Jerry Frank, owner of Salem’s Konditorei, awarded Joanne Dibble with first place in a cake contest at Willamette Lutheran Retirement Community Feb. 11. (KEIZERTIMES/Lyndon A. Zaitz)

Jerry Frank, owner of Salem’s Konditorei, awarded Joanne Dibble with first place in a cake contest at Willamette Lutheran Retirement Community Feb. 11. (KEIZERTIMES/Lyndon A. Zaitz)

Oregon’s chocolate cake expert Gerry Frank kept a poker face as he tasted and scored the 15 entries in the Willamette Lutheran Retirement Community’s Taste of Home Chocolate Cake Contest Feb. 11.

Frank, who judges the state fairground chocolate cake contest each year, was invited by Willamette Lutheran’s marketing director Kay Hayes to judge their contest. Aside from being a judge of cakes he owns Konditorei, Salem’s premier cake cafe.

The contest was open to residents as well as the public. The display table was laden with 15 cakes of various sizes,  heights and color (one used white chocolate frosting to approximate an igloo).

Frank started with the first entry and made his way down the table, carefully tasting each entry. In between bites he recalled stories of past state fair cake judging and giving tips about making a good cake.

“It should be fresh and moist. Start with the best ingredients,” he said.

The cake he deemed the winner was baked by Joanne Dibble of Salem whose cake featured ganache and large strawberries. She won a trophy and a gift certificate.

After the contest all the cakes (with a tiny slice missing) were moved into Willamette Lutheran’s lobby for residents and visitors to enjoy.