‘Terrifyingly good’: Juniors participate in Halloween themed bake-off


Photo credit: Mia Makower

A table in the dining hall displays the treats for the annual 11th grade fall bake-off. The judges announced junior Lily Guggenheim’s devil’s food tombstone cake as the winner. 

By Lizette Gonzalez, Senior Reporter

The scent of chocolate, raspberry and s’mores filled the dining hall for the junior Halloween themed bake-off on Oct. 27. For the past three years, class representatives have planed a bake-off for the grade in the fall.

Class representative Alyssa Ponrartana acknowledged how hard it was to continue this tradition last year during remote learning and said she is excited to have everyone back for the bake-off this year. 

“It’s a fun tradition to keep continuing. We haven’t seen each other in a long time. [The bake-off] can be a good way to have class meetings without it just being the class reps talking,” Ponrartana said. “[The] goal is to have a greater sense of community and to amplify that feeling within everyone.”

Juniors Lily Guggenheim, Ava Cherniss and Zoe Woolenberg baked cupcakes and cakes that were judged on taste, presentation and how much the dessert fit the theme of Halloween. The treats had to be individually wrapped for COVID-19 precautions.

English teachers Jennifer Dohr and Brian Wogensen along with junior Lucy Lassman tasted and judged the desserts as the junior class watched in the dining hall.

“Not only did students display their talents, but I also just really loved to get the chance to eat good treats,” Lassman said. 

Guggenheim baked a chocolate devil’s food cake shaped as a tombstone with raspberry syrup that represented blood. Woolenberg competed with a chocolate cupcake that had orange vanilla frosting and Halloween themed sprinkles. Lastly, Cherniss baked a gluten-free s’more flavored cupcake. After the judges tasted the treats, pieces were also passed around to the juniors watching.

“It was a really great way to include the rest of us,” junior Chloe Terani said. “It was fun to get into the Halloween spirit.”

After the bake-off, the three judges chose a winner, and the juniors voted for their winner via a Google form. Once deliberations finished, the judges announced that Guggenheim was the winner. 

“I am so happy. I worked very hard on my cake,” Guggenheim said. “I put a lot of thought into it and I’m so glad everyone enjoyed it and appreciated my work.” 

These bake-offs really give us the opportunity to have more bonding experiences.”

— Alyssa Ponrartana

According to Lassman, Guggenheim’s effort to meet the criteria was noticeable, and ultimately, was why she was declared the winner.

“She put so much effort into really following every single criteria that was being judged it was obviously terrifyingly good too,” Lassman said. “The amount of attention to detail she put into [the cake] was obvious.”

Guggenheim said that baking is a constant in her life and said she is glad she showcased her talent during this event.

“I really love to bake, and I love to create,” Guggenheim said. “I think it’s a nice way to show my creative side, which is not something I do much at school.”

Ponrartana expressed gratitude for these type of events as the Class of 2023’s final years at Archer near.

“We’re nearing our time here, which is so scary,” Ponrartana. “These bake-offs really give us the opportunity to have more bonding experiences.”

Cherniss who participated in the bake-of this year, said she appreciated the opportunity this event gave to students who enjoy baking. 

“Everyone can see how talented some of the girls in our grade are in terms of baking,” Cherniss said. “It shed[s] light on something that we accomplish that isn’t talked about a lot.”