“Nailed it!” clients from ADEC at the Plaza sang out after their cupcake, Snickerdoodle Pumpkin Pie, was declared the overall winner of the ADEC 2015 Cupcake Wars Wednesday.
Five teams, one from each of ADEC’s Day Services sites, came up with original flavors, recipes and creative designs for their entries in the contest. At the event, patterned after the popular television show on the Food Network, the teams were given 15 minutes to fill, frost and decorate their pre-baked cupcakes while their excited fans cheered them on.
“Plaza, plaza, plaza!” shouted the Plaza team while Carissa Bousnakis and Kendra Fox worked quickly to beat the clock.
Ricky Garcia concentrated intently while positioning graham crackers on the top of Bristol’s milk chocolate cupcakes. He leaned in close to help Aleigha Miller secure them with frosting before adding the final piece for their S’mores – a plump marshmallow.
Using hand-over-hand guidance, Ashley Hartman helped Darrell Harper pipe cherry-flavored frosting on chocolate cupcakes baked at Mishawaka Day Services. They topped each one with a maraschino cherry before presenting them to the judges on plates handmade at Mishawaka.
The four judges, Megan Williams and Jeni Terrazas from SugaRush Desserts, Emily Stump from Sweet-Em’s Cake Shoppe and Michelle McGuin from ADEC rated the finished cupcakes on flavor, design, presentation and team spirit.
It was a tough job, but they loved every bite.
“Everything tasted amazing,” said Jeni.
“I couldn’t believe the attention to details and the creativity,” added Megan.
From tablecloths and team shirts embroidered to match the cupcake flavors to tables decorated to look like fall festival or county fair stands, the teams didn’t leave anything out.
Ruth Yankey had never made ganache before she began tweaking recipes for the team from Goshen Day Services. “Now I love it,” she said while spooning chocolate ganache filling into a chocolate cupcake.
She and her baking partner, Yolanda Marrero, crumbled pretzels between layers of ganache and then piped peanut butter frosting over the top. The crowning touch was pretzel dipped in chocolate. The two presented the cupcake, aptly named OMG – Oh My Ganache! – to the four judges and stepped back to watch them taste it.
“That frosting,” said Jeni, licking her lips, “was outstanding!”
Amber Maust and Mary Wilcox from Middlebury Day combined the flavors of raspberry and lemons for their yellow and pink cupcakes, providing a contrast for the judges from the three chocolate entries.
Emily, the judge from Sweet-Em’s, was so impressed with the recipes she said she may try to duplicate them in her shop.
Cathy Wakeman, a direct support professional at the Plaza, organized ADEC’s Cupcake Wars and served as emcee. The idea came to her one evening back in the spring while she was watching Cupcake Wars on TV. Baking is, after all, one of the most popular vocational activities in ADEC Day Services.
“I thought, ‘Yeah! We need to have a cupcake war,’” Cathy said. “I thought it was something fun we could all do.”
She broached the idea to her bosses, got clearance to move forward and has been working on the project ever since.
The reaction from the judges and audience was the same, “We want s’more!”
Article by Nancy Miller / Mission Advancement Manager
Photos by Rod Tackett / Communication Specialist