A cake decorated with blue candy waves, a lightning bolt, a trident, and icing writing Percy Jackson.

The first Great MCPL Kid’s Bake Off is a wrap! We challenged 17 children to make their best book-inspired dessert. The catch? They had to include a mystery ingredient–beet root powder!

Each participant received a kit that included measuring spoons, beet root powder, some suggestions for baking books, and a copy of The Complete Cookbook for Young Scientists: Good Science Makes Great Food: 70+ Recipes, Experiments, & Activities to keep.

According to children’s librarian Kate Duneman, the participants had two main charges in creating their dessert–to use the secret ingredient and to tie in a book they’ve read, by decoration or taste.

“While I enjoyed seeing the different ways kids used the mystery ingredient, I think my favorite aspect was the literary tie-in and how wildly creative people were with it,” Kate said.

Some of the books and stories that inspired the desserts included The Day the Crayons Came Home by Drew Dewalt, Snow White, Wings of Fire: The Lost Heir by Tui T. Sutherland, The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter, Pinkalicious! by Victoria Kann, and Fablehaven by Brandon Mull.

With so many creative submissions, our children’s services staff had a tough time choosing a favorite. After deliberating, Amelie’s ocean-themed cake was selected as the winner! Inspired by Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series, the red velvet cake featured blue candy waves decorated with Zeus’ lightning bolt and a trident.

“The waves on top are made with isomalt,” Amelie told us. “I’ve never used isomalt before, but it was really fun to shape and I like how the waves look. Isomalt comes from another kind of beet, sugar beet!”

Amelie’s use of isomalt helped their submission stand out. “It really impressed me that kids could try out and use these techniques that many adults can’t even master,” said children’s librarian Ginny Hosler. “I am so proud of and inspired by the kids of Monroe County!”

To view photos of all of the amazing submissions, check out this Flickr album. Make sure to read the photo descriptions, which include details kids shared about their desserts, including the books that inspired the creations.

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