Creative in the Kitchen

The Pumpkin Harvest Carving Contest

Clemetine 2

“Clementine”…what a gorgeous gal and winner of this year’s 30th annual Balshaw family pumpkin carving contest!  Carved by Joanna Keeley of Cape Cod, her creation featured a cabbage-patch style, stitched and stretched fabric-overlay on the carved out pumpkin.  VERY clever!

This was the first year of our annual contest that we had no children in attendance!  This event inspired the Canterbury Town Center pumpkin carving contest so all our neighbor kids were there, not here – how odd – but most of us are kids at heart so we started new traditions!

glow in the dark bracelets

We all sported glow-in-the-dark bracelets….


…and decorated our own cupcakes; recipe at the end……and carved our own pumpkins.


 The awards ceremony….


The grand prize winner, Joanna Keeley!

pumpkin collage

Thank you all for coming!

Black Bottom cupcakes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Put 18 cupcake paper liners in holes of a cupcake pan.  Mix together and have ready for the filling:

  • 8oz. room temperature cream cheese (or vegan substitute)
  • 1 egg (omit for a vegan version)
  • 1/3 cup white cane sugar
  • 6oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips

Whisk together by hand:

  • 1 1/2 cup flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free mix)
  • 1 cup white cane sugar
  • 1/4 dark cocoa powder
  • 1tsp baking soda
  • 1/2tsp salt

Mix all together then pour over dry mix above and mix just until blended:

  • 1 cup water
  • 5T good salad oil
  • 1T. cider vinegar
  • 1tsp vanilla

Immediately pour mixture into cupcake papers until 1/2 full – 18 cupcakes.  Put one heaping tablespoon full of the cream cheese mixture on the top center.  Bake for 22 minutes if using a gluten-free flour or 25 minutes for a standard cake flour.  NOTE: the cream cheese mixture sinks towards the bottom of the cakes as they bake.  Frost if desired but oh-so-good just plain!

16 thoughts on “The Pumpkin Harvest Carving Contest”

        1. I’m thinking we should change the traditional date for our PCC so we can go to the event next year. Many on our invite list from previous participation were there with you, including some of the masters!

  1. Hi Jane!

    Thanks for sharing those cupcake and carved pumpkin photos. The carving winner certainly did a beautiful job. We were impressed! As far as your contest being pre-empted by the town………….You enriched your community in yet another way. They will be doing that long after you have moved on and will be the better off for your having been in their midst.

    Love, Walter and David


    1. Your words are so kind Walter and David…I am happy you liked the post. And yes; we do feel the same way, flattered that we were copied and that the tradition of the contest will go on even without us. Happy anniversary BTW!!!

  2. Hi Jane!
    ….Just checking in! WOW! Thanks for posting your PPC photos! Clementine is honored to be the lead- in photo!
    Thanks, too, for providing a truly festive opportunityfor great FUN and for keeping up the tradition! You are an inspiration way beyond the boundaries of Canterbury, N.H.!
    Love, JoAnna

    1. Thank you for all that JoAnna. Such a pleasure to have you and your art part of the tradition. You know, you may be picking up the torch for the some of the early participants in the formation of the contest…there was no rivaling before now!

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