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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Sunday's Cupcake Challenge Was an Orgy of Hoarding

Posted By on Tue, Mar 8, 2011 at 4:48 PM

click to enlarge Think cupcakes are out? Tell that to the people who shelled out $40 to attend Sunday's competition in SOMA. - TAMARA PALMER
  • Tamara Palmer
  • Think cupcakes are out? Tell that to the people who shelled out $40 to attend Sunday's competition in SOMA.

Sunday's Bay Area Cupcake Challenge was supposed to be a competition. Turns out it was an exercise in hoarding by excited patrons who paid $40 to spend a few hours at Mezzanine. Events like this usually offer plates for sampling, but some of the professional bakers Sunday handed out big, empty boxes to fill. And all of the contestants wisely brought enough cupcakes to allow for repeat visits to the table, perhaps making the ticket price a little easier easier to swallow.

click to enlarge The contents of our cupcake box. - TAMARA PALMER
  • Tamara Palmer
  • The contents of our cupcake box.

Some of Sunday's mini cupcakes looked inedible and some, SFoodie is sad to report, tasted that way, too, though we found some winners we'd purchase in the future. We agreed that San Francisco shop That Takes The Cake should have nabbed a Best Traditional win for its Gentlemen Prefer Red (velvet cupcake). We enjoyed the salted caramel banana cream pie from S.F.'s Kingdom Cake's, which won Best Original and second place for Best Overall, as well as the salted caramel from Alameda's Love Bites Bakeshop, which took third for Best Original and Best Overall. We were less enthused about the Best Original winner, a pink champagne affair from North Bay minichain Sift Cupcake and Dessert Bar. Still, we'll follow Sift's plans to hit the road soon with its Sift Mobile. We liked the cake and the look, just not the champagne flavor.

Our overall favorite was from SOMA's Pinkie's Bakery. Owner Cheryl Burr's devil's food with chocolate ganache, which took home second place in Best Traditional, was lovely, but her dad's recipe for carrot cake was the basis for SFoodie's overall favorite; the cream cheese frosting and hazelnut croquant sprinkled between frosting and cake clinched it. Now that's a cupcake we could get behind hoarding. We wish we had.

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Tamara Palmer

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