Wednesday, February 29, 2012

LA Cupcake Challenge 2012: The Competitors Part 3

The party goes on! Here's the next set of bakers from the LA Cupcake Challenge:

Los Angeles, CA

Classic Chocolate (not judged)

Classic Vanilla: They make this same cupcake every year. It's a classic wedding cake flavor cupcake. Nothing special.

Ontario, CA

I can't express enough how wonderful their cupcakes are. I can honestly say they are my favorite cupcakery in the area! They have won awards at every cupcake competition they have entered. They didn't disappoint at this year's LA Cupcake Challenge either. Besides how wonderful their cupcakes were, they also had a great display. Congrats to them for being so perfect!

Red Velvet Raspberry Cheesecake: AMAZING! I already love their "normal" red velvet cupcake and this cupcake really stepped it up. Loved everything about it: the graham cracker crumbs, the raspberry filling, it has everything a great cupcake should inspire to. Double yum!!

Western Breaksfast (not judged)

Pasadena, CA

Black Cherry Almond: Decent flavor, but I'm not much of an almond fan.

Blueberry Cupcake: tasted just like a blueberry muffin with frosting

Los Angeles, CA (online, catering)

Southern Red Velvet: It's hard to impress me with a red velvet and this just didn't cut it.

Pineapple Upside Down (not judged)

Monday, February 27, 2012

Cupcake Wars Leads Me to New OC Bakery

Two weeks ago I was watching the "Cupcake Love Story" episode of Cupcake Wars and was surprised to here there was a shop from Costa Mesa, CA! The owner said that they had just opened three months prior to the show. The following day I made a special trip down to Costa Mesa to find The Queen's Bakery. Not only do they sell cupcakes, but macaroons, cookies, and cake too! I'll be sharing my review later this month. Here are the competitors of this episode of Cupcake Wars:

Sweet Spils (Los Angeles, CA) online

Casereccio Cakes (Vero Beach, FL) **winner**

The Queen's Bakery (Costa Mesa, CA)

The Sweet Shoppe (Blue Ridge, FL)

Friday, February 24, 2012

LA Cupcake Challenge 2012: The Competitors Part 2

Redlands, CA (catering)

No Yo' Mamas Banana Pudding: I love a good banana pudding. This one passed the test.

El Pastelito Caliente: I wish there was more heat in the chili flavor.

Lancaster, CA

Buddafinga (not judged)

Love-Me-Mosa: Enjoyed the graham cracker crust.

San Clemente, CA (catering)

Tres Leches

Dulcita de la Creme

I didn't get to try either one because they ran out. Boo.

Los Angeles, CA (catering)

Cinnamon French Toast: the bread on top was dry, but the rest of the cupcake reminded me of a cinnamon strussel cake

Roasted Banana: tasted dry, like it had been sitting out too long

Corona, CA (catering)

Chocolate Wasted: a really good chocolate cupcake. Yum!

Pineapple Dream: great combo of flavors. Light and fluffy, one of my favorites of the day.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

LA Cupcake Challenge 2012: The Competitors Part 1

18 competitors, some new, some familiar, some winners, some TV stars. Here's the rundown of each competitor and cupcake. I've broken them down into four posts, so it's not overwhelming to see them all at once.

Riverside, CA (cater)
3rd place winner of Sugar Rush cupcake competition 2011

Buffalo Chicken: Maybe it was because it was the only savory cupcake I ate, but I loved this cupcake. The buffalo chicken that topped the cupcake was awesome!

Churro (not judged)

Valencia, CA
Winner of Food Network's Cupcake Wars

Chocolate Cherry Licorice: cupcake created on Cupcake Wars. I tried a similar cupcake from them last year and loved it. Still a great cupcake!

Spiced Chocolate: Great cake and great frosting. Loved all the chocolatey goodness!

Los Angeles, CA (cater)

Red Velvet: Their cupcakes looked the yummiest! I was excited to try them and they didn't disappoint.

Mint Chip: I liked the flavor combination of the mint and chocolate. Yum!

Glendora, CA
Winner of Cupcake Camp IE 2010

Chocolate Salted Caramel: The butter toffee that topped this cupcake was to die for! I wish I could eat this cupcake every day!

Girl Scout Samoa: tasted just like the cookie. I wish the frosting would have been less whipped and more creamy, but otherwise great.

Monday, February 20, 2012

LA Cupcake Challenge 2012 Recap

My favorite cupcake event of the entire year is the LA Cupcake Challenge. It is always well-organized and showcases the best of the best cupcakes in LA and Orange County. This year boasted some of the best cupcake shops, including several that had been on Food Network's Cupcake Wars.

This year's event took place on February 4, 2012 at the Hollywood Renaissance Hotel from 4p-7p. I arrived around 5:30p with my mom and little guy in tow. I was giddy with excitement. My excitement quickly turned into sadness as I approached the first table and was greeted with an empty display. No cupcakes. Lame.

As I began making my way around the room, I was greeted with more and more sad faces. Over half of the cupcakes were gone and the event was barely half-way over! Lucky for me, several cupcake shops had set aside cupcakes just for me. Out of 36 possible cupcakes to try, I personally ate 23, 5 of which were saved for me. So if I would have been a paying ticket-holder, I would have only gotten 18, half of the promised cupcakes.

After talking with the event organizer after-the-fact, he said the problem was with people taking more cupcakes than they should have. The event was ran exactly the same way as it has been in the past, so I was surprised this happened. I think the problem is that each vendor was not crossing their name off the ballot like they've done in the past. There was no regulation.

If something doesn't get fixed, I might not be supporting this event in the future. I think it's a great way to try lots of different cupcake vendors, but if you are not getting what you pay for, then it's not worth the drive.

Over the next few days, I'll be highlighting the vendors and cupcakes I did try. Stay tuned for some cupcake goodness!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Homer Cupcake by B Sweet Catering

B Sweet Catering created this "Homer" inspired cupcake in honor of The Simpson's 500th episode airing this Sunday. I love the creative cupcakes they come up with!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Sour Patch Kid Cupcakes from Cookies and Cups

I bookmarked this recipe about a month ago and have been waiting for the right moment to make for my friend Carrie who LOVES sour patch kids. Cookies and Cups' recipe even includes how to make the sour sugar. Check out the full recipe here.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Closed: SweetSpot Baker's Workshop

This weekend my husband and I were at the Irvine Spectrum and noticed that SweetSpot Baker's Workshop is gone. To be honest, I was actually surprised it lasted as long as it did. They had a fun concept idea (I wrote about it back in 2008), but I just didn't see too much potential for it at the Spectrum. SweetSpot replaced Sweet Lorraine's, another failed cupcake shop, so I wonder what will be the next replacement?

Friday, February 10, 2012

Review: The Sugar Me Bakery

New year, new me. I went from being a full-time accountant/obsessive triathlete/cupcake lover to a full-time mom/semi-obsessive triathlete/cupcake lover. I love being a mom, especially since I can now get things done in the middle of the day. The old me had to review cupcakeries at night or on the weekends. The new me can visit cupcakeries at any time of day. That means more reviews! I'm on a mission to review every cupcake shop in Orange County.

My first stop is The Sugar Me Bakery, located in a Bagel Me! store in Orange, CA. Hard to believe this was the first time I've tried these cupcakes since they are just down the street from my house!

I picked up three cupcakes to devour, I mean taste. My first thought was that the cupcakes were decorated, something that you don't see often at a cupcake shop. How could I resist getting a cupcake with a cute little umbrella?

Tequila Sunrise: Orange cake with tequila filling and topped with grenadine buttercream. This cupcake was full of all kinds of flavors. The orange cake was moist and tasty. The consistency of the frosting was different than you'd expect because of the grenadine. I've never had a frosting like this before. It was delicious! Since I'm not a drinker, the tequila was a little strong for me.

Black & Tan: Guiness cake with harp lager buttercream. I loved the chocolate cake on this cupcake. Very moist and chocolaty. The frosting had a thick consistency and you could definitely taste the harp lager.

Marble: Chocolate and vanilla cake topped with chocolate/vanilla buttercream. This was my favorite of the three. Both the chocolate and vanilla cakes were moist. I loved how they were swirled together so each bite was different than the other. Both frostings were thick and creamy. The combination of the chocolate and vanilla was perfect!

Cupcakes at Sugar Me Bakery sell for $3.75 each. That's more expensive than Sprinkles! Since they are BIG cupcakes, I guess that justifies the higher price. Since I stopped by late in the afternoon, the selection was slim. Also, the cashier didn't know much about the cupcakes. I guess that's what happens when cupcakes are sold in a bagel shop. The cake was moist in each of the cupcakes I tried. I also enjoyed all of the frostings, which happens pretty infrequently to me.

The cupcakes weren't the only beautiful-looking items at the store. I was eyeing the decorated sugar cookies too. Yum! I'm saving those for my return trip. The Sugar Me Bakery is a great place to stop for a quick, decent cupcake.

3533 E. Chapman Ave., #C
Orange, CA 92869
cupcakes available 9am daily

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

cupcakes, cookies, & pie, oh my! is here

Karen Tack and Alan Richardson have done it again! Authors of "Hello, Cupcake!" and "What's New, Cupcake?" have come out with a third book, "cupcakes, cookies, & pie, oh my!"

I got my hands on a copy and am amazed by their talents again! I've already picked a few that I want to try right away. I'm thinking of making the sk8er cake for my husband for Valentine's Day.

Have you seen the new book yet? Which decorated dessert are you excited to make?

Monday, February 6, 2012

Valentine's Day Cupcakes 2012

Valentine's Day is just over a week away and I'm so excited because it's all about yummy, sweet desserts for me. Every year my husband surprises me with a special treat. Wonder what it will be this year?

If you're planning on baking cupcakes for your special someone, here are a few ideas from some of my favorite blogs.

Valentine Baby Bundt Cakes from Love From the Oven

Valentine Neapolitan Cupcakes from Six Sisters Stuff

Strawberry Fudge from Cookies and Cups

Red Velvet Cupcakes from Bakerella

Valentine's Rose Cupcakes from Bakers Royale

Friday, February 3, 2012

Cupcake Wars: I Love Lucy

Bakers competed for a chance to display their cupcakes at an "I Love Lucy" 60th Anniversary party. This was one of my favorite shows growing up, so I LOVED this episode!

Cupprimo Cupcakery (Austin, TX)

Ava's Cupcake Shoppe & Cafe (Rockaway, NJ) **Winner**

Baby Cakes (Torrance, CA)
*(I met and tried their cupcakes at the LA Cupcake Challenge two years ago.)

East End Cupcakes (Portland, ME)

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Cupcakes for a Cause: Help 4-year old Brayden

We already know cupcakes are wonderful, but I've found that they taste so much sweeter when they are baked for a good cause.

The 4-year-old nephew of one of my best friends has been diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. Renowned Events Care Foundation is hosting a 5k walk this Saturday to raise money to save Brayden's life. My friend's kids spent yesterday afternoon selling fresh-squeezed orange juice and cupcakes to raise money for Saturday's 5k walk. I love homemade cupcakes and these chocolate cupcakes tasted so delicious! Due to the generosity of their neighbors, the kids raised $95. Those are some powerful cupcakes!

You too can donate money to help Brayden by attending this Saturday's 5k walk in Corona, CA or by sending a check to Renowned Events Care Foudnation at:

625 S. Pale St., La Habra, CA 90631

You can read more about Brayden here.


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