From a snowman to many tiny reindeer, baked goods shine at Southworth

Dec 15, 2018

Lyla Bradford’s Christmas tree-shaped cake was anything but average. She built it over two gingerbread cookies for the signature tree shape, and covered it in dollops of swiss meringue buttercream frosting before the cookies were stacked. Then, Bradford added the toppings: meringue kisses, macarons, and vanilla and gingerbread swirl cookies.

It was the 11-year-old’s entry into the Southworth Library’s Teen Baking Competition, held on Dec. 15 at the library. The confectionary wonder earned Bradford a second place finish in the 10-12 age group, one of the two age groups in the competition. 

“I made a template out of paper, then rolled out the gingerbread dough and cut it with an exacto knife,” Bradford explained.

On the morning of the competition, she added the frosting dollops and toppings.

Bradford’s best baking tip is to always know what the next step is.

This was the second year the library has hosted the competition, which was judged by librarian Christie Phillips, Feyza Achilova, Katherine Rosen, and Megan Melo.

“I like baking a lot, so it’s fun to judge it,” said Achilova.

Entries ranged from a no-bake Yule Log to cake pops and a snowman covered in fondant. Participants were between 10 and 13 years old, and included both veteran and novice bakers.

“They all did a lot better than I would have been able to at their age,” Rosen said.

Emilia Perriera, 12, whipped up a hot chocolate cake with whipped cream frosting and marshmallow fluff filling that was shaped like a delicious cup of cocoa, and took first place for her age group. Perriera has her own baking business, and sells different treats each week on her Facebook page, Bake My Day by Emilia May.

Her best tips are to take your time and measure twice.

The winner of the older group was Mackenzie Boucher, 13, who made a cake shaped like Frosty the Snowman.

“It was definitely one of the hardest things I’ve ever made,” Boucher said of the six layer, 3 tier chocolate and vanilla cake. It was also her first time working with fondant, which was difficult to maneuver.

Second place in the older group was Makai Vincent, 13, who made coconut cupcakes with raspberry filling. They cupcakes were decorated to look like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer with pretzel antlers and raspberry noses.

Edyn Champagne, 10, made a tree-shaped cake that integrated one of her family’s Christmas traditions: putting a nest on the tree. She made the nest with chow mein noodles and chocolate, with mini marshmallow eggs. Her tree-topper was a piece of kettle corn, and its sugar coating glistened in the light.