2021 4-H Cupcake Wars

In addition to these guidelines, see the General Rules in the 4-H/FFA Fair Book which apply to all 4-H exhibitors. Planning committee and judge decisions are final.

What is Cupcake Wars? 

A Clay County contest where 4-Hers will compete to bake, design and decorate cupcakes.  Each team of two 4-Hers will bring all the materials needed to bake, decorate and design cupcakes according to the designated theme. There will be included on the day of the contest, an educational session with a Food and Nutrition judge. This contest is intended to be fun for the 4-Hers and to allow their creativity and skills to be admired by fairgoers.


Sunday, September 12, 2021   
Registration begins at 1:30pm and the contest begins at 2:00pm.


Any interested team may register through Fair Entry by August 15. A maximum of 6 teams of 2 chefs will be allowed to compete.

The 2021 Cupcake Wars Theme is: “Quest To Be Your Best”

Awards: A grand champion and reserve champion will be selected. Prizes, ribbons and premiums will also be awarded.

  1. Each team will consist of only 2 chefs with a total of 6 teams being allowed to compete. The team must choose a team “name” for use during the competition. The audience wants to get to know the team members so a questionnaire must be filled out the online entry process.
  2. Teams will have 1 hour 15 minutes for completion of the cupcake baking and design following a short food safety presentation. Designs must meet the theme requirements above. The team will work together as a team for the duration of the event andeach of the team members should also choose either 1) baking or 2) decorating in which to become very knowledgeable and familiar with the process.
  3. Materials provided by Clay County 4-H Office for all teams to use: One table with access to electrical outlets; A table oven and a 6 place cupcake pan; Wash bucket for the wash station; Kitchen freezer - space for 6 cupcakes per team.
  4. All participants are required to use the provided table-top oven. The pans are nonstick and the ovens bake 6 cupcakes with the timing depending on the cupcake batter. Three to six (3-6) cupcakes must be presented for judging.
  5. Cupcake Teams MUST bring all the supplies needed for the cupcakes. Participants must bring a set of utensils, bowls, and other equipment for baking. The only supplies provided are listed above in rule #2. Teams should plan to bring ALL baking ingredients and equipment they will need, including plates, trays, and/or a creative item(s) in which to present your cupcakes to the judges. All ingredients must be in storage containers and cannot be pre-measured. A few other items to consider bringing: Trash bags for your station; Hand sanitizers, wipes; Timer for your baking (although the oven has a built in timer); Oven mitts; Toothpicks to check for doneness; Cooler with ice packs to cool the cupcakes quickly if not using the freezer.
  6. Cupcake teams are to make their cupcakes and icing from scratch (homemade) recipes and these scratch items must be prepared during the contest.  Ingredients may not be premeasured – please bring them in a storage or original container. If decorative items (e.g. elaborate fondant flowers, chocolate work that requires specialized equipment, etc.) are made in advance, teams are to bring photo documentation to provide to the judge during their presentation. All decorative items must be edible.
  7. A wash station will be provided. Participants are NOT allowed to wash dishes or equipment in the restrooms at the Clay County Fair.  If teams violate this rule, they will be disqualified.
  8. Open heat sources (e.g. hot plates, torches, butane burners, etc.) are NOT allowed. Equipment with open flames are not allowed, in accordance with the Iowa Fire Marshall.
  9. One microwave will be available (in the competition kitchen area) for all teams to use. If you intend to use the microwave, please bring microwave-safe dishes to use.
  10. Cupcake teams are allowed to bring tablecloths and table displays. Table displays should not block aisles or interfere with the judge’s ability to maneuver through the competition space.
  11. During the competition, participants are NOT allowed to receive help from family, friends, or the general public. Non-competitors are spectators and CANNOT participate or provide assistance, which includes but is not limited to: coaching, providing additional supplies/equipment, and washing participants’ equipment. Any violations will result in the team’s disqualification.
  12. Cupcake Wars competitors are NOT permitted to provide samples/tastings to spectators or the general public at the Clay County Fair; this is in violation of health codes.  Doing so may result in your team being disqualified.
  13. Cell phones are not permitted in the competition area.
  14. Only competitors, judges, the MC’s, and Cupcake Wars committee members are allowed inside the competition area. Family and friends of competitors are asked to respect the competition space and to not block walkways, move barriers, or lean over the barriers into competition space. Competitors are asked to stay in the competition area throughout the duration of the challenge.
  15. Teams will be judged on display, communication, teamwork, taste, creativity, and kitchen safety / cleanliness. Presentation includes 1) the plating/display of the cupcake and 2) the team’s presentation. Teams should be prepared to speak to the judge and moderator and 1) introduce themselves and their team name and 2) explain their cupcake recipe and design. Communication: speaking with judge/moderator throughout the competition – describing the cupcake baking process and design (knowledge of the cupcakes, the recipe, inspiration, member responsibilities), as well as presenting to the judge.  Display: creativity in how the cupcakes are displayed for the judge/moderator.
  16. Clean-up times is included in your 1 hr 15 min challenge time. You will be scored on your cleanliness throughout the competition and your clean-up.  If the judge sees a severe health or safety violation, the judge can refuse to taste the team’s cupcake. Any team with a severe health or safety violation will receive 0 points for kitchen safety/cleanliness.
  17. Each entry receives a ribbon and a premium. The Grand Champion Team and Reserve Champion Team will be recognized following the event and will be awarded prizes.
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