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Special Section Archives The Altamont Enterprise, August 11, 2011

New contests
Decorating cupcakes and baking brownies take center stage

By Saranac Hale Spencer

ALTAMONT — Dozens of tiny, sweet canvasses will be available for practice before the official Sugar Girls Sweets cupcake contest is judged.

On Thursday night, Julie Readdean, from the Sugar Girls bakery in Schenectady, will host a cupcake decorating hour, said Monica Bush, superintendent for the culinary building at the Altamont Fair.  She’ll give tips on cupcake decoration and the contest will be judged on Saturday.

The theme for the contest is “summer fun” and each entry, of three cupcakes, will be judged on originality, creativity, and overall appearance.

This will be the first year for the cupcake contest, Bush said.  It will also be the first year for a brownie contest.  The idea for each of them came from local bakers, she said.

The brownie contest will be judged on Friday with the first-place winner taking home $150, and the second-place winner taking an 11-pound Callebaut milk-chocolate bar.  Third prize is a set of brownie tools.

For each contest, the person carrying the baked goods to the fairgrounds gets free admission, and the brownies must be accompanied by a 3x5 card with the recipe on it.

“Enter anything and everything because you never know what will appeal to the judges,” Bush advises.  Since she’s been in charge of the contests, Bush hasn’t entered, she said, but she has won ribbons at the fair in years’ past.  Bush usually entered family recipes, but one of her favorite contests is in the canning category, she said, since so many young people are getting interested in the skill and bringing new ideas to the category.

Each year, the fair prints a cookbook with the recipes that win blue ribbons and sells then in the culinary building for a dollar.

Some of the baking contests are split into different categories for different ages — including the cupcake contest and the gingerbread house contest.  Neither the cupcake nor the brownie contest has an entry fee; other contests have up to a $3 entry fee.  Other contests include cakes, breads, candy, cookies, cookies decorated for a special occasion, pies and pastries, canned foods, and a fruit pie contest sponsored by Altamont Orchards and Indian Ladder Farms.

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