For a dozen Moody County 4-H members, Christmas break from school included a sweet competition.
The bakers participated in a local cupcake challenge that tested their skills in baking, decorating, following a theme, neatness and presentation. In addition, they answered questions from judges. Each contestant was given a secret theme before they came to the Dec. 30 event and brought their from-scratch cupcakes, frosting and decorations with them to the extension office.
They had one hour to decorate and clean up.
“I thought it was really fun because you got to decorate your cupcakes and you got to decorate your work space, and that was really fun for me and my friend,” said Jillian Knippling, who entered the team competition with her friend Miesha Pedraza-Felix, both from Flandreau. They earned second place for their cupcakes with skeleton faces made out of candy melt, following the assigned Halloween theme.
“It just popped into my mind,” Jillian, 11, said of the design they chose. While the skeletons were a bit difficult to make, she would like to participate in the competition again.
“It’s just so fun. It’s really fun to decorate cupcakes with your friends,” she said.
Hailey Anhalt, 10, enjoyed entering as an individual with her presentation that ended up looking like a six-scoop ice cream cone.
“I loved other people’s cupcakes,” she said. “It was really fun for me because I love baking, and everyone loves it. I usually make brownies and brownie balls.”
The member of the Sodbusters 4-H Club near Dell Rapids won the individual beginner competition with pink, white and brown cupcakes made to look like they were from an ice cream shop. The hardest part was spreading the frosting smoothly over the cupcakes before she piped on more frosting with a bag and metal tip.
“That was kind of challenging,” she said.
The confetti cakes were covered with white buttercream and chocolate fudge frostings. It might have given her a competitive edge that the other two frostings were raspberry and cherry, she said. “I flavored the frosting a little bit, gave it a little bit of extra taste.”
Other individual competitors included Jersi Kruger, a Cloverbud from Dell Rapids, first place; Jarron Kruger, a beginner from Dell Rapids, second place, and Levi Anhalt of Dell Rapids, third place.
In the team competition, sisters Quinn and Anya Hemmer of Colman and Olivia and Emily Lopez of Flandreau won first place with their Disney-themed cupcakes featuring Mickey and Minnie Mouse, using chocolate cookies for ears. Cassidy Braach and Hannah Anhalt, both of Dell Rapids, received third place with their fairy-themed cupcakes.
Deb Patterson, the county extension office manager and 4-H assistant, and Marty Skroch, the county human relations manager, judged the event.
Jen Hayford, 4-H youth adviser, said the event is one she would like to do again.
“They had a lot of fun,” she said. “The kids really enjoyed it, so I’m hoping to do it again next year.”