Few things bring out the child in us like cupcakes or the chance to win prizes. When holding a cupcake contest, there are a few rules that should be posted and observed. Paramount among those are rules of eligibility, including age and residency, as well as deadlines. Including a list of prizes in the rules also is a good idea. Also, list whether there will be any entry fees.
Consider whether you want to allow contestants to use box cake mixes or whether you want submissions to be made from scratch. This rule may apply to frostings as well. Also, are the cupcakes to be prepared on-site or can they be baked and decorated elsewhere and brought to the judges?
Determine judging criteria in your rules. Some contests base judging on design originality, taste and ease of preparation. Others require contestants to make several types of cupcakes--for instance, a chocolate cupcake, a yellow cupcake and a wildcard cupcake that is left up to the contestant's imagination. Contestants should bring copies of the recipes for their submissions, or you can set a deadline for recipes to be submitted.
Tasting and Visual Presentation
Stipulate how many samples are to be brought for judges. Also indicate whether photos of the cupcakes can be e-mailed or mailed prior to the contest or whether they will be judged on-site for appearance. As with the recipe, make certain the deadline for photo submissions is clear in the rules.
If contestants use nuts in their cupcakes or frostings, they should make this clear to judges prior to tasting. Even the smallest allergy to nuts can cause anaphylaxis, so it's better to nix a cupcake rather than cart off a judge. This also should apply to other potential food allergies, including coconut, which is a common flavoring in cupcakes, and gluten. Also, make sure you include contact information should any questions arise before the deadline.