A confectioner woman decorates a cake on a table in the kitchen.

Baking contests allow contestants to show off their baking skills and judges and visitors to enjoy the fruits of contestants’ baking labors. An important aspect of any contest is the rules. If you’re planning a baking contest for your community, company or nonprofit organization, and you’d like help making some of the decisions required, consider forming a Baking Contest Committee. Together, you can consider the following when developing the contest rules. Make the rules available with the contestant form so that potential participants can consider them before signing up for the contest.

Determine the types of baked goods contestants may enter, including pies, cakes, cookies, breads, muffins and so on. Some baking contests focus on a theme like double-crust fruit pies or chocolate chip cookies. Other themes could be gluten-free, vegan baked goods, or nuts, fruits, and natural sweeteners like honey and molasses. Consider offering contestants multiple baking categories so that some may enter a sugar-free pie while others enter cheesecake.

Determine who may enter the baking contest, including the age of contestants, their gender, whether they must be members of an organization or employed by a particular company and how many contestants may enter.

Consider how many entries each contestant may have?just one cake? Two batches of scones? One loaf of yeast bread and one made without yeast?

Decide how contestants enter the contest, including whether they have to raise money or pay a fee, what forms must be filled out and where the payment and forms should be sent. You should also consider whether the contest forms should include a space for the contestant to write the recipe she is going to bake for the contest.

Consider the criteria the judges will use to choose winners and what the prizes will be. For example, if the baking contest is strictly for cakes, how high, deep and wide must each cake be? Must cakes be round, square or rectangle? How many layers must each have? What other criteria will the judges consider (such as overall appearance, crust, flavor, texture and so on)?

Decide who will judge the baked goods, including professional bakers, community members or leaders, peers, teachers, coworkers and so on.

Choose how many winners there will be and what they will go home with, for example, awards, badges, trophies, contributions to charity made in their names, money or gift certificates.