Every year, Cub Scouts participate in several special events such as the Pinewood Derby, but none is "sweeter" than the Cub Scout cake bake! There is no right way to hold a cake bake, so packs across the country have customized their event so that it best suits their Cub Scout families.
What Is a Cub Scout Cake Bake?
A cake bake is an event where the boys and an adult partner make and decorate a cake.
Some packs require that the project be done by males only and without the intervention of any females. Their rules say that the adult male doesn't have to be a dad; it can be any male role model or mentor that the boy has. Recognizing that some boys may not have a male figure involved in his life, other packs have eliminated this rule and allow the boy to work with any adult partner.
While most cakes are made by individual boys, packs may decide to have a den cake bake where the members of each den work together to decorate a single cake. Depending on the design the boys choose, they may be asked to bake a layer cake to use in building the den cake. The den will meet before the cake bake to assemble and decorate the cake.
Cake bakes can be held at any time during the year, but a pack may start a tradition of having it in conjunction with another event. The pack's Blue and Gold banquet is a popular timing choice.
Halloween gives the boys an opportunity to make a spooky cake.
The cake bake may have a specific theme where the boys create their own interpretation of that theme. For example, if the pack's cake competition is held during the Blue and Gold banquet, the participants may be asked to make a cake using the Blue and Gold theme.
The theme could be just about anything from cowboys to pirates. Packs may pick a Scouting-related theme such as camping, favorite Cub Scout activity or even Scouting and technology.
Competition, Auction, or Both
The Cub Scout cake bake includes a competition, an auction, or both. The competitions are not typically based on taste, so judges pick the best designs in various categories. The proceeds from the auction can benefit the pack directly or benefit a local organization.
How a competition is held varies from pack to pack, but here are some ideas.
A pack may choose to invite people from the community to judge the competition. The mayor, the school principal, a school teacher or even the high school football coach are some of the community leaders who could serve as judges. A professional baker is another good idea. Your chartered organization representative can judge the competition. Scouters from outside the pack are options too. Ask your district commissioner, your unit commissioner, or even your district executive to judge.
The judging can always be done by pack leaders, den leaders or parents. This could get a bit tricky, so use a judging method that will avoid the appearance of favoritism.
One pack has a Scout's Choice award. The boys vote with tickets. A small cup or other container is placed next to each cake. The Cub Scouts are given five tickets, and they vote by placing a ticket into the cup. They're only allowed to vote for their own cake with one ticket. The other four must be used to vote for other cakes.
The cakes are typically judged on creativity and appearance. Packs often select winners in categories such as these:
- Best Cub Scout Theme Cake
- Most Original Cake
- Best Scout History Cake
- Simplest Cake
- Longest Cake
- Flattest Cake
- Best Use of Decorations
- Smallest Cake
- Most Appealing Cake
- Best Workmanship
- Wackiest Cake
- Most Like a Birthday Cake
- Best Use of Colors
- Most Extravagant Cake
- Prettiest Icing
- Most Delicious Looking Cake
- Most Effort Cake
- Best Single Color Cake
- Best Use of Chocolate
- Best Cake by a Tiger
- Best Cake by a Wolf
- Best Cake by a Bear
- Best Cake by a Webelos*
- Best Cake by an Arrow of Light*
- Scouts' Choice Cake
*The Webelos program is designed as an 18-month program and includes both fourth and fifth graders. Prior to the Cub Scout redesign, a fourth-grade boy was called a Webelos 1, and a fifth-grade boy was called a Webelos 2 in most packs to distinguish the two grades. The program now names two ranks: Webelos and Arrow of Light. Although it is not an official Boy Scouts of America designation, many are calling the fifth graders "Arrow of Light" or "Arrows."
Some packs may give trophies to the winners, but typically, they award certificates for each category. Over the Big Moon has free printable certificates. Others can be found by searching for them online.
Sample Cake Competition Rules
The rules for the Cub Scout cake competition will vary by pack. Below is a compilation of rules used by different packs. Consider using these as a template to begin writing your own.
- Cakes must be baked by a Cub Scout and his adult partner (some rule indicate that the partner must be a male). Here are some baked-from-scratch recipes that your Cub Scout can use.
- Cakes may not be store-bought.
- Cake mixes and canned frosting may be used.
- Boys must decorate the cake on his own.
- Only edible decorations can be used.
- Small edible decorations must not be put inside a cake to avoid a choking hazard for younger kids.
- Bring your cake on a disposable serving tray which could be a piece of cardboard covered with aluminum foil.
- The cake footprint may not be larger than 9" x 13" (or some other size).
- Cakes should not have any names or den numbers on them. Boys will be issued a number for their cakes when they arrive.
- Every Scout team must clean their kitchen when their cake is complete.
- A list of ingredients should be provided.
Many packs will auction off the cakes after the judging is complete. There are a few ways to do this:
Have a silent auction. Place a bid sheet in front of each cake so people can write down their bids.
Tell the attendees to watch the bid sheet in case someone places a higher bid.
Live auctions are always fun. Your Cubmaster can serve as the auctioneer. If a family in the pack knows a professional auctioneer, he or she might be willing to donate their time to auction off the cakes.
Auctioning off the Cub Scout cakes can serve as a pack fundraiser. The money could be used toward a specific project such as the purchase of a Pinewood Derby track or it could be used in the general pack account.
Some packs use their cake auction as a service project and donate the proceeds from the auction to a local charity. A food bank, a homeless shelter and an organization that helps underprivileged children are all worthy recipients. Ask the boys which charity they would like to support. In one pack, the cake competition winner has the honor of presenting the check to a representative of the charity.
Let the community know about the auction, especially if the proceeds will be donated. Put it in the local newspaper, post it on social media and hang flyers in the windows of local businesses. One pack encourages local businesses to send a representative to the auction who would buy a cake that can be enjoyed by the employees of the business.
In a few packs, the boys themselves get to bid on the cakes. Instead of real money, they use pack currency they've earned for attending meetings, wearing their uniforms, staying on task, etc. Pack currency is known by many names such as Cub Bucks, Tiger, Wolf, Bear, and Webelos Bucks, Scout Bucks, and Cubby Bucks. This process is fun and exciting for the boys.
What Happens to the Cakes After the Competition?
If an auction is held, the cakes will obviously go home with the winners. But that isn't the only thing that you can do with Cub Scout cakes. Some packs use the cakes as dessert at their Blue and Gold banquet which saves the pack the cost of dessert. Other packs may have the boys draw numbers for a cake to take home.
Hold a cake walk to determine who gets to take the cakes home. Paste images from your theme onto 8.5" x 11" paper. Your Minecraft theme would have Steve, a creeper, Enderman, etc., for example. It's probably best to laminate them. Print smaller versions of the images, cut them out, and put them in a cup or plastic bag.
Tape the images to the floor in a circle, and have the boys stand on one of the images. Play some music for a few seconds while the boys walk around the circle. The boys stop when the music is paused. Draw one of the images, and tell the boys which one it is. The boy standing on that image gets to pick a cake. He then sits out after giving the other boys an opportunity to win a cake.
Another good idea is to donate the cakes to a local soup kitchen or hunger outreach program. Ask a program representative if it would be appropriate for the boys to deliver the cakes themselves and help serve them.
The Cub Scout cake bake has the potential to become a fierce, but friendly competition between the Cub Scout baking teams. And the enthusiastic auctions can add to the night's excitement. So expect your cake competition to become a much-anticipated annual pack event.