Saturday, April 16, 2011

Cupcake Camp Boston 2011 - the review, where to begin... Shara and I drove to Somerville on a very rainy Wednesday to participate as amateur bakers. As mentioned in a post from 4/12, I have been working on my 5 spice apple cupcakes with spiced caramel buttercream and I feel rather proud of how they turned out. The cupcake is 1/2 white AP, 1/2 whole wheat pastry flour and the frosting has much less sugar and butter than other recipes. The frosting is light and fluffy and to me, has a hint of coconut, but from where, I have no idea. We got to the armory, got out of our wet jackets, hugged my niece Liz, and started setting up our "display".

The area we were put in was really dark, or at least dim. It didn't really matter because people were walking around the whole room. And that's what we did before the public was allowed in. Good thing too because once they were, it was a mob scene. We heard that last year the vendors had tons of cupcakes left over but apparently everyone learned and there was nothing left by the time we left at around 8:30 pm. People were going around with containers and cake boxes, filling them up and then going off and eating all at one time. Others, like us, went and just took from here and there. We ended up sharing lots, but in the end, I don't think I ate more than 3? cupcakes. Several people had minis and others cut their cakes in 1/2 or 1/4. I took several home and just finished them tonight. So now I feel able to critique a few.

We started with an amateur banana foster cupcake. Banana cakes stuffed with caramelized bananas. They were quite good, but a little heavy. The baker was so nice and I wish he had business cards, as I'm sure he did as well.
The next stop was Treat Cupcake Bar. This turned out to be right up there with the tastiest. Liz made a good choice by asking for the mini-reeses pieces for the frosting mix-in. Either the frosting was peanut butter (which I'm reading now they don't have), or the pieces were extremely fresh because these were really peanuty. The cake was good too.

Shara had her eye on the "south of the border" cupcake and finally got to try it. They said there was only a little bit of tequila in it. I think she really wanted the cute margarita cupcake pick on the top.

It amazed me that I am seeing pictures other people took of the event, and I swear I didn't see 1/2 of what was there. As I was walking around, I tried a piece of a cardamom chocolate cake and bite of an Oreo. Both were good. The Oreo tasted like an Oreo, so how could that be bad?

I have to be honest, I can't remember if it was Sweet or Babycakes I had at home. I think these were some of the best that I tried. I had the chocolate chocolate and vanilla vanilla. I guess I'll just have to go to each and figure out this mystery!

Biba's Baked Goods - I had to take a few of these for my vegan co-worker to try. She was very grateful and liked the chocolate one the best. She had a nice surprise when she found it filled with a creamy filling. I couldn't remember if she liked coconut or not (not), but she did like the carrot cake cupcake.

We Make Cupcakes - Roasted Banana with Honey Cinnamon Frosting, Pumpkin with Cream Cheese
These were both good, fairly light and flavorful. Not too sweet, which I consider a good thing.

Others we tried at home; 
- maple bacon - it was ok. Alan couldn't taste the bacon at all, Shara liked the frosting, and I thought the cake was too heavy but could taste a lot of the bacon.
JannaBee banana nut cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and honey brittle dust. This was good, but the banana was very mild. Shara enjoyed the sugar bee on the top. Very cute.
- Chocolate lychee brownie w/ rosewater scented buttercream - I really don't like the smell of roses, and to eat it was quite a negative experience.
- Almond Mocha Cupcake - I enjoyed talking to the baker of these cupcakes. We had a nice conversation about the merits of different types of buttercreams. I like the cake, but actually found the buttercream to be a little too buttery for me.
Party Favors from Brookline had some really good tasting cupcakes. I don't know why I was surprised. Maybe because they've been around for so long and the cakes looked very traditional? The lemon coconut was wonderful. I think there was a bit of lemon curd in between the frosting and cake. It really made the flavor stand out. The other one we tried was the chocolate chocolate mousse. It was excellent. Very chocolatey but not very sweet.

All in all, it was a great experience. We were spoiled being there before the crowds came in, but I thought people were generally respectful. I kept thinking that this is the most decadent activity I've participated in for quite a while (Hedonism would be pretty close), but it seemed like something everyone needs once in a while. What I liked about the whole event was the attendees got to have fun looking at and trying tons of beautiful, fun, delicious, cupcakes and the vendors were able to promote their products and it's a wonderful feeling when a person eats something you made and you get a positive response. I also felt happy that I was participating in a community event for a good cause. And these are cupcakes. Who isn't happy when they eat a cupcake? We had a ball! 

Read more at:
Delicious dishings
Shortcakes scraps
Tales from a kitchen misfit

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