tribune. She can be reached at jrutherford@tribtown.com or 812-523-7069.