It’s the 5th Annual Ithaca Cupcake Baking Contest (VIRTUAL EDITION!)

If it’s October, then it’s time for the Annual Ithaca Cupcake Baking Contest. The 2020 event will be held entirely online, instead of at the Ithaca Commons, due to Covid-19 social distancing needs. We’re excited about the new possibilities!

As usual, contestants of all ages are invited and will be eligible for dozens of prizes including a Grand Prize valued at $250. (Open to amateur bakers only.)

To enter, you will still bake and decorate cupcakes, of course. We can already smell the sweet aromas coming from your ovens!

But instead of bringing them down to the Bernie Milton Pavilion for judging, you’ll take photos of your masterpieces and email them to The Sophie Fund.

We’re also asking you to tell us a brief story about your cupcakes—maybe about what inspired your recipe and decoration. Or what special techniques you used. Or challenges you had to overcome to make your cupcake concept a reality.

The deadline for submissions is 11:59 pm Saturday October 17.

Entries will then be judged by professionals from Ithaca’s bakeries and restaurants. Judging is based on decoration, originality, and story about the cupcake.

Judges will announce finalists and choose winners during an Online Live Event on Saturday October 24. The Sophie Fund will notify the winners and mail prizes to them. The names of winners will also be announced on

Additional Prizes:

Teens and Pre-Teens: A $100 gift certificate redeemable at dozens of downtown Ithaca shops will be presented with this year’s Special Youth Award!

Movie Makers: All contestants must submit photos and a story, but you can also make a short movie about your cupcakes for a separate $100 Video Prize!

The 5th Annual Ithaca Cupcake Baking Contest is sponsored by GreenStar Food Co+op, Alternatives Federal Credit Union, and Well Said Media.

The contest is organized every year by The Sophie Fund, which was established in 2016 in memory of Cornell University art student Sophie Hack MacLeod to support mental health initiatives aiding young people.

Sophie’s passion for baking cupcakes inspired the launch of the first Ithaca Cupcake Baking Contest in 2016. At the time of her death by suicide at age 23, while on a medical leave of absence from Cornell, Sophie was active in Ithaca’s vibrant culinary scene. According to her family, she hoped to open her own bakery after completing her Cornell degree.

Click here for all the information on contest procedures and rules, and to download a registration form.