Cupcake Joy, 2017 Edition

Enjoy a photo gallery from the 2nd Annual Ithaca Cupcake Baking Contest, held in the Commons on October 14, 2017.

bannerBernie Milton Pavilion, October 14, 2017

 

registrationLet the Contest Begin: Angela registers Tamarynde Cacciotti’s entry, cream puff cupcakes with Earl Grey pastry filling that went on to win the Grand Prize.

 

alistrongwaterHappy Halloween: Ali Strongwater’s 2nd Prize-winning pumpkin and ginger cupcakes haunted by sugar ghosts.

 

alexanderRaspberries and Butterflies: Alexander Quilty’s 3rd prize-winning chocolate raspberry-filled cupcakes with raspberry buttercream frosting.

 

monicacottoEmerging Brightness: Monica Cotto’s vegan blood orange dark chocolate cupcakes topped with edible crystal geodes (Honorable Mention).

 

Beth Goelzer LyonsForest of Cupcakes: Beth Goelzer Lyons’s chocolate chip cookie dough-filled vegan chocolate cupcakes topped with chocolate trees.

 

melaniehardyFall Foilage: Melanie Hardy’s Campfire S’more Cupcakes with marshmallow fluff frosting topped with a Hershey bar (Honorable Mention).

 

robynschmittWinter Wonderland: Robin Schmitt’s vanilla cupcake topped by an edible peanut butter and nutella pine cone (Honorable Mention).

 

Lianna White“Healthiest Cupcake” Award: Lianna White’s gluten-free carrot raisin walnut cupcake.

 

nataliemccaskellLand of Unicorns: Natalie McCaskill-Meyers’s unicorn cupcakes won an Honorable Mention Award and “Best Youth Cupcake” Award.

 

judgesThe Hard Part: The judging begins!

 

judging2Tastes and Scents: The judging continues!

 

debbielazinskyCupcake Joy: Debbie Lazinsky of GreenStar Natural Foods Market samples the cupcake submissions.

 

alternativesfcuColoring Contest: Volunteers from Alternatives Federal Credit Union run the Coloring Contest for Under-8’s.

 

jacobparkercarverJacob Parker Carver of the Mental Health Association in Tompkins County sets up an interactive mental health quiz for attendees.

 

amyleviereAmy LeViere of the Community Foundation of Tompkins County welcomes the contestants.

 

IMG_9981Lee-Ellen Marvin, executive director of the Suicide Prevention & Crisis Service, thanks The Sophie Fund for being a catalyst for change in suicide prevention in Tompkins County.

 

yukojinguMeet the VIP Judges: Yuko Jingu (friend and co-worker of Sophie)

 

deleilanormanMeet the VIP Judges: Daleila Norman of GreenStar Natural Foods Market

 

ameliasauterMeet the VIP Judges: Amelia Sauter of Felicia’s Atomic Brewhouse and Bakery

 

Mary Sever Schoonmaker“Richest Cupcake” Award: Mary Sever Schoonmaker receives a GreenStar gift certificate for her chocolate zucchini cupcakes with meringue frosting garnished with cashew toffee bark.

 

tamaryndecacciotti copyShe’s No. 1: Tamarynde Cacciotti with her Grand Prize award for her cream puff cupcakes with Earl Grey pastry filling and mocha buttercream frosting.

 

mickiequinnThe Maestro: Event Producer Mickie Quinn

And the Winners Are….

Here are the top three winners in the 2nd Annual Ithaca Cupcake Baking Contest organized by The Sophie Fund in the Commons on Saturday! (More winners to be posted soon!)

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Tamarynde Cacciotti won the Grand Prize

 

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Tamarynde Cacciotti’s Grand Prize winning entry: a cream puff cupcake with Earl Grey pastry filling and mocha buttercream.

 

1st Prize

$250 gift certificate for Greenstar Natural Foods Market

Tamarynde Cacciotti

2nd prize

Ali Strongwater’s 2nd Prize winning entry: a pumpkin and crystalized ginger cupcake, with whipped brown sugar icing, and open star piped frosting topped with ginger slice and sugar ghost holding candy corn

2nd Prize

La Tourelle Hotel Bistro and Spa gift certificate (one night stay, breakfast, massage)

Ali Strongwater

3rd prize

Alexander Quilty’s 3rd prize winning entry: a chocolate raspberry-filled cupcake with a raspberry buttercream frosting

3rd Prize

$100 gift certificate for Madeline’s Restaurant

Alexander Quilty

Cornell Fraternity Serves the Ithaca Community

“Service” is a word bursting with meaning for the Alpha Phi Omega–Gamma Chapter Service Team, as we have learned first-hand here at The Sophie Fund.

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A little more than a year ago, we decided to organize a cupcake baking contest in the Ithaca Commons. Our idea was to raise some money for mental health initiatives, bring some cupcake joy to Ithaca, and fight the stigma around mental health and treatment. Sophie (’14) was an avid baker and loved baking cupcakes from an early age.

An APO brother came across some publicity for the contest and quickly contacted us. She said she would encourage APO Gamma brothers to bake some cupcakes, but she also wanted to know “if there was any way our brothers could help out.”

Our answer was “Yes!” The truth was that we had thrown the contest together at the last minute, and we desperately needed help with logistics on event day. APO Gamma dispatched a dozen or so brothers to the Bernie Milton Pavilion who helped with everything from registering scores of contestants, inventorying the cupcakes for panels of judges, preparing awards certificates for the winners, and mopping up the site afterwards. The flood of contestants was much more than we anticipated. The 1st Annual Cupcake Baking Contest was a big success.

APO Gamma, we couldn’t have done it without you!

In January, APO Gamma was ready to start talking about how they could support the 2nd Annual Ithaca Cupcake Baking Contest 10 months away. In numerous meetings at Starbucks downtown and at Willard Straight Hall on campus (not to mention countless emails), APO Gamma helped us design a sequel that included a fun fundraising element—collecting donations for mental health initiatives and giving donors “cupcake buttons” in return.

Starting in late September, APO Gamma squads fanned out to Ho Plaza, GreenStar Natural Foods Market, and the Apple Harvest Festival to advocate for mental health, take donations for this year’s cause—suicide prevention—and promote the cupcake contest to be held in the Commons on October 14. APO Gamma raised more than $500, well above our expectations.

More important, the brothers’ presence on campus and in the community generated further awareness and prompted conversations that make a difference and could save a life. We know from Sophie’s experience with depression and anxiety, which led her to take a health leave of absence only six months away from graduation, how important it is to know that there is help, that people care.

At The Sophie Fund, we are overwhelmed not only by APO Gamma’s aid with fundraising and contest logistics, but by the heart that the brothers put into their service to the community. We know that APO Gamma is involved around the clock in so many other projects supporting mental health. It is truly something to admire.

We’re expecting a larger turnout for the 2017 cupcake contest. Once again, it wouldn’t happen without APO Gamma.

(Editor’s Note: This blog post written by The Sophie Fund originally appeared October 10, 2017 on the Service Blog of Alpha Phi Omega—Gamma Chapter)

Photo Caption: APO Gamma brothers volunteering for the 2016 Ithaca Cupcake Baking Contest

Thank You, GreenStar!

The Sophie Fund expresses it sincere thanks to GreenStar Natural Foods Market for supporting the upcoming 2nd Annual Ithaca Cupcake Baking Contest in the Commons this Saturday—we couldn’t have done it without you!

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GreenStar is the contest’s premier sponsor for the second year in a row, providing crucial financial backing and donating prizes. GreenStar’s baker Daleila Norman will again serve as one of the contest’s three “VIP” judges.

Not only that: GreenStar welcomed student organizations from Cornell University and Ithaca College into its stores to raise money on behalf of The Sophie Fund for suicide prevention efforts in the community.

In advance of the cupcake contest on October 14, Active Minds at Ithaca College collected donations at GreenStar’s West End hub, while the Cornell service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega–Gamma Chapter raised funds at GreenStar’s Collegetown location.

GreenStar also designated The Sophie Fund as a recipient in the “Bring Your Own Bag, Use it for Good” donations program for the months of October, November, and December (along with The SPCA of Tompkins County and Get Your GreenBack Tompkins).

The Sophie Fund is honored by GreenStar’s embrace. Ithaca wouldn’t be Ithaca without GreenStar, which for 47 years has promoted fresh, whole foods, sustainable living, and the transformative power of a strong local economy. It’s no exaggeration to say that GreenStar is Ithaca, considering that it is a community-based consumer cooperative owned by over 12,000 members.

GreenStar operates three food markets—there’s one in the DeWitt Mall in addition to the Buffalo Street and College Avenue locations. It cultivates relationships with local growers and producers and runs classes in everything from breast wellness to brewing Kombucha tea and wrapping Vietnamese spring rolls.

GreenStar also manages a host of community projects. They include the Community Meals Program, the Local Childhood Nutrition Collaborative, Quarterly Local Food Networking Sessions, Hot Potato Press.

And did we mention baking? GreenStar’s bakery is famous for its cakes, pies, cookies, muffins, and of course… cupcakes!

See everybody at the 2nd Annual Ithaca Cupcake Contest in the Commons—contestants can submit their entries from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the Bernie Milton Pavilion. Winners announced at awards ceremony at 3 p.m. and online at www.thesophiefund.org.

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Photo caption: The GreenStar Team

The Great Ithaca Cupcake Bake Off

Warm up your ovens! The 2nd Annual Ithaca Cupcake Baking Contest will be held in the Commons on Saturday October 14.

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Contestants of all ages are invited to enter their tasty masterpieces, which will be eligible for more than $500 in prizes. The contest is open to amateur bakers only.

The contest is organized 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.

The 2nd Annual Ithaca Cupcake Baking Contest is sponsored by the GreenStar Natural Foods Market, Alternatives Federal Credit Union, and La Tourelle Hotel, Bistro and Spa. It is also supported by Waffle Frolic, Active Minds of Ithaca College, and Alpha Phi Omega, Phi Sigma Pi and Cornell Minds Matter of Cornell University.

Sophie’s own longstanding passion for baking and cupcakes inspired the launch of the contest. 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.

To enter the cupcake contest, entrants are asked to bring their submissions to the Bernie Milton Pavilion in the Ithaca Commons from 10–11:30 a.m. on Saturday October 14. The winners will be announced and prizes awarded at a ceremony in the Pavilion later the same day at 3 p.m.

Last year, 57 contestants participated in the bake off, with Monica Lee Cotto taking home the top prize with a pumpkin cheesecake cupcake, set in a chocolate cage and topped with a confectionery yellow and coral rose and a butterfly crisp. The Best Youth Award went to 9-year-old Natalie McCaskill-Myers, who submitted a batch of lemon cherry cupcakes laced with lavender.

Sophie was born in Johannesburg and spent her childhood living in South Africa, then France, and eventually Egypt. But she adopted Ithaca as her hometown, spending five summers in the violin program of the Suzuki Institutes at Ithaca College and then enrolling at Cornell in 2010.

In conjunction with the contest, The Sophie Fund is organizing a fundraising campaign, with monies donated to suicide prevention causes in Ithaca and Tompkins County.

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