Ready, set, bake! On Dec. 13, Mary Higby’s A3 Culinary 1 class competed in a Cupcake War where each team prepared, decorated, and submitted their cupcakes for evaluation to a panel of judges for a major grade.
Five teams participated in the competition and were tasked with creating a cupcake that would be graded on flavor, design, and presentation.
“I showed them some kind of ways to incorporate different recipes in a basic vanilla recipe,” Higby said. “For example if you want to do red velvet, it’s basically food coloring and cocoa added to a vanilla recipe, so you can add different things. I gave them a basic vanilla recipe and told them they were able to take that and create it however they wanted.”
Team five, for example, kept the vanilla recipe but placed an Oreo cookie in the center of the cupcake, while team four chose to make a chocolate peppermint cupcake with a chocolate ganache, a whipped filling made of chocolate and cream. In addition to choosing flavor, teams could also choose the way they presented their cupcakes.
“If you can see [that group] literally made a sleigh out of cardboard, so they’re going to do something with their sleigh.” Higby said.
Team two, the sleigh team, filled their sleigh to the brim with vanilla cupcakes, and placed eight cupcake reindeers in front.
Ms. Higby was inspired to do the Cupcake War in order to give her students an opportunity to display their skills and finish the year off strong.
“This gives them a little something fun that they can look forward to,” Higby said. “They get into it and they love it.”
The students had two hours and ten minutes to make and bake the cupcakes before the judges came in for a taste-test. Members from every team were streaked with flour and had their hands dyed all different shades, as their cupcakes were put to the test.
“I needed to be a completely neutral party,” Higby said. “[To] be able to help them wherever they need help, and so that’s why I sent an email out to all the staff asking who would like to come be a judge. I got a great response very quickly.’’
The Cupcake War was the first time these students’ food was graded by judges. In order to keep the competition as fair as possible, the students weren’t told who the judges were beforehand. Various faculty members participated in the taste-testing and judging, including counselor Danielle Kadings, teacher Ryan Feuerhelm, and teacher Leslie Baldwin.
The judges went from table to table, testing each cupcake with varying thoughts. Some cupcakes were plain and didn’t quite make the cut, while others wowed the judges’ taste buds.
In the end, it was a close competition, but team four composed of Malachi Whitehead, Katlyn Woods, Lojan Chaneless and Max Perez took the cake while team two’s ‘team of reindeers’ pulled them into second.
Many of the students said they would enjoy going to the Advanced Technology Center to continue their exploration of the culinary arts.