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Winter Park / Maitland Observer Friday, Nov. 2, 2018 2 years ago

Dress for Success Greater Orlando set to host Eighth annual Cupcake Challenge

Locals can support the mission of Dress for Success while eating some delicious cupcakes at the Eighth annual Cupcake Challenge this weekend.
by: Tim Freed Managing Editor

Everybody loves a sweet, delicious cupcake.

Winter Park-based nonprofit Dress for Success Greater Orlando will host its eighth annual Cupcake Challenge from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 4, at the UCF Rosen College of Hospitality to help raise money for its cause.

All proceeds from ticket sales will benefit the nonprofit, which empowers women to be successful by providing them with professional attire for job interviews — as well as development tools to help them further their careers. It’s meant to give women financial independence to serve their families and strengthen their communities, PR and Marketing Director Lauren Sedam said.

The challenge is one of the organization’s largest fundraising events of the year, alongside its annual Hats Off to Success luncheon in the spring. Local bakeries from the Central Florida area go head-to-head and compete for awards such as Crowd Favorite, Best Presentation and Best Frosting. The bakeries also make a special cupcake that they submit to judges for a shot at Best Overall.

This year’s Cupcake Challenge has the theme of “Fall Harvest,” so guests can expect to appease their appetite for autumn flavors.

“When we started this event, that was when cupcakes were kind of exploding on the scene,” Sedam said. “That was the big trend in desserts, with a lot of cupcake bakeries out there. Since then, it’s become a favorite and fun one. It opens it up to families which is a big part of our mission.”

Jillian Hopke, of Jillycakes in Winter Park, has competed in the competition almost every year since the event’s inception.

“This will be our seventh year with the Cupcake Challenge; we always sort of place-mark this event, because it’s a good cause,” Hopke said. “You talk about underprivileged people and (people) are like ‘Oh, just get a job.’ They need facilities to do that, which is training for interviews and clothes to wear to interviews and all that stuff. Dress for Success is the most directly responsible for helping people in that mode instead of just reprimanding people who are having a rough go at life. We really like that part of it.”

Hopke wouldn’t reveal too much about her approach to this year’s entry but hinted that it would take on the flavor of a cl

assic holiday side dish instead of a dessert.

Shelley Thompson, of Central Florida Cakes in the Lake Mary/Sanford area, also is returning to the competition. She said it’s a sweet feeling being part of an event that benefits such a special cause.

“I absolutely love what they’re doing for women with Dress for Success,” Thompson said. “I’m a single mother myself, so I have just a high level of respect for what they’re doing for women.”

Tim Freed was the managing editor for the West Orange Times & Observer and the Southwest Orange Observer. He previously spent six years covering the Winter Park/Maitland area and is a graduate of the University of Central Florida.


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