Ashlynn Johnson, Tori Rocas and Katelynn Kruger found their pot of gold Friday — and it was made of cupcakes.
The three Canajoharie girls were at the second annual Cupcake Wars event at Arkell Museum, and made sure to stop at all seven tables as bakers rushed to each decorate 20 cupcakes in 30 minutes.
When they got to Debra Hyde’s display — the Emerald Isle Treasure — they let out a collective “Whoa!”
“There’s gold, then the rainbow!” said the 8-year-old Ashlynn.
Hyde and her daughter, Jaime Linart, had just finished covering Guinness-flavored cupcakes with non-alcoholic Bailey’s frosting, all arranged in the shape of a rainbow leading to a pot of gold. The gold coins were made of fondant, an icing-like substance that was a popular ingredient at the event.
“I wanted to do those cupcakes, and I wanted to do something with Ireland,” said Hyde, restaurant owner of The Ayres House in Fort Plain.
An estimated 860 cupcakes, including the ones decorated for the contest, were for sale from $1 to $3 each at the event, which serves as a fundraiser for Canajoharie Library, which is in the same building as the museum.
Paula Szabo and her 11-year-old son left the event with six cupcakes of varying flavors.
“Some colorful ones and a big chocolate one for daddy,” said Szabo, of Sprakers.
“It’s huge,” her son, Christopher III, said. “You know why I picked that one? Because it’s huge.”
Tracy Thew, of Canajoharie, juggled two boxes of cupcakes as she browsed the gift baskets with her 9-year-old daughter, Giselle. Fifty-six baskets of gift certificates, crafts, wine and more were raffled.
“There’s a lot more cupcakes here this year that you can buy, so it’s not just a contest,” Thew said.
Then Giselle rushed off to watch the decorating.
“I want to go see the contest, Mom!” she said.
People lined up outside the museum before the event, which ran from 6 to 8 p.m. Marigrace Hoag, a library staff member who chaired the fundraiser, estimated that about 500 people attended.
“I see a large community turnout,” she said. “There’s a line all the way down the side of the sidewalk to get in, so that’s great.”
Hoag said the library hoped to raise $5,000 through the event. “It helps us with our summer [reading] program and to purchase books, and just extra things that the library can do,” she said.
Lesha Dolan, of Bridge Street Bakery & Café in St. Johnsville, was happy to support the library by donating cupcakes and also competing in the contest.
“I am a huge fan of public libraries,” she said. “I love reading books — I love everything about books. I’m sad that libraries are really struggling because everybody’s going electronic, trying to keep up with the technology, but there’s nothing like a book.”
She left the decorating of Café Latte cupcakes to her employee, Shelby Colegrove, 20, of Canajoharie.
“It’s going to be a mocha cupcake with coffee Swiss meringue butter cream, fresh whipped cream, and we’re going to have little white chocolate decorations to make it look like a little coffee cup,” Colegrove said before the competition started.
Last year, she used a blow torch to make s’more cupcakes, hoping to impress the judges, but she didn’t win that contest’s only prize. This year, she wasn’t as fancy.
“Hopefully the taste is what’s going to take it for us,” Colgrove said.
And it did.
Bridge Street Bakery & Café won the Best Tasting award. The Cakery of Dolgeville won Most Unique, and Jen Veit of Canajoharie won Best Display. The winners, who received a $100 prize, were selected by three judges — Douglas Plummer, co-owner of American Hotel in Sharon Springs; local chef Rose Marie Trapini; and Delores Talmadge, a recently retired Canajoharie High School family and consumer sciences teacher.