^ Brian and Susan (Susie) Van Ness of Susie Sunshine Sweets
Nine county bakers entered the first Licking County Cupcake Bake Off competition Wednesday, March 28 at the new Explore Licking County visitor center 5 S Third Street in Newark as part of Tasty Buns & Craft Beer Week in the county. When the judging was complete, Susie Sunshine Sweets captured the blue ribbon with their Maple Carrot Cake cupcake earning a total of 365 points out of a possible perfect score of 400. The maple carrot cake cupcake had a honey buttercream frosting with honey crusted pecans and featured locally sourced ingredients from Maple Valley Farms (maple syrup), Harv’s Bees (honey), Goumas Confections (white chocolate), and Sebastian Farms (eggs).
^ Blue ribbon Maple Carrot Cake cupcake
All contestants included locally sourced ingredients in their recipes. Contestants included DiZurts Custom Cakes (Heath), TanniCakes (Newark), Susie Sunshine Sweets Granville, Uncle Giant (Newark), Bella Cakes by Beth (Johnstown), Creative Cakes by Rachel (Newark), Alfie’s Wholesome Food (Granville), Gluten & Grain Free Gourmet (Heath), and Sweet 23 (Newark).
^ Cupcake judges receive instructions
Cupcakes were sampled and judged based on appearance, creativity, quality, and flavor by a distinguished panel that included The Honorable Jeff Hall, Mayor of the City of Newark, The Honorable Rick Black, Licking County Commissioner, June McCarthy, former chef at the Governor’s Residence and retired home economics teacher at Newark City Schools, Jennifer McDonald, President of the Licking County Chamber of Commerce. Validating the score sheet tabulations was Aden Hardesty of Wilson, Shannon & Snow, CPAs and Advisors, Newark.