Monday, August 23, 2010

Cupcake Smackdown 2.0 report from Austin by Evan Baltazar

This is a special report (1 of 2) on Saturday's Cupcake Smackdown 2.0 in Austin, Texas, by Evan Baltazar of swEEts by E - thank you, Evan!







When I found out about the Cupcake Smackdown 2.0 in downtown Austin I knew attendance was a must. How could a passionate baker, cupcake lover and blogging enthusiast not? Admission was free, although donations benefiting Lights, Camera, Help,  Mobile Loaves and Fishes, and Keep Austin Dog Friendly were suggested. The days line up had great promise: there were a couple opportunities to participate in the breaking of Guinness World Records, some awesome local bakeries to try out, a cupcake pinata and a cupcake cannon!





The Cupcake Smackdown all began when Austin blogger Jennie Chen, of Miso Hungry, was determined to find Austin’s best cupcakes. Due to the turnout of last year’s organized blind taste test, sponsored by local bakeries and other vendors, a second year of the smackdown was held this past weekend August 21, 2010.





This year’s event was sponsored by some great local organizations including Scare for a Cure, a non-profit organization that puts on a huge haunted house ever year to try and raise money for a variety of local cancer charities. With the help of hundreds of volunteers, Scare for a Cure produces Austin's most extreme, full contact and interactive haunted house adventure in October and their zombies came out a little early for some cupcake fun!









In the parking lot of the Westin, the Scare for a Cure zombies stumbled and moaned their way in front of the large cupcake target. It was here that attendees could, for a small donation, shoot cupcakes out of the cupcake cannon in attempts to knock ‘em dead..or just down since technically zombies are already dead. 







I have to admit, I was a little disappointed that the cupcakes were un-iced, but frosting or not it was still amusing to watch, especially when the kids had their shot with the cannon. With only one cannon the process was a little slow so I hope next year they have a couple of cannons…





Across the street at Le Cordon Bleu (in the wonderfully cool air conditioning) cupcakes, coffee and other sweet treats were up for sale, including gluten-free and vegan options. Along the way the streets and sidewalks were covered in chalk with fun drawings and silly messages like this one..







There were about 15 local vendors all confined into a small space, making it a little difficult to browse as freely as I would have liked. People flocked around tables trying to get their hands on delicious treats including a table sponsored by The Cupcake Bar where customers got to select a cupcake flavor, filling, icing and choice of toppings, making every cupcake ordered unique to the individual. As you can imagine, this was quite a popular table!





Not having the patience to wait in line (I really wanted to try a cupcake!) at The Cupcake Bar, I managed to make my way to the front of the line at The Bellissimo Bakery, where I tried last year’s 1st Place Overall Chocolate winner. It was absolutely delicious!







We also stopped by Austin Cake Balls where we tried the Tiramisu cake ball, recommended by one of the guys behind the table. Sadly, I couldn’t get a picture of this delicious little ball before Mountain Man devoured it!




 


Unfortunately, we missed the attempts at the record breaking getting there about an hour and a half after the event had started. I would have liked to see some of the activities a little more dispersed throughout the day instead of just in the first couple of hours. That being said, it was still an enjoyable event- how can you not be happy when surrounded by that much sweet stuff!? 





There seemed to be a good turn out and everyone seemed to be having a good time in the cupcake haven that Jennie created.  I can’t wait to see what fun things she comes up with next year and I hope more cupcakeries will attend.. Austin sure does love their cupcakes!









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