Saturday, August 1, 2009

Cupcake Smackdown!

Every once in a while, being a food blogger gives me access to some pretty wonderful opportunities that I would not have otherwise had. One of those manifested for me today, when I got to be a judge for Austin's first Cupcake Smackdown! The Smackdown, organized by the tireless Jennie Chen, featured blind taste competitions in storefront, catering, and amateur categories; a "cutest cupcake" contest; and cupcake-eating contests for both humans and dogs.

Picture 1

I got there a little early and got to peek behind the scenes a bit at the veritable hive of cupcake activity. There were more cupcakes than I'd ever seen before in one place. Cupcakes...EVERYWHERE!



Before too long, there were people and dogs everywhere, too. This event got a TON of buzz, and it seemed as if all of Austin came out to join the fun.

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Photo by Dawn Mitchell

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Vendors were on hand to ensure that nobody went cupcake-less.
Photo by Dawn Mitchell


Soon, the much-anticipated judging began. I was one of five judges sampling cupcakes submitted by caterers. We judged seven cupcakes in each of three different categories - vanilla, chocolate, and baker's choice - for a total of twenty-one cupcakes.

A table full of tastings

I have to admit, the judging was much more difficult than I expected. We rated each cupcake on texture and taste for both cake and frosting separately, then gave a fifth rating for the cupcake overall. For me to judge the cakes that way, that meant I took at least three bites from each of twenty-one cupcakes - usually more, as I often had to go back and re-sample them to better enable me to compare cupcakes to one another. I'm here to tell you, that's a lot of cupcake eatin'...but somehow, somehow, I muddled through.

Cupcake Smackdown 1.0
Yours truly, discussing the finer points of judging
with Kristin Owen from Do512.
Photo by Jack Newton

Marshall Wright of EatThisLens, doing the dirty work.

By the time we were finished, I was, well, finished. Eating cupcakes, that is. I couldn't even think about eating another bite. But I wasn't too spent to wander around and snap some photos of the pretty little things.

These beauts were from Wicked Cakes.

These crazy creations from Cowgirl Cupcakes featured a french toast cupcake with candied bacon on top.
Yes, bacon.

I'm not sure what flavor this one was, but it sure was cute!

I hung around for a while longer and watched half of the cupcake pupcake eating contest for dogs, too. In this portion of the event, the dogs were timed to see how quickly they could eat three cupcakes. Most of the pups took between 40 seconds to two minutes to eat theirs, but this champion scarfed his down in eleven seconds and kept looking for more.

And I thought I was an enthusiastic eater...

What a wonderful way to celebrate these totally tasty treats. Huge kudos to Jennie for pulling off a first class event!

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go slip off into a diabetic coma. Till next year!
Updated 8/2/09 - For those of you who are eager to taste the best cupcakes in Austin, Jennie's blog has been updated with the list of winners.


  1. Awesome post! I don't want to see a cupcake for a week!

  2. This is like Iron Chef Cupcake!! I'm so jealous. Who was the winner (besides the dog)?

  3. Ms. Shanna - I just updated the post with a link to the list of winners. You'll be glad to know that Sugar Mamas won best storefront vanilla, best storefront baker's choice, and best storefront overall! Now will you come visit? :)

  4. Yes, Ms. Cupcake-at-Law!! What a prestigious title!

  5. The whole event was a blast, my favorite part was watching the judges struggle as they had to eat their 20th and beyond samples.

  6. Awesome post and lovely pictures. It was great to see you! I, too, do not want to see another cupcake for a while. A long while.

  7. Hey Michelle, thanks for stopping by Foodingblog.

    Haha I agree with Jodi - definitely going to pass on the cupcakes for a while as well after the post contest sugar buzz.

    Yea small world! Steven is a photography buddy of mine. He was actually watching me gorge on cupcakes during the judging.

    Maybe we can meet up at the next foodie event? I'll let you know if Foodingblog plans another field trip soon as well.

  8. Sorry we didn't say "hi" at the Smackdown, but you looked to be in the zone, judging cupcakes! 21 - that's impressive.

  9. The cupcake baby is my daughter Cecilia! Mommy has some more cupcake hats, email me if you want one sawillms_at_yahoo_dot_com.

    Nice shot!

  10. It was a crazy cupcake event! I only tasted one cupcake, the french toast topped with bacon. I've since been by to get cupcakes from Cowgirl Cupcakes not once but twice this week. :-) I have to say that the cupcake hat wearing baby is damn cute.


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