Arts & Life

Lemon Scones Take the Cake at The Star Baker Awards!

Written by Sarah Sheehan | Jun 12, 2018 4:47 PM
Lemon Scones

Photo by Joanne Cassaro

This past Saturday at Willow Valley Communities in Lancaster, 29 Pennsylvania home cooks competed in WITF's first amateur baking competition, The Star Baker Awards. With inspiration from PBS's The Great British Baking Show, each contestant presented their best bake, vying for the title of Star Baker. Contestants competed in four categories: Sweet Signature, Savory Signature, Sweet Showstopper and Savory Showstopper. A fifth award, the People's Choice Star Baker, was determined by the 285 voting guests.

Happy Guests

Photo by Joanne Cassaro

Tasting Guests were all smiles when they sampled the three Savory Signature and twenty-three Sweet Signature bakes.

The Judges' Quarters, a quiet conference room outside of the hubbub of the tasting rooms, are where six official judges had the task of tasting and scoring 36 entries. Inside, Cedric Barberet, Owner & Partner of Bistro Barberet & Bakery, Tony Gorick, Co-Creator of Fig Table of Fig Industries, Sharon Landis, Owner of Zest!, Michael Long, Editor & Former Food Writer of LNP & LancasterOnline.com, Kristen Richards, Head Baker and Pastry Chef at The Pressroom Restaurant and Shelley Cohen Hershey of WITF, each tasted about 20 different entries, scoring on a mix of taste, presentation and innovation.

3 Tier Fruit and Herb Cake

Photo by Joanne Cassaro

Emily Mishler of New Cumberland won the Star Baker Award for Sweet Showstopper with her Three Tier Fruit & Herb Cake

Although a fierce competition, with bakes you would expect to come from a high-end bakery, the competitors were warm, engaging and supportive. Guests raved over the number of beautiful, "scrummy" bakes. Flowers on every table offered a pleasant tranquility to the taste, emulating the lush English garden setting of The Great British Baking Show.  

The amateur bakers came from the worlds of accounting, architecture, grounds keeping, homemaking, operations management, marketing, data science, education and aerospace defense. But, one thing they all had in common: their passion and love of baking had been honed by hours in their own kitchens, not at culinary school or at work. WITF was excited to showcase and celebrate their talents.

After the tasting, all enjoyed a preview screening of the first episode of The Great British Baking Show. The original cast of comedic hosts, Mel and Sue, and our endearing but demanding judges, Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry are back. The crowd delighted as 12 new amateur bakers tackled an upside down cake for the Signature, a barely-there recipe for rum babas in the Technical Challenge and a hidden design cake in the Showstopper. This season will prove to be another win with audiences. It returns to WITF TV on June 22 at 9pm.

After the screening, WITF's host of Smart Talk, Scott LaMar, had the honor of announcing the winners of The Star Baker Awards. WITF congratulates all of the bakers for a job well done!

Winners Group Shot

Photo by Joanne Cassaro

Star Bakers: Teresa Witmer, Jacob Kreider, Emily Mishler and Heather Eddahmouni

The winners are:

Honorable Mentions:

Elisa Cotelo of Mechanicsburg for her Lavender & Rosemary Shortbread Cookies

Alice Garnett of Ronks for her Petit Fours

Irit Goldman of York for her Alfajores with Caramel Mousse

Debra Martin Berkoski of Conestoga for her Peanut Butter Cheesecake Bites with a Splash of Dark Chocolate

Savory Showstopper: Heather Eddahmouni of Stewartstown for her Moroccan Zeilook Star Brioche

Sweet Showstopper: Emily Mishler of New Cumberland for her Three Tier Fruit & Herb Cake

Savory Signature: Jacob Kreider of Harrisburg for his Jacob's Southern Pickle Biscuits

Sweet Signature: Teresa Witmer of Carlisle for her Lemon Blueberry Scones with a Twist

People's Choice: Teresa Witmer of Carlisle for her Lemon Blueberry Scones with a Twist

That's right! A double congratulations to Teresa Witmer, for being the chosen favorite among official judges and the people alike!

A recipe for our next baking inspiration: watch the first TWO episodes of The Great British Baking Show on WITF TV, Friday, June 22 beginning at 9pm.

The Star Baker Awards are supported by:

Willow Valley Communities logo

Wilbur logo A Tea Affair logo Zest! logo

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