Sapulpa Parks and Recreation hosted a cupcake decorating contest called “Spread The Love” on February 12, 2021. Susan Bencke, Sapulpa Parks Recreation Leader told Sapulpa Times, “Since we weren’t able to host the Father/Daughter Valentine’s Dance this year due to COVID, I wanted to come up with something that would include everyone—not just fathers and their daughters—and spread a little Valentine’s Day joy in the process. The challenge was developing something that would be ‘COVID-friendly’ but still have a community aspect that brought people together in some capacity. If people missed out on participating in this, there will be a few different activities throughout the spring we’ll be announcing soon! As always, the best way to keep up with what we’re offering is by following @SapulpaParks on Facebook.”
The rules for the contest were simple: contestants had to be either residents or students of Creek County, to be amateur bakers and decorators, and, other than a single cupcake liner, the creations had to be entirely edible.
Five judges participated via a Zoom call. They were Joan Riley, City Manager for the City of Sapulpa, Julia Choquette, Life Events Manager for the Sapulpa Times, Johnie and Julie Brown, owners and creators of GiGi’s Gourmet Popcorn, Christa and Jonathan Jantz, owners and creators of Pinkitzel Cupcakes & Candy, and Shawna Merritt, CMB, owner and creator of Merritt’s Bakery.
There were three age categories: youth, for ages 12 and under, teen, for ages 13-17, and adult, for ages 18 and up.
In the youth category, four-year-old Frances Storjohann submitted 3 cupcakes in the shape of a heart with a smiley face made of icing and sprinkles. She said, “I made my cupcakes in the shape of a heart with a smiley face because I love my family.” Frances was the only contestant in her age category, so she won first place by default, although the judges said they would have had a hard time not voting for her to win on her smile alone!
Members of the Sapulpa Equality Board also submitted cupcakes. Natasha Stevenson for the teen category, Kerry Burkhead, VanOrr Burkhead III, and Jennifer Stevenson for the adult category. Natasha’s cupcake, a simple, yet beautiful, silver iced one with white sprinkles, was the only teen cupcake and won first place in her category. Natasha, Kerry, VanOrr and Jennifer had this to say about the experience of baking and decorating their cupcakes:
“The Sapulpa Equality group was enthusiastic about the opportunity to come together to bake and decorate cupcakes to share with the community of Sapulpa! [We] found this opportunity to be the chance to show diversity is a part of everything in life and is involved in many things we all love, such as cupcakes! The message to spread love and understanding is important in our day and time. The Sapulpa Equality group challenges our community to get out there and see for [themselves] and help spread the love. There are places in our town that have so much culture and history and teach us about the people we share our community with. Sapulpa Equality acknowledges the concept of diversity through acceptance and respect and understands that everyone is unique. Like our cupcakes, we are all decorated differently with so much love to spread!
Our cupcakes, baked with love, have many different flavors, including vanilla, red velvet, chocolate, butter pecan, and strawberry, as well as many different edible decorations and icings. The Sapulpa Equality group enjoyed the quality time spent together and hope to ‘Spread the Love’ to our community of Sapulpa!”
The adult category was a contest among lifelong friends. VanOrr said he “had fun” and that it wasn’t about who won. They all liked getting together and baking their own unique creation. The third-place winner was VanOrr, with a simple chocolate iced cupcake with the classic XO symbolizing hugs and kisses made with little heart candies, second place was Kerry, with a blue iced cupcake with clouds and a rainbow made of sour candy, and first place was Jennifer, who made three cupcakes! The judges’ favorite was one with a white and pink flower.