Now let the cupcake wars begin

Part of summer time fun is attending and taking part in the contests held during county fairs.

This will be the third year for the Jefferson County Farm Bureau promotion and education committee to sponsor “Cupcake Wars” with youth participating as teams to design something that designates the fun of summer through cupcakes.

This is open to youth from the third grade through 12th grade, according to Mary Ellen Grafton, chairman. Six teams are all that the Betty Rozsa pavilion can handle at a time.

A minimum of 24 regular-size cupcakes or 48 bite-size ones are the stipulated amount that can be used to make a design on the cake boards. There is more information on the Farm Bureau website, along with entry blanks.

Cupcakes are fun to make and fun to eat. And they are fun to create into a sight of summer and be judged for prizes. Most butter-type cakes can be baked as cupcakes. Grease and flour a muffin pan or line cups with paper bake cups. Fill cups half full with batter. Bake at the same temperature called for in the cake recipe but reduce the baking time by one-third to one-half. Cool, frost and decorate as desired.

The contest asks that the cupcakes be made with a fruit or vegetable of summer, things found at a farmer’s market. The deadline for entry is July 15.


Carrots are found in a farmer’s garden and make a moist cupcake. This recipe is from the Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook. Cream cheese is always a good choice for the type of frosting to use but use any idea that sounds yummy to you.

Carrot Cake

4 eggs, beaten

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

3 cups very finely shredded carrots, lightly packed

3/4 cup cooking oil

Allow eggs to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before using. Meanwhile, grease 24 muffin tins or use paper cup liners but spray the inside of the cups with non-stick spray. This keeps the cupcake from sticking to the paper when it is time to enjoy it. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and baking soda. Set aside. In another bowl, combine eggs, carrots and oil. Add egg mixture to flour mixture. Stir until combined. Pour batter into the prepared muffin pans, filling only slightly over half full. Bake 18 to 20 minutes and test with a toothpick for doneness. Leave in muffin tins until cooled. Frost if desired. Makes 24 cupcakes.

Note: The carrots should be finely shredded or they may sink to the bottom of the cupcake in baking.


I was surprised to open the “Cooking for Your Gluten Free Teen” cookbook and see a recipe for cupcakes.

This is good for mothers of children who would like a bit of birthday celebration with cupcakes like everyone else. Heavy cream is used in place of any other form, such as butter, sour cream or cream cheese.

Yellow Gluten Free Cupcakes

3 eggs

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

1 tablespoon vanilla

1 teaspoon cider vinegar

2 cups gluten-free all- purpose flour or a flour of choice with xanthan gum in the mix

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 12-cup muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray. Insert paper cupcake liners and lightly spray the insides of the liners. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs until light and lemon colored. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add heavy cream and beat until light and smooth. Add vanilla and vinegar. Beat to mix. In a separate medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Whisk to mix. Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in three batches, beating well to form a smooth batter. If it becomes too thick for the mixer, scrape down the blades and finish mixing with a large spoon or silicone spatula. Divide evenly in 12 muffin pans. Let rest for 5 minutes. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. When completely cool, remove from pan and frost with a favorite icing.

White Frosting

4 cups confectioners’ sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup milk or nondairy alternative, such as almond milk

1 stick unsalted butter, softened

2 teaspoons vanilla

1/8 teaspoon almond extract

Sift sugar and salt into a large bowl. Add milk, butter and flavorings. Using a handheld mixer, beat on low to combine. Increase the speed and beat until the frosting is smooth. Add more milk, 1 tablespoon at a time to achieve the desired consistency. The frosting will thicken when refrigerated.

Note: To make chocolate frosting, add 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder to the confectioners’ sugar before mixing. This makes a large amount of frosting. Put remainder in a plastic container and keep in refrigerator for up to two weeks.


Cupcakes with fruit could include applesauce and some cinnamon flavoring. Try these and see what you think.

Applesauce Cupcakes

6 tablespoons butter

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

2/3 cup brown sugar

1 1/2 cups applesauce

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with baking cups. Melt butter on high in microwave for about 45 seconds. Cool slightly. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt into a large mixing bowl. In another bowl, whisk eggs and brown sugar. Stir in applesauce and melted butter until the mixture is smooth. Pour apple mixture over flour mixture. Mix with a wooden spoon until combined and fill baking cups about two-thirds full with batter. Bake for 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Frost with cream cheese frosting.

Cream Cheese


3-ounce package softened cream cheese

1/4 cup softened butter

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups powdered sugar

1 to 2 tablespoons milk or enough to make it of spreadable consistency.

Beat cream cheese, butter and vanilla together until smooth. Gradually add powdered sugar and milk until smooth.


Peanut butter combined with cake batter makes a heavenly cupcake. Top them with a caramel frosting, and you have a cupcake to take your breath away. This recipe is from Kitchen Keepsakes Cookbook.

Peanut Butter


1/2 cup peanut butter

1/3 cup shortening

1 1/2 cups brown sugar

2 eggs

2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup milk

Cream peanut butter and shortening. Slowly beat in brown sugar. Add eggs, beating until fluffy. sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Add alternately with milk, beating after each addition. Fill paper baking cups, Put in muffin tins until half full. Bake at 375 degrees for 18 to 20 minutes. Cool in pans and remove to a plate to be frosted.

Caramel Icing

1/3 cup butter

1 cup brown sugar, packed

1/4 cup milk

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/4 cups powdered sugar

Melt butter in a saucepan. Stir in brown sugar and cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add milk and salt and continue stirring until it comes to a boil. Boil for 3 minutes; remove from heat and cool. Add vanilla and stir well. Beat in powdered sugar until icing is of a good spreading consistency.

(McCoy can be contacted at