by Carol Higgins Taylor
Eastern Area Agency on Aging

Colorful confections were carefully lined up decorating numerous tabletops last year with their peaks of frosting standing at attention, hoping to win Cupcake Battles, a fundraiser for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s.

In the end, “Crazy Chicks” designed and baked by Donna Boyington and her sister, Renee Farrington, took the top prize. Bright yellow frosting, and fondant eyes and beak made these cupcakes look like a plate of baby chicks.

“We have a history of Alzheimer’s in our family so making these [cupcakes] for this benefit was even more meaningful for us,” said Boyington. “And winning was a real bonus.”

If you missed the fun last year, now is your chance to take part. Put on your favorite apron or get your wallet ready, because Cupcake Battles 2013 will be on Wednesday, May 1, at Kindred Nursing and Rehabilitation-Westgate, Union St., Bangor.

The theme this year is “May Day” so along with your apron, grab your thinking cap and lucky spoon (doesn’t everyone have one?) and start planning your award winning cupcakes.

“This event was very well received last year and everyone, especially our residents, was excited to see the unique and very decorative cupcakes that were on display and to watch the judging,” said Kristie Miner, admissions coordinator at Westgate. “It’s really fun to see the line form in the lobby of everyone shopping for cupcakes.”

This delicious fundraiser is a culinary way for the Westgate’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s Team, which is hosting its second annual Cupcake Battles to raise much needed funds. There are two competitive divisions to enter, commercial and noncommercial.

“We’d love to have bakers join us with their creations because it is really a great way for people to showcase cooking skills plus it is for a really great cause,” said Miner. “We also invite the public to come in and view the cupcakes and purchase their favorites. Sometimes it really is a battle of buyers because all the entries are popular.”

The cupcakes are as different as the bakers who made them. Some bakers focus on the decorations and use a standard flavored cupcake while others focus on developing unique and pleasing flavors, added Miner, remembering the baker who used Bailey’s Irish Cream in her cupcakes.

Entries may be submitted until 1 p.m.; judging begins at 1:30 p.m. Being a judge myself, I hope you will come out, hopefully with a plate of cupcakes in hand, say, “Hi,” and support the cause. After the judging, around 2 p.m., the cupcakes will go up for sale.

The Cupcake Battles are just one more way to raise awareness and money for the 2013 Maine Walk to End Alzheimer’s, which will take place at 11 a.m. at locations from York Beach to Fort Kent over a five-week period.

“Our goal is to raise a record $500,000, while bringing together 4,000 participants of all ages and abilities in the fight against Alzheimer’s,” said Miner.

So just where will this half million dollars go?

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, the money this year will allow the Maine Chapter to provide services such as a 24/7 helpline, care consultation, support groups, information and education, advocacy, safety services and more, to all Mainers affected by memory disorders.

Having just celebrated its 25th year in operation, the Maine Chapter is the only statewide nonprofit agency dedicated solely to individuals living with dementia and their caregivers. More than 86 percent of the chapter’s revenue comes directly from individual contributions. Its services would not be possible without the generosity of dedicated community partners who are willing to work hard and even labor over a hot oven.

For contest rules, or more information, call Miner at Kindred Nursing and Rehabilitation-Westgate at 942-7336. Then, dust off your cupcake tins and have at it.

Carol Higgins Taylor is director of communications at Eastern Area Agency on Aging.  For information on EAAA, call 941-2865 or 800-432-7812, or go to