When Drink Eat Play asked me to be a judge at the 4th annual LA Cupcake Challenge, I didn’t quite realize the magnitude of my cupcake commitment. Eating and judging nearly three dozen cupcakes is a lot more difficult than you’d imagine. Most of my favorites didn’t make the finals, including the Chocolate Truffle from The Cake Mamas shown above (right). The dense, moist cake under a stiff buttercream with bold chocolate and controlled sweetness made it one of my winners.
Another favorite was the PB&J Cupcake from Sugar Babies Cupcakery. I was expecting too sweet, but instead was treated to perfect peanut butter and jelly flavor with a light, peanut-buttery buttercream and an airy, luscious cake.
The LA Cupcake Challenge presents a unique opportunity to sample a number of bakeries and cupcakeries from all over Los Angeles. And LA has some terrific bakeries. Here’s a tip: BYOB! Bring Your Own Boxes! Bakery boxes, cupcake holders, cookie sheets — you name it, people brought it from home to help mobilize cupcakes! Handy not only at the Challenge to carry cupcakes, but also to take home the leftovers!
Congratulations to all the winners of the 2011 LA Cupcake Challenge!
My Delight Cupcakery cleaned up! Taking first place in all three categories. Their Red Velvet won Best Traditional Cupcake, followed by baker to the stars, Hansen’s Cakes and their Bridal Cupcake (above). Taking Third was Double D Cupcakes‘, Chocolate Zin Cupcake.
I was disappointed that Magnolia Bakery did not enter their Orange Cupcake into the Traditional Cupcake category. Their modern spin on my childhood favorite would have snagged my vote.
The First Place winner (above) for Best Original Cupcake is Late Night Breakfast from My Delight Cupcakery. Can you tell what it is? If you guessed Chicken n’ Waffles you’re correct. No doubt this was the most talked about and most polarizing cupcake at the Challenge. (Also shown above is My Delight’s winning Red Velvet Cupcake.) Jus Minis took Second for their Josephine, and Third went to Friandise Pastries for their Candied Sweet Potato Cupcake.
With both of their entries taking Best Traditional and Best Original, it’s no surprise that My Delight Cupcakery also took home Best Overall for their Chicken n’ Waffle creation, Late Night Breakfast. Friandise Pastries, Candied Sweet Potato was awarded Second while Jus Minis’ Josephine, pictured above, took Third. In case you’re wondering, a Josephine is vanilla cake filled with caramel, topped with Nutella frosting, a caramelized pear and agave phyllo crisp.
Top Chef Just Desserts contestant Danielle Keene’s Bitter Sweet Treats presented this pretty Chocolate W/ Meringue and Honeycomb.
Garnering quite a buzz was Fairy Cake’s Pineapple Right Side Up Cupcakes.
Not too surprising, a bakery by the name of Double D Cupcakes had some of the best Displays. The Root Beer Float Cupcake, above.
The third place winner in Best Traditional Cupcake came from Double D Cupcakes, the Chocolate Zin Cupcake.
Cake Pop brought their Red Velvet on a stick and covered it in a white chocolate shell. Gimmicky, but I was pleasantly surprised by the clean flavors and moist texture of the cake on the inside.
Also from Cake Pop was this Peanut Butter Cup. While it was peanut-buttery and chocolaty, which I love, it seemed somewhat out of place at a cupcake challenge; it seemed more like a bon bon.
This plate of varied cupcakes is the pie chart of the Challenge. While there were many types of different, beautiful cupcakes, like those from Stephanie Sparkles (above), the Red Velvet was the most popular entry.
Salted Caramel Chocolate (background) and Pineapple Upside Down Cupcakes from Goodie Girls. I had the Salted Caramel leftover the next day and it was sublime. Sweet, but sublime.
For more 2011 LA Cupcake Challenge coverage, check out this epic analysis of all 32 Cupcakes from Losanjealous.