Last year’s winning cupcake by Monica Lee Cotto.

GreenStar Natural Foods Market is the premier sponsor for The Sophie Fund’s 2nd Annual Ithaca Cupcake Baking Contest on the Ithaca Commons on Saturday, October 14.

Contestants of all ages are invited to enter their tasty masterpieces, which will be eligible for numerous awards including a Grand Prize with a $250 value. The contest is open to amateur bakers only.

The contest is organized by The Sophie Fund, which was established in 2016 in memory of Cornell University art student Sophie Hack MacLeod to support mental health initiatives aiding young people.

Sophie’s own longstanding passion for baking and cupcakes inspired the launch of the contest. At the time of her death by suicide at age 23, while on a medical leave of absence from Cornell, Sophie was active in Ithaca’s vibrant culinary scene. According to her family, she hoped to open her own bakery after completing her Cornell degree.

To enter the cupcake contest, entrants are asked to bring their submissions to the Bernie Milton Pavilion on the Ithaca Commons from 10–11:30 a.m. on Saturday, October 14. The winners will be announced and prizes awarded at a ceremony in the Pavilion later the same day at 3 p.m.

GreenStar is sponsoring the contest for the second year in a row after being the sole backer of the 2016 contest. Also once again GreenStar’s own baker Daleila Norman will serve as one of the contest’s three “VIP” judges.

This year’s sponsors include Alternatives Federal Credit Union and La Tourelle Hotel, Bistro and Spa. The contest is also supported by Waffle Frolic, Active Minds of Ithaca College, and Alpha Phi Omega, Phi Sigma Pi, and Cornell Minds Matter of Cornell University.

Last year, 57 contestants participated in the bake-off, with Monica Lee Cotto taking home the top prize with a pumpkin cheesecake cupcake, set in a chocolate cage and topped with a confectionery yellow and coral rose and a butterfly crisp. The Best Youth Award went to 9-year-old Natalie McCaskill-Myers, who submitted a batch of lemon cherry cupcakes laced with lavender.

Sophie was born in Johannesburg and spent her childhood living in South Africa, then France, and eventually Egypt. But she adopted Ithaca as her hometown, spending five summers in the violin program of the Suzuki Institutes at Ithaca College and then enrolling at Cornell in 2010.

In conjunction with the contest, The Sophie Fund is sponsoring a fundraising campaign, with monies donated to suicide prevention causes in Ithaca and Tompkins County.

For more information on the 2nd Annual Ithaca Cupcake Baking Contest, go to

Smiling faces at the 2016 Cupcake Contest.