Academy of Culinary Arts Announces Winners of ‘ACA Cupcake Wars: Miss America Challenge’

Sixteen students at the Academy of Culinary Arts at Atlantic Cape Community College combined their passion for baking with a local favorite to come up with the ACA Cupcake Wars: Miss America Challenge.

The students in Chef Educator Annmarie Chelius’ Classical Confections class each selected three or more states to create mini cupcakes representing an ingredient significant to the states or their pageant contestant.

With the judging completed Friday, Sept. 12, the top five cupcakes were all created by students Alexis Pelaschier of Sicklerville and Jennifer Vacca of Brick. The cupcakes represented the flavors of New Mexico, Virgin Islands, West Virginia, Maryland and North Carolina. But there could only be one winner, and top honors went to Pelashier’s Virgin Islands-themed vanilla cupcake with a mango filling. Pelashier said she spent countless hours during the last week working on her cupcakes to get her technique and flavors just right.

Alexis Pelaschier of Sicklerville holds her Virgin Islands-inspired mango cupcake, which took first place in the ACA Cupcake Wars: Miss America Challenge.

Alexis Pelaschier of Sicklerville holds her Virgin Islands-inspired mango cupcake, which took first place in the ACA Cupcake Wars: Miss America Challenge.

Chef Chelius also singled out runner-up Vacca for her Maryland cupcake, which used the popular Old Bay seasoning in the buttercream frosting. “Her cupcake was out of sight. She used a classical technique, but thought outside the box.”

Jennifer Vacca of Brick concocted an Old Bay buttercream frosting for her Maryland cupcake, which received praise from Chef Educator Annmarie Chelius.

Jennifer Vacca of Brick concocted an Old Bay buttercream frosting for her Maryland cupcake, which received praise from Chef Educator Annmarie Chelius.

Contestants included: Emma Wuillerman of Hammonton – Alabama, Arkansas and Minnesota; Alison Sayles of Somerdale – Missouri, Montana and South Carolina; Katherine Lawrence of Upper Deerfield – Tennessee, Vermont and Washington; Arielle Masters of Vineland – Wyoming, Oklahoma and South Dakota; Jamie Eberhardt of Stratford – Pennsylvania, Kansas and Oregon; Nick Cotellese of Mullica Hill – North Dakota, New Hampshire and Connecticut; Jaymie Martin of Galloway – Maine, Nevada and Colorado; Ashley Squicciarini of Toms River – Puerto Rico, Alaska and Mississippi; Amanda Germano of Atco – Kentucky, Ohio and Illinois; Alexis Pelaschier of Sicklerville – New Mexico, Virgin Islands and West Virginia; Kelsey Radio of Franklinville – Hawaii, Georgia and Indiana; Jennifer Vacca of Brick – Maryland, North Carolina, Utah and Delaware; Megan Agren of West Deptford – California, Rhode Island and Florida; Dorothy Burkett of Hammonton – New Jersey, Massachusetts and Idaho; Christopher Gora of Sicklerville – Iowa, Wisconsin and Nebraska; and Jessica Scannapieco of Egg Harbor Township – Arizona, Washington, D.C., and New York.

The ACA has been training future chefs for more than 30 years, and recently received national accreditation from the American Culinary Federation. For more information about the ACA, call 1-800-645‑CHEF, email accadmit@atlantic.edu, or visit www.atlantic.edu/aca.

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