Cupcake Throwdown moves closer to Food-Network reality
It isn’t only my inner foodie speaking when I say that the Culinary Society’s Cupcake Throwdown was the best thing that happened to me all week. On Friday evening, November 12, nine teams vied for the grand title for baking up the best cupcake on campus. Held in Hotung Cafe, nine flavours both classic and unusual competed in taste, appearance, and creativity.
I came unprepared for the intensity of the event; college-level bake-offs are no girl scout cooking demonstrations. All the cupcakes presented were intricate creations composed of varying parts with fancy ingredients that blend together in cupcake-ful synchrony. All cupcakes presented had frosting (cream cheese was the most popular frosting flavour) and most had filled centers. Some even went the extra step with details such as coconut flakes or chocolate designs. Indeed I was quite blown away by the efforts put in by the contestants.
The judging panel, which included Kickass Cupcake’s founder Sara Ross and last year’s chocolate chip cookie throwdown winner Lynne Koester, deligently tasted and retasted the various creations before awarding this year’s throwdown champion title to Aiyana Ryan for her Caribbean-inspired cupcakes. However, all nine cupcakes presented each had their own unique edge and, for me, the best part was getting to taste a bit of everything. Ah, Friday night + nine delicious cupcakes to sample: what can be better?
Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes with Ceam Cheese Frosting by Stephanie:
Chocolate cake base with cream cheese frosting and cherries on top. The cherries added a nice tartness that contrasted well with the underlying layers of frosting and cake.
Pumpkin Caramel Cupcakes with Honey Cream Cheese Frosting by Devyn
Pumpkin cake base with a caramel center and honey cream cheese frosting. I loved the moist pumpkin-ness of the cake base! Very seasonal flavour.
Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting by Becca and Denise
Red velvet cake base with cream cheese frosting and strawberries on top. Sadly I didn’t get to try this one either =(
Snickerdoodle Cupcakes by Cameron
A play on the traditional snickerdoodle. The cice and cinnamon-ey cake base was complemented with beautifully piped frosting.
Vegan Cranberry Ginger Cupcakes by Allison
Vegan cake base with candied ginger chunks, a homemade cranberry filling and frosting. The little chunks of candied ginger added a great textural dimension to the soft moistness of the cake.
Boston Cream Pie by Sasha
A cake base with custard filling and chocolate ganache frosting. This one made the runner-ups, although I sadly did not get to taste it.
White chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes by Anh
A raspberry-studded cake base with white chocolate and a raspberry cream frosting. The raspberries in the cake base kept it moist, and the cream-based frosting kept sweetness levels under control. Great harmony of flavours! This one also made it to runner-ups.
3rd Place Winner:
Sweet Potato with Toasted Marshmallow Frosting by Sarah
Sweet potato cake base with toasted marshmallow frosting. After hearing all the raving reviews, I’m hitting myself on the head for not having tried any!
2nd Place Winner:
Chocolate with Salted Caramel Center and Chocolate Frosting with Sea Salt by Britney and Josh
A chocolate cake base with salted caramel filling and chocolate ganache topping with sea salt flakes on top. The sea salt was the crowning glory of this cupcake, as it added both crunch and a sweet-salty contrast. Furthermore, as commented by Joe Golia, one of the judges, the batch tasted fresh from the oven! What more can one ask for?
1st PLACE CHAMPION:
Coconut Cupcakes with Mango Curd and Cream Cheese Mascarpone Frosting by Aiyana
This cupcake had exotic flavours written all over, and despite the unusual combination everything harmonized and worked exeptionally well together. The sweet flavours of the cake and creaminess of the frosting contrasted brilliantly with the tartness of the mango curd, creating a flavour combination reminiscent of tropical fruits and warmer weather. Presentation was greatly executed as well, as can be seen by the surface decoration. Overall, a pretty little piece of artwork. Congrats Aiyana!
– Article & Photos by Winnie Zhuang