Cupcakepalooza! in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn

Cupcake Take the Cakers get all sorts of unusual requests. Judging an ongoing cupcake war between a married couple (both pastry chefs) isn't the most unusual, but getting all three of us together in one place for it on a brutally hot Saturday afternoon in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn is.

Allison and Matt Robicelli (proprietors of Robicelli's Gourmet Market) got Nichelle, Rachel and I together for a tasting and judging event this weekend in Brooklyn. I had an out-of-town (yay for Sandy Eggo!) major foodie guest visiting, so Steph was able to attend and judge cupcakes as well, and if you add Nichelle's friend, Julian, and Joel Schectman of the NY Daily News, you have a group of excited cupcake enthusiasts ready for the throwdown.

Here's everyone, including Allison and Matt, "best customers ever" Victor and Andrea, and Debbie the cashier.

Allison and Matt had stayed up all night baking a gazillion cupcakes but they were still so sweet and welcoming:

And check out Matt's most excellent tattoo:

As befits his bacon-lovin' status, Matt's Elvis cupcakes looked great, even to this hard-core vegetarian photographer:

I can't recall, but I think intrepid reporter Joel was the only one to eat the Elvis:

(We cut that flavor from the judging, even though it did score a number one slot from the completely anonymous judge, above.)

The cupcake flavors were fantastic, and quite varied.

Chocolate peanut butter.

Tres leches with dulce de leche frosting.

Blueberry port (my personal fave.)

I think this one was the bananas foster with brown sugar buttercream, but I can't recall.

Here's Allison telling the gathered crowd about the baking process:

Here's Nichelle, moments prior to the judging (complete with awesome cupcake necklace):

And Rachel getting serious about judging:

Meanwhile, in my sugar high, I was distracted by cat and dog treats you can bake at home!

And assorted goodies:

Matt admitted to me that Rachel Ray is the store's neighbor and is going to feature this item on one of her shows next week. Another CTTC scoop revealed!

(I do have to say the spelling of this product was confusing to me. I kept seeing it as "You're Nuts!" like an accusation of one's nuttiness, but I guess it's more of a the nuts one owns. My own nuts. I'll mull that over.)

Anyway, back to the cupcakes:

In high-level, top-secret judging, the scores (and winner(s)) were revealed:

A tie between Matt's Blueberry Port cupcakes and Allison's Tiramisu babies. I thought both cupcakes were incredibly good, even with the high frosting to cake ratio (I prefer a higher cake to frosting ratio) and am impressed at the varied flavors, textures, and sheer volume of freshly baked goodies produced by the Robicelli's for this Cupcakepalooza!

Here's the technical judging stuff, courtesy of Allison:

"I took the chart we made yesterday with the four judges and all the cupcakes. I left your rankings (1, 2, 3) where they were, and filled in all blanks with the number 10. Then, each cupcake had all 4 numbers totalled, and the lowest score won. For example, the chocolate pb, which got no votes, got a 40, the highest possible score. One person put the tiramisu first, one person put it second, and two people didn't put it on the list, so it got a 23, which along with the Blueberry Port, tied for best score. So I went to second place to determine the winner, but my carrot cake tied again with Matt's dulce de leche. I guess it's fate! (Though technically, since I won once and we tied twice, I'm still in the lead--but don't tell Matt.) "

Okay, so I won't tell Matt but he might see it here. Oops. Sorry. The war continues, I suppose...

Future flavors we can expect from this cupcake-producing duo: chai latte, peach melba, and s'mores. I'm angling for a salted caramel, the bestest of all flavors in my opinion! The cupcakes are made with organic butter, milk and eggs, and are very fresh and flavorful. They held up remarkably well in the 90(plus)-degree heat and were all gorgeous to look at. You can really tell how much time the Robicelli's put into each part of the cupcake (frosting the berries, making sure (as Nichelle pointed out) that the banana cupcake tasted like a cupcake and not a muffin, etc.).

The Robicelli's store is too cute, very neighborhood-y, and very much filled with deliciousness. f you are in Bay Ridge (or anywhere close by) I urge you to consider a visit. There's a blog too, so you can keep up with new info.

Robicelli's Mom & Pop Gourmet Market
8511 Third Avenue
Bay Ridge, Brooklyn

You can also read Nichelle's CTTC post about the nearby Ivy Bakery cupcake-eating challenge (complete with comment by the winner, Nancy Cummings) here.

All photos by Stacie Joy, you can view the rest of the set here.


Justin said…
i think i have to visit robicelli's...
Stacie Joy said…
Justin -- I am a fan of your excellent work, and yes, you should visit them if you are out that way. Tell them we say hi!