Teens compete in holiday-themed baking competition

By Douglas McCulloch | Dec 20, 2017
Photo by: Douglas McCulloch Lyla Bradford and her first-prize winning cake.

Ten-year-old Lyla Bradford is a big fan of Food Network, and spends much of her television time watching cooking competitions and bake-offs.

That’s what led the aspiring baker to put her culinary skills to the test at the Southworth Library's first teen baking competition, held at the library on December 16. With two other bakers in her age 10-12 age group, her macaron Christmas tree stole the judges’ hearts.

The macaron structure, shaped to look like a Christmas tree, came decorated in edible stars and ornaments, and decorated presents spread out at the base of the tree. Bradford looked to her family’s holiday traditions for inspiration.

“Christmas is my favorite time of the year,” Bradford said. “Right after Thanksgiving we put up our tree.”

In the 13-16 age group, 13-year-old Annika Spivey edged out her only competitor by one point in what judges said was the closest and most debated portion of the competition.

Her coconut cake wowed the judges with its flavor and a unique decoration: a glass snow globe featuring a snowman on top.

She found the glass bowl and knew she wanted to incorporate it somehow, and searched Pinterest for inspiration before settling on the snow globe.

Her entry into the competition was not without its last-minute issues however. After baking her perfect checkerboard-shaped cake last night, it fell apart, necessitating a new design early on the morning of judging.

The baking competition was the first of its kind at the library, and was organized by the library’s Teen Advisory Committee, whose members served as judges alongside children’s librarian Christie Phillips.

“They came up with the idea all on their own,” Phillips said, adding that group members also designed flyers and spread the word about the competition.

In judging, the teens rated each entry in three categories: taste, presentation, and overall theme and festiveness. First, second, and third place winners received candy canes and other prizes.

Annika Spivey and her cake. (Photo by: Douglas McCulloch)
Judges enjoy one of the entries while giving their thoughts on it. (Photo by: Douglas McCulloch)
Lyla Bradford's Christmas tree cake. (Photo by: Douglas McCulloch)
Layla Almedia's reindeer cake. (Photo by: Douglas McCulloch)
Annika Spivey's coconut cake. (Photo by: Douglas McCulloch)
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