In celebration of the holidays my LA Cupcakes MeetUp group had a cupcake swap, where everyone bakes and brings enough cupcakes for those attending and then receives a cupcake from each person. Thus, getting a whole new assorted batch of cupcakes to sample or take home. I also put together three prize packs for The Best Cupcake, The Best Decorated Cupcakes and The Most Unique Cupcake (flavor or otherwise).
Now as I blogged before, I'm not much of a baker. I can cook, I just can't bake. However, I think I made a pretty good Red Velvet cupcake. Granted I bought the cream cheese frosting and found a holiday wreath design online to emulate, but it still took a good deal of time and attention--the main things that I do not like about baking in the first place. I tried though to incorporate the tips I learned during the baking class that I took though, like putting a cookie sheet under my cupcake tray to spread the heat evenly. In the end my cupcakes were nice and moist although I'm not sure how "red velvet" they ended up tasting, probably could have used some more cocoa powder. Here they are:
I was pretty proud of the outcome, until I saw everyone else's cupcakes. The following two won the best decorated cupcakes, the first is a lively chocolate garden, the second group is by Gigi Cakes (which we all thought was store bought until she revealed she frosted both the peppermint mocha and ginger spice cupcakes herself.)
The Best Cupcake went to Alexis' peppermint cookies & cream batch (recipe is on her blog):
The Most Innovative went to sampling of mini Horchata cupcakes and there was also a Jack Daniel's frosted cupcakes that I thought was pretty original too. Best presentation easily went to Charity from Wholesome Cakes who brought her organic meringue whole wheat vanilla filled cupcakes in a basket and placed them in plastic cups and arranged them like a sweet tooth's dream bouquet.
Fun holiday cupcakes are a great gift idea, but are not complete without some sweet treats!