Judging the Cupcake Challenge

Yesterday, I got to be a "celebrity judge" in a cupcake challenge put together by Drink Eat Play. So between judging cupcakes and eating at the Taste of LA the day before that, I pretty much spent the whole weekend eating and gaining weight I guess.

The cupcake challenge consisted of a selection of cupcakes from over 10 Los Angeles cupcake shops and bakeries showing up to three different cupcake flavors each. A percentage of the ticket proceeds went to the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS foundation.

I was super excited to be one of the official judges and prepared by not having breakfast that morning, however nothing could have prepared me for tasting 30 different cupcakes in one afternoon!!

I was one of nine celeb judges that included Sam Rubin, a host from KTLA, Los Angeles Magazine, Caroline on Crack, Eating L.A. and LAist among others. We were judging in three categories: Best Traditional Cupcake, Most Original Cupcake (most unique) and Best Overall Cupcake and picking 1st, 2nd and 3rd place in each category. After the first few we started cutting them in half and sharing with the judge next to us and by the end I was even spitting them out after I put them in my mouth, like it was a wine tasting or something. It was harder than I thought, but heck if someone has to do this dirty job, I'll gladly do it ;) One of the judges likened the cupcake judging to a "competitive sport" as we trudged along. I thought that was funny so I wrote the comment down. Besides us judges everyone there could vote too and sample just as many cupcakes if they chose to.

My favorites were Vanilla Bake Shop's red velvet, the zesty lemon from BabyCakes Baking Company and Sweet Sugar Jones' Paradise cupcake (pineapple & coconut with a cherry on top), which tasted like a fruity drink.

For best overall cupcake though, I really adored the pretty strawberrilicious cupcakes form Leyna's Kitchen (online orders only), which almost looked like a cartoon drawing and tasted very moist and sweet.

And for the most original cupcake I loved the Blood Orange Fudge cupcake from Essential Chocolate Desserts in Culver City.

The official winners were:

Best Traditional

1st place: Vanilla Bake Shop Red Velvet (judges' choice)

2nd place: Yummy Cupcakes Red Velvet

3rd place: Hotcakes Red Velvet (public's choice)

Best Original:

1st place: Sugar Jones "Paradise" (judges' choice)

2nd place: The Oinkster Peanut Butter and Jelly

3rd place: Essential Chocolate Desserts "Blood Orange Fudge"

**Public's choice was Leyna's Strawberrilicious

Best Overall:

1st place: Leyna's Kitchen "Strawberrilicious"(public's choice) (picture attached)

2nd place: Sugar Jones "Paradise" (judges' choice)

3rd place: The Oinkster Peanut Butter and Jelly

And as if you weren't hungry enough, here are some photos of Vanilla's Meyer Lemon Raspberry cupcakes and the resulting cupcake debris:
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