A baking contest for imaginative and creative teens began its second round on Monday (Jan. 10).
Joni Laberge, community youth coordinator with YAS, initiated the idea two years ago when the COVID-19 pandemic first began. Laberge got in touch with Amy Cardozo, owner of Crumbs Cakery & Café in Sparwood, and together they brought the idea into reality.
They were “scrambling” to keep kids engaged in a safe way, Laberge said.
“I think it felt like a way to connect, when quarantining and keeping separate was really new and people were weirded out by it… I think it was very comforting and fun.”
The contest involves teenagers between the ages of 12 and 18 posting pictures of home-baked creations to social media. Every week, the café posts a challenge with a required ingredient and a baking tip from Cardozo. Ambitious teens can then create their own treats using the ingredient, and post the finished product to social media, tagging the Crumbs Cakery & Café and YAS with the hashtag #sparwoodbakes2022.
“They choose what they want to do, we don’t provide the ingredients, it’s all done by them at home,” said Cardozo.
Though the first bake prompt from the café was Monday, the next five will be announced Tuesday mornings. Teens will then have a week to bake their goodies and post them online the following Monday morning.
Weekly winners are chosen on Monday evening, with gift certificate prizes to the bakery. Once the six weeks are up, the grand prize winner will get a gift certificate for an 8-inch round buttercream cake worth $55.
“Amy has been teaching baking and cooking tips with each challenge, and they build on the skills every time. There’s a great educational component and she gives really good tips,” Laberge said.
The contest is about connection, sharing, and celebrating what teens can do and what they try to do, Laberge said, adding that it also brings something to the rest of the community, because people love seeing what the kids create.
“There have been some beautiful and adorable and cool things that they’ve made… It’s been a lot of fun.”
“I think it was a little spot of joy the first one, right when people were feeling disrupted.
“I hope that we can get that same from this.”