If a long, cozy binge of the Food Network is your idea of a great time, good news: you can bring the fun to life by hosting your very own bake-off party!
Throwing a bake-off-themed party is a great way to bring your loved ones together to bond over a little friendly competition, all while enjoying some delicious sweet treats in the process. The best part? Everyone, even the youngest kids in your circle, can participate! Here’s how to host your very own bake-off party that’ll have people celebrating your hosting skills for years to come.
Formatting your bake-off competition
As any competitive cooking show enthusiast will tell you, there are plenty of different ways that you can format a baking competition. For example, some competitions focus solely on decorating skills, while others pay closer attention to the technical aspects — and, for the most fun, you can always do a little bit of both.
No matter how you choose to structure your bake-off, though, you’ll need to set an appropriate time interval to allow for baking. You’ll probably also want to provide all the basic ingredients and supplies your bakers will need. Depending on the kind of baking competition you decide to throw, you’ll also need to let participants know ahead of time so that they can plan accordingly.
Some ideas for how you can format your bake-off:
Focus on decorating skills
If you’re short on time and/or oven space, it might be a better idea to focus on the aesthetic aspects of baking. Keep it simple by having everyone follow the same general recipe, then allowing them to decorate their creations to their heart’s content.
For this type of competition, you’ll need a recipe and basic baking ingredients (and if you want to make this as simple as possible, check out some of the recipe kits from BāKIT Box to get everything you need delivered straight to your door). Then, you can have your competitors go in with all the frosting, ganache, and sprinkles they want to create visual masterpieces. This is an especially good option if you have kids participating since they won’t have to deal with following a technical recipe or operating an oven!
If you really want to focus on testing creativity, consider doing a “mystery ingredient” challenge (a la Master Chef) in which you introduce one fun ingredient and have your bakers incorporate it into the baked treat of their choosing. Consider using something fun and slightly unexpected: for example, your favorite chocolate candy bar, a unique preserve (pepper jelly, anyone?), or exotic fruit like mangoes or guava are great ingredients. Half the fun here is seeing what kinds of creative and tasty treats your bakers can come up with!
If you want to add a little diversity to the mix and have everything make something slightly different but still related, assign a general theme for your bakers to stick to.For example, throwing a “Tea Party”-themed bake-off will give people ample amounts of opportunity to create a variety of unique sweet treats like tea cookies, cakes, scones, biscuits, and tarts that can all be enjoyed with your afternoon tea and/or coffee. This way, everyone can bring something different to the (literal) table once it comes time to feast.
Seasonal/special occasion bake-offs
If you’re throwing a party to celebrate a special occasion, consider having your bakers create themed baked goods to honor it accordingly and add a festive spin to the competition. For example:
- Best pie competition if you’re throwing your bake-off in the fall
- Gingerbread house competition during the winter
- The best use of confetti cake mix to celebrate a birthday
Decide who gets to be the judge
No competition is complete without a judge, so make sure to invite a slate of impartial judges who can play the role (since they get to try delicious baked goods as part of the job, willing participants shouldn’t be too hard to find!).
To keep things fair, you’ll also want to make a rubric for judging so that the judges can come to a conclusive agreement on who the winner of the competition is. Some categories to include in the judging process include taste, technical skill, presentation, and adherence to the competition rules.
Make it a series
As if you need any other excuse to throw a party! As every baking show enthusiast knows, the winner is hardly ever decided from just one bake-off. Keep the fun going all month long by throwing a series of three different bake-offs, with each party signifying a “round” of your baking competition. More treats and more good times with the people you love!
Allow people to compete for various categories.
If you have a huge party and a ton of people who want to participate, consider offering a variety of other prizes besides first, second, and third place. For example, you can award special prizes for:
- Best decorated
- Most creative creation
- Most delicious treat
- And of course, the best in show prize
Don’t forget the prizes
While participating in a bake-off and eating delicious goodies is fun on its own, you can’t forget to get some prizes for the winner(s) of the competition! Some ideas for prizes your baking-enthusiast winners can take home include gift cards to nice restaurants, premium baking supplies, or a subscription to BāKIT Box so that they won’t have to hit the grocery store every time they get a hankering for something sweet.
Keep plenty of to-go boxes on hand
Finally, don’t forget to plan ahead and make sure everyone has a way to take those tasty treats home with them! While shopping around for your party prep, make sure to grab several to-go boxes or containers so that everyone at your party can enjoy the sweet fruits of your party for days to come.
Whether you’re celebrating something special or just want an excuse to have some fun, throwing a bake-off party is an exciting and unique way to get the gang together, ignite some friendly competition, and satisfy some sweet tooths along the way. Game on!
Featured image credit: Photo by Andrea Piacquadio