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Cupcake battle
4-H members duke it out for culinary supremacy
Its been said the cupcake is a muffin consumed by magic. Maybe so, but young Brantley Thomasson is only concerned with the chocolate icing.

A cupcake can be a work of art constructed from an assortment of ingredients, with flour, powdered sugar and chocolate being some key items going into the miniature creations.
Cupcakes can be dated back to 1796 when a notation was made in a cooking publication, saying “A light cake to bake in small cups.” Cupcake recipes were included in a cookbook from 1828, and are enjoying mass popularity today. 
Warren County 4-H members were able to show their creative cupcake side during the first Cupcake Battle organized by Extension agents Sha Davis and Emily Mote. The contest had three divisions 4 – 5 grades, 6 – 8 grades and 9 – 12 grades. Bakers could submit either three cupcakes or a collection of 15 or more making a pull-apart cake. 
The entries were judged 50 percent for their outside appearance, 30 percent on flavor and 20 percent on inside appearance. 
“We thought this would be fun for the children,” said Davis. “We decided to not have the bread baking contest this year and see how the cupcakes went.”
Judges Erin Thomasson and Paula May took the challenge of nibbling their way through the numerous entries, and coming up with winners.
“It was not an easy task,” said Thomasson. “We are both very impressed with the creativity shown by these children and their parents. You could tell much research and time went into the creative designs.”
Winners in the competition include:
4-5th Grade Cupcake Cake (Pull-apart cake) First, Aleah Davis; second, Addyson Creighton; third, Emeline Bell;
6 – 8th Grade Cupcake Cake – First, Grace Sparkman; second, Elizabeth Baker; third, Zoie Conner;
4-5th Grade Individual Cupcake – First, Asa Hillis, second, Aleah Davis; third, Alondra Lassiter;
6-8th Grade Individual Cupcake – First, Keaton McGinness; second, Jake Mayes; third KeyLe Rhea
Some delicious cupcake recipes to prepare and share with your family follow:
Keaton McGinness’ Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
1 box chocolate cake mix
1 can pumpkin (14 ounce)
Mix as directed on box.
1 container vanilla frosting
½ cup peanut butter
15 miniature peanut butter cup candies, wrapper removed, cut in half vertically.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put prepared batter in cupcake liners and bake as directed on box.
Combine vanilla frosting and peanut butter in medium bowl. Stir until smooth. Frost cupcake and top with candy piece. Makes 30 cupcakes. 

Asa Hillis’ Sunflower Creations
1 box yellow cake mix
Water, vegetable oil and eggs called for on cake mix box
1/3 cup lemon curd (from 11 1/4-ounce jar)
1 package (3 ounce) cream cheese, softened
Frosting and Decorations
Yellow food color
1 container whipped fluffy white frosting
4 to 5 tubes (4.25 ounces each) yellow decorating icing
1/2 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
Sour candy straws, if desired

Heat oven to 350 degrees (for dark or nonstick pans). Place paper baking cup in each of 24 regular-size muffin cups. Make and bake cake mix as directed on box for 24 cupcakes. Cool in pans 10 minutes; remove from pans to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.
By slowly moving end of round handle of wooden spoon back and forth, make deep, 3/4-inch-wide indentation in center of top of each cupcake, not quite to bottom (wiggle end of spoon in cupcake to make opening large enough).
In medium bowl, beat lemon curd and cream cheese with electric mixer on medium speed until blended. Spoon into small resealable food-storage plastic bag; seal bag. Cut 3/8-inch tip off 1 bottom corner of bag. Insert tip of bag into top of each cupcake; squeeze bag to fill cupcake.
Stir 4 drops food color into frosting until pale yellow. Frost cupcakes.
Place unopened icing tube in tall drinking glass filled with hot tap water for 15 minutes. Remove from water; wipe dry. Knead tube gently with hands to soften. Using leaf tip on icing tube, pipe 2 concentric circles of leaves, starting with outside edge of cupcake and working toward center; leave quarter-size area in center with just frosting. Carefully spoon 1 teaspoon chocolate chips onto center of each cupcake; press into frosting. Arrange on tray using sour candy straws for stems and leaves. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Loosely cover and refrigerate any remaining cupcakes.