A local Moriarty High School sophomore is bringing her love of baking to an international competition called The Greatest Baker. Alaralynn Gunderson, an amateur-hobbyist baker, said she was minding her own business at work last week when her mom got in touch and told her about an baking competition opportunity.

The teen said she started baking when she was 9 years old. “My mom inspired me. She is always in the kitchen and everything she makes is so good. She brings a lot of joy to others,” Gunderson said.

She said her mom is a hobbyist baker too, and has baked many cakes for friends and family including birthdays and weddings.

She said her interest in baking gradually grew over the years as she watched her mom bring smiles to people’s faces and thought, “I want to do that!”

“When I was nine, I wanted a carrot cake. So we used one of my great-grandma’s recipes and that was the first cake I made,” she said.

She said a couple of years ago she found a recipe for an Oreo chocolate cake and wanted to bake it for a 4-H project. After making it a few times and adding adjustments to the recipe to make it her own, it became her signature piece and the cake she entered for the competition.

She said her mom taught her the basics and from there she went online and taught herself how to decorate by watching videos.

She said her great-grandma was also an avid baker who “always had a freezer filled with desserts.”

Gunderson said her best baking secret is that “a recipe is just a starting place, there is always room to add and take away to improve the recipe.” She added, “Recipes aren’t set in stone. Make it your own and show your ideas through your baking.”

She said she likes to interchange ingredients in her recipes, for example, using coffee instead of water in a chocolate cake recipe.

She said she has entered several 4-H competitions as well, and won.

The Greatest Baker is one of the largest online baking competitions in the world. The winner will receive worldwide recognition as The Greatest Baker of the 2021 spring competition and be featured in Bake from Scratch Magazine, in addition to $20,000.

To vote for Alaralynn Gunderson, visit greatestbaker.com.

The Top 15 voting category is open from May 11-20.

The Top 10 voting category is open from May 20-27.

The Top 5 voting category is open from May 27 to June 3.

The Finals will be open for voting from June 25 to July 1. On July 1 the winner will be announced.