Twelve children divided into three teams of four: Team Cookie, Team Cake, and Team Cupcake. Reputations are on the line. This may not be a national competition, but the stakes feel just as high for these budding bakers.

The children, all between the ages of 10 and 13, are enrolled in the Armed Services YMCA’s Cooking Camp, and this week’s theme is “Cake Wars,” during which all of them will be learning everything they can about not just baking a cake from scratch, but how to build a tiered cake, how to make whipped cream and buttercream frosting, fillings, flavorings, fondants, and a whole lot more. Cakes will be made entirely from scratch—no boxed mixes here—and the week will culminate in a tasting and a judging.

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