Monday, September 29, 2008

Death by Cupcake - DC's 1st Cupcake Contest

At first thought, being a Judge in DC's 1st Annual Cupcake Contest may sound like fun and glitz and glamour, but ohhhh no my friend. For myself and the other 4 Judges, it was quite the gluttonous debauch. Covered in frosting and crumbs, we taste tested 27 different cupcakes from 9 different bakers in order to determine who would get bragging rights for being the winner of DC's 1st Annual Cupcake Contest.
The contest was held in the beautiful Patterson Mansion at 15 Dupont Circle, which is owned by the Washington Club. I arrived a little early to take pictures of the contestants setting up their tables:

The ladies representing 52 Cupcakes set up their table

Mollie of making her cupcakes pretty!

Baking in the Amateur category, Yours Truly, Cupcake, sets up their cupcakes

Also baking in the Amateur category, Sarah Burton and her husband frost some cupcakes.
As attendees begin to arrive, the Judges and I headed back to our separate judging room and began the sugar overload! Here's a look at some of the cupcakes we tasted:

All entrants submitted one chocolate cupcake with white frosting, one yellow cupcake with chocolate frosting, and a wildcard. The wildcard really was wild - one cupcake had a goat cheese frosting and pine nuts! While there were a lot of great chocolate and wild card submissions, I've got to be honest and say that I wasn't impressed by any of the yellow cupcakes. A lot of them were very dry, and many of the chocolate frosting's bordered on tasting like Duncan Hines.
The cupcakes were brought to us one group at a time. We were not told who the cupcakes were from to make sure everything was kept fair. We would each have three cupcakes to taste from that entrant, evaluate the cupcakes on a number of factors (decoration was not taken into consideration), and then record our scores for each cupcake on a scale of 1-10. We would add up the three scores for each cupcake, and that would be the entrant's final score. After almost an hour of scoring and taste testing all of this:

we had two clear winners! One for the Amateur category and one for the Professional category.
Amateur Category Winner: Mollie Ohlhaut. My favorite one of Mollie's submissions was her deep rich chocolate cake with a chocolate pudding center. If I didn't have to eat 26 other cupcakes, I would have taken down this whole thing. It was topped with chopped nuts and bits of good! I wasn't crazy about her yellow cake, but I will say that the frosting was delicious. The wild card was a Chocolate cupcake with raspberry filling. It was flavorful and rich, just like the other chocolate submission, and the raspberry filling was great.

Professional Category Winner: Sharon White of Nostalgia Cupcakes (opening in Annapolis later this year). Sharon entered a great Chocolate cupcake with creamy sweet vanilla frosting, and her wildcard was one of the favorites - a Rollo know, like the candy!

In terms of my own scoring, the highest score I awarded for a wildcard actually went to Tiffany Rose Goodyear for her Carrot Cake Cupcake. It was spicy - chock full of nutmeg and other spices. The frosting was also very good.
The highest score I gave for a Yellow Cupcake went to 52 Cupcakes. It was the lightest and sweetest of all the yellow cupcakes submitted, which in my mind is just how a yellow cake should taste.
And lastly, the highest score I gave for a Chocolate Cupcake was to the Amateur category winner, Mollie Ohlhaut.
I hope everyone who went had a good time! Aside from feeling like I was in a sugar coma, it was lots of fun and I really enjoyed having the opportunity to take part in this fun event, meeting loads of great cupcake lovers, and meeting a lot of the blog readers!!

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