September 18, 2003 at 1:29 p.m.
She’s had as many as 122 ribbons in one season of county and state fair competition. She remembers the exact number because she was born in ‘22. The year was 1980. She said she was egged-on by her kids to beat her 1979 record of 99 ribbons; so she did.
What more could one person achieve?
This year, Dorothy Lindberg’s marble cake scored a perfect 100 at the State Fair.
This cake had perfect texture, perfect frosting, the layers were fit together perfectly, it was perfect in every way.
Curiously, this marble cake was one of seven baked goods she’d entered, and Dorothy recalled, “I didn’t think it was all that great a cake.
“I went looking for it (the judges wisk the entries away to sample and they set up displays cases) and it wasn’t on the shelves with its category-- then I saw it... way over on the sweepstakes shelf,” she said. Her cake was the best of all the best at the fair in 2003.
Dorothy Lindberg, of Lindstrom, has worked for years on her cake-making. If you’re reading this just to learn her special techniques, though, quit now, because she didn’t reveal secrets.
As long as her cakes are in demand, she’s not telling all.
Dorothy’s been exhibiting at fairs since she first crocheted a dresser scarf for the Chisago County Fair in 1936.
But, it was in 1962 when Dorothy decided to take this cake thing seriously. She, Elfie Johnson and Ruth Erickson attended classes put on by the Wagner Cake Decorating Institute of America.
Her cakes have been the centerpiece of weddings, anniversaries, birthdays and all kinds of happy times since. She’s even baked a divorce party cake and created a cake Hamm’s beer can. And, not one has slid, come apart or caved.
Dorothy scoffs at some of the trendy flavors or oddball confections used today. She bakes chocolate, white and yellow pretty much exclusively.
Her trademarks are in the frosting. You can tell a Lindberg cake by the edging of ‘e’ loops that alternate forward and backward. The sides of her layer cakes are combed, or have ridges.
Practiced cake-eaters will mention to her on the street when they have had one of her cakes at a function.
Many years ago, when Dorothy lived in Center City and she was married to Sheriff Vern Martinson, she said she had a huge oven and a 30-quart mixer. The house was usually busy with visiting law enforcement (both on and off-duty) state patrol dropping by, kids, friends and others.
Vern passed on and over the years she moved a couple more times, downsizing her living quarters and her mixer.
“There was a time when cake-making ran my life,” she said, remembering a particularly hectic weekend with six cakes to be delivered. “Now, it’s more relaxed, we can live our lives too,” she said.
Dorothy shares her kitchen with husband “Fill”
They customized by hanging extra cabinets in their condo for storage (she buys almond extract by the gallon) and they added countertop space. You wonder if pretty soon they’ll have to knock out a wall and use an adjoining unit just to house the ribbons.
All-in-all, baking has been a positive thing in her life; the fairs her hobby.
“You meet people you wouldn’t otherwise get to know,” she explained.
But, it isn’t all hearts and roses among exhibitors.
Dorothy said when she re-married she was at the Creative Activities Building on the fairgrounds one day and overheard a couple women looking over the entry list. One of them said something to the effect of-- “Good, that Martinson woman isn’t here this year.”
Dorothy says they probably figured it out, eventually.