Twenty-one amateur bakers brought their best cakes and pastries to Everedy Square and Shab Row Saturday for the shopping area’s first baking contest.
Two sets of judges, one for each category, got to feed their sweet tooth during the contest’s cake or pastry categories with desserts like white chocolate cranberry cake, lemon cake with lemon curd, Maryland mud brownies, lemon bars with mint garnish, bear claws and more.
Apple Reese, marketing manager for Everedy Square and Shab Row, got the idea for a baking contest as she’s a fan of The Great British Baking Show.
“And I thought, ‘I wonder if we could try it,’” she said. “Of course we were never going to be able to have ovens on site, so it all had to be made at home. But it turned out to be very popular.”
Reese said as soon as she announced that there would be a contest, about 20 people had reached out to her within a week that were interested in participating.
“There are a lot of amateur bakers that live in Frederick,” Reese said. “And they all came out of the woodwork to do this contest.”
Eleven contestants competed in the cake category and 10 competed in the pastry category.
After winners were announced, Reese said she thought the first baking contest went well as it had a great turnout. About 30 people were in attendance to watch each category.
“And that gets exposure for the shops,” she said. “The whole point is to bring the people here so that they come for an event, but then they come and shop.”
Tara Viers, of Frederick, won the cake category with a Guinness chocolate cake with ganache filling and Baileys frosting.
She was completely surprised when she won, explaining that there were a lot of good cakes in the contest.
Viers has been baking since the 1980s. She chose to bake the Guinness and Baileys cake because it’s her brother’s favorite.
“I bake it for him,” she said. “Initially, it was his birthday cake and it’s become a family favorite. I’ll do it in different ways, I’ll bake it as a cake or I’ll do cupcakes. I carved it to make it look like a beer mug one time, so it’s the same cake with different versions.”
As first-place winner, Viers won a gift certificate for one class at Primitive Homespuns Wool and Needleworks, a Le Niche Boutique notebook and pen, a lingerie soak gift set and bra fitting at The Perfect Fit and a $25 gift certificate to Frederick Basket Company.
Jeff Richmond, a judge during the cake category of the baking contest, said he’s a “big chocolate fan” so he was excited to try all of the different chocolate cakes.
“It was really creative,” he said of Vier’s cake. “And you could taste a little bit of the Baileys as well. Very delicious, very moist and very flavorful.”
Richmond asked to be a judge because he loves baking and eating competitions.
“It was a lot of fun,” he said afterwards. “I’m feeling very full right now.”
Kelly McGuire, of Mount Airy, won the pastry category with her bacon, cheddar and chive scones.
She said she was surprised she won because all of the other pastries looked really good and “were very nicely put together.”
She bakes as a hobby and said her treats are often requested by friends and coworkers.
“The item that I baked is my most requested from people at work,” she said.
McGuire walked away with multiple prizes, including a Primitive Homespuns battery-operated candle, dry shampoo and hairspray from Unique Studio Hair Salon, honey, vanilla mint tea and olive oil soap from Shab Row Tea Emporium, a Frederick Coin Exchange coin and a $20 gift certificate from Footlights.
The baking contest was just a small part of Mayfest, part of First Saturday in downtown Frederick. The annual event features performers and musical guests, circus performers, fire dancers and art contests throughout downtown.