Sweet success in Vero Beach raises funds for Team Fox

VERO BEACH — Attendees of the Team Fox Cupcake Challenge at the Heritage Center went home with a bit of a sugar high, after an evening spent sampling a mouthwatering assortment of sweet treats. 

The event was hosted by Judy Graves and Janie Graves Hoover to raise money for the Michael J. Fox Foundation, an organization dedicated to finding a cure for Parkinson’s disease. The sisters will be participating in the New York City Marathon on Nov. 7 as members of Team Fox to honor their mother, who passed away this past April from complications related to Parkinson’s, and their father, who also has the disease. 

They have pledged to raise $5,000 for the organization and the Cupcake Challenge Friday evening was a way to assist in that effort.

“We love cupcakes, and this seemed like it would be a fun event,” said Judy.  “Lots of people are excited about it and it’s helping to promote local businesses as well.”

In addition to three professional bakers, a number of promising young chefs were competing, with a strong showing from students in elementary, middle and high school.

The friends and classmates who had come to show their support lent a festive buzz to the room as they flitted from one table to the next, mingling with adults whose diets had been abandoned for a good cause.

Each $10 ticket equated to 10 votes (additional votes could also be purchased) and after sampling the 15 cupcake entries, attendees cast votes for their favorites. 

Seven finalists were determined based on those votes, and then judges Laurie Sihombing, Vero Beach Mayor Kevin Sawnick and Cindy Roden chose the winners for Best Decoration, Best Icing and Best Cake in both the individual and professional categories.

Cassie Nicolace, a student at Storm Grove Middle School went all out creative with Strawberry Cupcakes decorated to look like adorable little pigs. With cute-as-can-be faces, made of marshmallow snouts, pink-grapefruit jelly ears and button candy eyes, the cupcakes won the prize for Best Decoration.

Maria Lawson’s entry was a batch of chocolaty Cocoa Pound Cake cupcakes, which her son Ryan admitted was his favorite variety.

Best friends and Vero Beach High School students Calli Swarts, Megan Murphy and Chelsea Cooley giggled shyly that they entered because they thought it would be a fun thing to do together and help out a good cause. 

The girls teamed up to make Very Vanilla Glamour Cakes – rich vanilla bean cupcakes with vanilla buttercream frosting.

Sisters Emma Glaser, a student at Osceola Magnet School and Lauren Glaser, a student at Gifford Middle School won the prize of Best Icing for their scrumptious lemon cream frosting atop a lemon cream cake.

Amelia Graves added a little kick to her cupcakes with a pinch of cayenne pepper in both the chocolate cake and the cinnamon icing and it paid off; the sweet and spicy cupcakes won the award for Best Cake.

The three professional bakers that submitted entries were Casereccio Cakes, Classy Cupcakes and Frosting Cupcakes.

Emilee and Debi Adkins of Classy Cupcakes entered two varieties. Red Velvet cupcakes with cream cheese icing were decorated with chopped pecans and topped with candy red foxes, representing the Team Fox logo. 

Their pumpkin spiced cupcakes with cinnamon cream cheese frosting and decorated with pie-crust leaves to look like the top of a pie, won for Best Decoration.

The brother and sister team, Ryan Wykoff and Ashlee Wykoff of Frosting Cupcakes submitted four entries including white cupcakes with vanilla frosting that had been dipped in white chocolate and topped with sugar lace.  Another was a traditional Red Velvet cupcake with cream cheese frosting topped with a chocolate curl, and a third was a chocolate cupcake topped with vanilla buttercream.

They won the Best Cake award for their yummy chocolate cupcakes topped with a cookies and cream buttercream icing.

Cassandra and Paul Conti of Casereccio Cakes were awarded both the Best Icing designation and the Team Fox Best Overall Cupcake 2010 for their elegant cupcakes.  Their sophisticated champagne cupcakes with an Italian buttercream icing were topped with silver Parkinson’s remembrance ribbons made of fondant.

“We will do it again next year,” said Janie Graves Hoover.  “Maybe for this organization, or maybe for another charity.”  {igallery 273}

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