Thank You, Cornell Students!

Cornell University students from six campus organizations spent two weeks in October supporting the 7th Annual Ithaca Cupcake Baking Contest and the Cupcake Button fundraising campaign for mental health.

Participating groups included Cornell Circle K, Alpha Phi Omega, Phi Sigma Pi, PATCH (Pre-Professional Association Toward Careers in Health), Cornell Health International, and Reflect at Cornell.

In remarks at the cupcake contest awards ceremony on October 15, Max Fante, a Cornell Circle K leader, thanked Ithaca mental health providers for supporting student wellbeing.

“Students around the world are constantly struggling, with worries of failure and disappointment,” he said. “Without any direction or help, they find themselves lost. The young mind is especially fragile, as we are taking our experiences, and shaping how we respond to stress and decision making in the future. Your support for such an important cause is critical for students.”

Cupcake Contest: The Morning Crew

Fante and his fellow student volunteers spent the first two weeks of October raising funds for the Finger Lakes affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). The annual Cupcake Button campaign is coordinated by The Sophie Fund to support mental health organizations in the greater Ithaca community.

At the contest, also organized by The Sophie Fund, the student volunteers set up the venue, ran contest registration, served as preliminary-round judges, created special award certificates, and cleaned the event space afterwards.

Cupcake Contest: The Afternoon Crew

“We are immensely grateful for the support of Cornell student organizations,” said Scott MacLeod, co-founder of The Sophie Fund. “The students are fantastic advocates for mental health on campus, and their efforts to raise money supports the vital work of Ithaca community mental health organizations. And, the student volunteers help us make the cupcake contest a mental health awareness event every year.”

Cupcake Contest: Members of the Phi Sigma Pi team

Cupcake Contest: That’s a Wrap!

Thank You, Judges!

The Sophie Fund extends its gratitude and heartfelt thanks to the finalist judges of the 7th Annual Ithaca Cupcake Baking Contest: Ashley Case, Case Sera Sera; Melissa Kenny, Sweet Melissa’s Ice Cream Shop; Racquel Riccardi, Sinfully Delicious Baking Co.; Via Carpenter, Via’s Cookies; and Yuko Jingu, Akemi Food.

Ashley Case, Melissa Kenny, Racquel Riccardi, Via Carpenter, and Yuko Jingu

Thank You, Sponsors!

The Sophie Fund extends its gratitude and heartfelt thanks to the sponsors of the 7th Annual Ithaca Cupcake Baking Contest on October 15: Visions Federal Credit Union (premier sponsor), Cayuga Health, MindWell Center, and GreenStar Food Co+op (a sponsor of every cupcake contest going back to the beginning in 2016).

The Visions Federal Credit Union Team: Jenna Rosenberg, Sarah Parton, and Jocelyn Bailey

Ithaca Cupcakes 2022: Special Awards

Contestants in the 7th Annual Ithaca Cupcake Baking Contest on October 15 presented dazzling entries—congratulations to these winners of Special Awards!

Bee-licious Award

Kristina LaPage

Candyland Award

Hudson Sage Meyers Emberley

Pumpkin Patch Award

Ada Caster

You’ll Fall for These Award

Brooke Gordon

Most Fulfilling Award

Anna Brown

Most Bombastic Award

Michael Herceg

Retro Diner Award

Mary Sever-Schoonmaker

Out of This World Award

Della Keahna Warrior

It’ll Make You Go Nuts! Award

Persephone Doggett

Just the Right Amount of Zest Award

Echo Doggett

Peachy Keen Award

Cy Centeno-Pearlman

Kristina LaPage’s entry: Maple-flavored cakes and local honey and vanilla buttercream frosting, decorated with honeycombs, molded from white chocolate, and hard-candy sugar bees—celebrating a passion for bees and sweet family memories.

Hudson Sage Meyers Emberley’s entry: Vanilla cakes with individualized frosting in red, orange, yellow, blue, green, and purple-pink colors—rainbow cupcakes representing “all lives should be equal.”

Ada Caster’s entry: Gluten-free yellow cakes with dark chocolate frosting topped with pumpkin decorations—representing a farmer’s field at harvest time.

Brooke Gordon’s entry: Apple cider cakes with maple cinnamon buttercream frosting, inspired by a family apple-picking adventure.

Anna Brown’s entry: Nut and cardamon flavored cakes with dulce de leche cream filling and coconut scented fondant icing, an homage to the payasam pudding that caps a traditional sadhya meal during the harvest festival in southern India.

Michael Herceg’s entry: Cherry swirl cakes with a  chocolate almond mousse and cherry center and red-colored chocolate top and a lime fuse, a “cupcake explosion” inspired by the song “Cherry Bomb” by The Runaways.

Mary Sever-Schoonmaker’s entry: Root beer flavored cakes with whipped root beer cream filling, and a buttercream frosting made from vanilla bean ice cream—root beer float cupcakes with cherries on top.

Della Keahna Warrior’s entry: Purple sweet potato cakes with maple rum and clementine marmalade filling and spiced buttercream frosting topped with foraged flowers—a gluten-free, plant-based, soy-free creation.

Persephone Doggett’s entry: Nutella and hazelnut flavored cakes and Nutella frosting sprinkled with gold sugar crystals.

Echo Doggett’s entry: strawberry and lemon cakes with lemon icing, from a recipe that once saw duty for a family wedding cake.

Cy Centeno-Pearlman’s entry

Ithaca Cupcakes 2022: Honorable Mention Awards

The Sophie Fund thanks the 25 bakers who made their masterpieces and entered them in this year’s annual Ithaca Cupcake Baking Contest. Judging so much originality, creativity, and skill is a difficult challenge, but besides the three top awardees 10 contestants were selected to receive Honorable Mention Awards. Bravo to all! Honorable Mention awardees were presented with $25 gift certificates from the Downtown Ithaca Alliance.

Honorable Mention

Aušra Milano

Suicide Prevention & Crisis Service

Anastasia Beltz

Suzanne Beltz

Henry Bowes

Takoda Warner

Kate Bagnell

Sarah Scinto-Madonich

Renee Stilwell

Krya O’Toole

Aušra Milano’s entry: Fully edible (including the saucer) autumn-themed chai latte cupcakes in a waffle cone, with an Earl Grey tea-flavored sablée cookie base and brown butter and cream cheese frosting on top.

Suicide Prevention & Crisis Service’s entry: Moist chocolate cupcakes with strawberry buttercream filling, topped with dark chocolate ganache and the colors and words of the suicide prevention mission.

Anastasia Beltz’s entry: Cakes made with eggs from the contestant’s own chickens and flavored with honey from a neighbor’s apiary, with honey-flavored frosting and topped with honeycomb and bee decorations.

Suzanne Beltz’s entry: Gingerbread cakes with mango-flavored cream cheese frosting, topped with tiny gingerbread houses.

Henry Bowes’s entry: apple cakes with cream cheese butter frosting and caramel drizzle, based on a family recipe dating back 40 years to evoke the flavors of fall caramel apples.

Takoda Warner’s entry: Earl Grey-flavored cupcakes and frosting with lemon curd fillings, designed as a three-tier layer cake using stands made of brittle coated with toasted sesame seeds.

Kate Bagnell’s entry: spice cake with apple pie filling, topped with buttercream and pie crust, explained in the creator’s poem: I’ve always loved to bake/But am not really into cake/Cookies can be lots of fun/But feel a bit overdone/Breads could show off some skill/But unfortunately don’t fit the bill/So instead I offer you a cake/Topped with a buttery flake/And the flavors inside this treat/Bring the warmth of a seasonal feast/So now please feast your eyes/On these cupcakes in disguise/As miniature apple pies.

Sarah Scinto-Madonich’s entry: cakes made with homemade apple cider reduction (apples from Indian Creek Farm) and apple pie spices, topped with maple-flavored cream cheese frosting.

Renee Stilwell’s entry: chocolate cakes made without eggs or butter, filled with chocolate mousse and topped with peanut butter cream frosting and chopped peanuts and chocolate shavings garnish, from an old family recipe.

Krya O’Toole’s entry: pumpkin spice latte cakes with white chocolate frosting, decorated with flowers, favorite foods, and framed pictures honoring recent personal losses in the Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) tradition.