First, let me say, I loved it. I took a girlfriend and we waited almost no time in line on the Hollywood Blvd. sidewalk outside the Montmartre Lounge to have our names crossed off the list. We climbed the red carpeted stairs to the event, picked up an empty wine glass and a voting sheet, and began the tour de force of cupcake tastings.
Now let me admit, I could have planned better. There were two bakeries stationed at the entrance, then some white leather sofas for lounging, and then a giant room full of booth after booth of cupcake bakeries, displaying their concoctions and handing out mini-versions. I had no idea just how many samples I'd end up eating. So for the first couple of mini-cupcakes, I ate the entire things. I shouldn't have. As the afternoon rolled on, I too felt I would soon be rolling on... I ended up needing to cut back and take single bites of sample cupcakes in order to try as many as possible.
On a side note, as you can see above, I wore my cupcake tee for the occasion. The shirt says Make Cupcakes Not War. And because of that silly shirt, I was approached by three media outlets: LA Weekly, ABC 7, and the Food Network. In the pic below, I'm being interviewed for the Food Network. They made me promise to enter my own cupcakes in next year's L.A. Cupcake Challenge. What did I just get myself into!?
Returning your attention to cupcakes (and away from t-shirts), many of the cupcake flavors were traditional, such as red velvet, chocolate, and vanilla, though there were variations among even those. For example, one red velvet had sugar crystals, another was strictly vegan. Many of the cupcakes were creative, in both presentation, and flavor combinations. I was really pleased with the variety. Here are just a few of the cupcakes I sampled yesterday.
Mandarin orange cupcake with pistachio frosting from Sugar Jones
Chocolate cupcakes with a beer-caramel sauce from Lucky Devils
Lemon cupcakes from BabyCakes Baking Company
Root beer float cupcake complete with straw (so cool!) from Yummy Cupcakes
Peanut butter and jelly cupcake from The Oinkster
Red velvet, Elvis, and another I can't remember from Violet's Cakes
Strawberry cupcake from Leyna's Baby Cakes
Red velvet cupcakes from Hotcakes Bakes
I went home satiated, sick, vowing never to eat another cupcake in my life, and unable to do anything but lie sprawled out on my couch and watch my latest recorded Ugly Betty episode. But I have to tell you, despite all the queasiness post-event, the experience of being in a room filled with bakery booths - and all the sensory and mental happiness that comes with that - was one of the most amazing food experiences I've had.
Oh, and a couple hours after the event, I managed to eat an apple and a small cucumber. Still waiting for my sweet tooth to grow back...
Note: The winners of the L.A. Cupcake Challenge were not announced at the event so that attendees would have the full three hours to cast their vote. Check back later to find out who won!