This past weekend, the fifth annual Cupcake Challenge was held at the Renaissance Hotel in Hollywood. Dessert lovers from throughout southern California streamed into the hotel’s ballroom to taste test over thirty different types of cupcakes. The room was thumping with upbeat music as people lined up to various tables to pick up their cupcakes.
One of the participants, The Cake Mamas of Glendora, California, was excited for the competition and presented two flavors, Girls Scout Samoa and Chocolate Salted Caramel. The Cake Mamas was a recent winner on the “Wicked” episode of the Food Network’s Cupcake Wars, where they were given the challenge to make hundreds of cupcakes for a performance of the smash musical Wicked at the Pantages Theatre in Los Angeles.
“It’s fun, I love it. It’s our community. We’re here with our two best flavors,” remarked Fabiola Gomez of The Cake Mamas on the Cupcake Challenge.
There were a number of interesting flavors on display. One entry from My Delight Cupcakery was a Western Breakfast cupcake, a light and fluffy cornbread cake loaded with pieces of applewood, smoked bacon, sweet corn kernels, a sprinkle of black pepper, and a topping of creamy honey butter frosting. Another delicious flavor was the Casanovas’ Kiss cupcake from Sugar Jones that featured a chocolate cake with pistachio custard and chocolate hazelnut frosting.
Inside and outside of the ballroom, Cupcake Challenge attendees sat with boxes and boxes of cupcakes, slowly relishing each flavor. Each person was given a yellow ballot where they were to write in the name of the choices for the top three bakeries. Edward Santiago, a resident of Hollywood, participated in the event with his brother and was in awe of the sweets.
“The past few years, there have been some great cupcakes,” said Santiago, a third-time Cupcake Challenge attendee. “Red velvet’s always a safe bet, something with chicken was good last time. Everything that looks like a meal main I’m interested in, like Western breakfast – that’s a weird combo.”
The event, organized by Drink Eat Play, will offer a number of monetary awards to the winners of the Cupcake Challenge. With over 500 votes counted, My Delight Cupcakery came in at first place, The Cake Mamas at second place, and Sweet Red Peach for third place.