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Baking With A Box





For food competitions: Filling, frosting, glazing, pie filling, and meringue, (whether uncooked or cooked) are not permitted to contain cream cheese, sour cream, heavy cream, or whipped cream as the nature of these products increases the moisture content and water activity of the food. Foods with a higher moisture content and water activity can be ideal growing conditions for food borne pathogens, even if the ingredient is part of a batter and baked. Additionally, raw milk, raw milk products or uncooked eggs/egg whites are not permitted. Eggs/egg whites that have been cooked to 160°F (i.e. pasteurized or included as part of a batter and baked) are acceptable. No home-canned fruits, vegetables, or meats are permitted in products. Recipes must be provided that show which ingredients were used in each part of the product. Contestants should carefully wash their hands and make sure that their hands do not have any open cuts before preparing foods. Contestants should not be preparing food exhibits for competition within 48 hours of recovering from any illness. Whenever possible, baked products should be transported and stored in chilled coolers (41°F).

Judges and individuals who will consume products from county and state competitions should be informed that they are at risk for foodborne illness since the established policy cannot guarantee that an entry which may be a "potentially hazardous food" has been properly prepared or handled before, during or following the competition. Tasting of a food product is solely at the discretion of the judge. Judges are NOT to taste any low-acid or acidified preserved food, like green beans or tomato products, and are discouraged from tasting any other home preserved food.

Consumers of competitive food exhibits being sold at auction or used for hospitality purposes should be notified they could be at risk for foodborne illness since the established policy cannot guarantee that an entry which may be a “potentially hazardous food” has been properly prepared or handled before, during, or following the competition.

Purdue Extension Food Safety Policy
(revised 11/2013)



Complete a Foods Manuals:

Members are required to complete a minimum two (2) activities in the 4-H Foods Manual (listed on the "Contents" page) along with the Record Sheet in the back of the manual. If you are already taking Foods, the 2 activities completed count for both Foods and Baking with a Box. Project manual MUST accompany the exhibit.


1. Cover label with clear plastic wrap so that it will not become grease stained.

2. Tape label to the paper plate or container before the product is wrapped.

Recipe or index cards:

1. A recipe card or index card (no larger than 5 1/2" x 8 1/2") is required for all food exhibits. Be sure to include the recipe source and all the information requested in the exhibit description, as well as your name, county, and grade level/exhibit option. It is recommended that you wrap the card in plastic wrap or in a plastic bag. Recipe cards will not be returned.

2. Since it is illegal in the State of Indiana for youth under the age of 21 to purchase or consume alcoholic beverages, 4-H members are to use recipes that do not include an alcoholic beverage as an ingredient. A suitable non-alcoholic or imitation product may be substituded.

How to prepare products for display.

1. Most food products should be displayed on a paper or foam plate.

2. For cakes - cut a piece of cardboard about 1/2 inch larger than the bottom of the cake. Cover this cardboard with wax paper, plastic wrap, or foil before putting the cake on it.

3. Any other product that may be sticky on the bottom, such as some fancy breads, should be put on round, square, or rectangle cardboard. Cover this cardboard with wax paper, plastic wrap, or foil before putting the food product on it.

4. Frozen food exhibits (containers and food) will not be returned to the exhibitor. Please display in freezer bags or disposable freezer containers.

5. Pies should be exhibited in disposable pie tin.



 Level A

Grade 3: Three (3) snack sized drop, molded, or bar baked cookies from a mix. No glaze or frosting. Include recipe card and display on a dessert size paper of foam plate.

Grade 4: Three (3) standard sized muffins of any kind from a mix. They must contain an ingredient that is a source of Vitamin A or Vitamin C (no muffin liners). Attach recipe card.

Level B

Grade 5: Layer cake from a mix (no frosting). Reduce the amount of fat in the recipe by using a fruit puree or baby food fruit product that does not contain yogurt. Attach recipe card.

Grade 6: Three (3) no-yeast sweet or savory rolled biscuits (no drop biscuits) or Three (3) no-yeast any shape pretzels from a mix. Attach recipe card.

Level C

Grade 7: A loaf of yeast bread of any type from a mix (You may still use a bread machine with this project). Attach recipe card.

Grade 8: Modify a mix in some way (such as: add cherries or caramel to a dessert, put fresh fruit in a muffin mix, substitute applesauce for part of the oil or combine mixes, etc) Be creative. Attach recipe card.

Grade 9:  Make something using frozen or refrigerated biscuits, crescent rolls, and/or phyllo dough as the base. Attach recipe card.

Level D

Grade 10: A single or double crust baked fruit pie. Only the crust must come from a mix, or be ready-made (refrigerated or frozen). Filling and topping can either be from a can, mix, or be made from scratch. (Note: Custards, cream, cream cheese frosting and fillings, and raw egg white frosting are not acceptable in an exhibit because they are highly perishable when left at room temp.) Attach recipe card.

Grade 11: Prepare a “complete entree" from a box and exhibit a single serving that has been frozen (in a disposable freezer container). Attach recipe card.

Grade 12: Repurpose your cake mix for "Baking Outside the Box" (such as candy from a cake mix, snack mix using dry cake mix, tarts using brownie mix, puppy chow, etc.). Attach recipe card.

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