Cupcake Challenge: Who took the Cupcake?

This past Saturday was the Nesquik Cupcake Challenge at the Hollywood Renaissance Hotel thrown by our good friends at Drink-Eat-Play. I have put off writing this for the following reasons.

1. I am lazy
2. I have been waiting until the official winners are announced
3. Writing this will force me to look at a million cupcakes, something I vowed to not do for another month
4. I will have to remember all that I consumed on this fateful day

Josie was unable to attend this event due to work, so just as an FYI, I am blaming her for making me consume all of those deliciously sweet calories. Here was my experience on the day of the event.  I was planning on eating a sensible breakfast prior to arriving, but in typical Carina fashion I walked in to breakfast at 11 and asked if I could order off the lunch menu. One corned beef sandwich and french fries done and I had only three hours before the cupcake event. I drove home and napped and did 5 minutes on my treadmill pretending like that would help. I arrived at the Cupcake Challenge right at the start of the event and was handed my judging card. I thought I was important because I am a food blogger, but in true democracy my vote had the same weight as everyone else. I am all about one man and one vote. The first place I headed when I entered was the Polkadots cupcake stand. I wanted this for several reason. First, they won last years event and I wanted to support a local Pasadena store. Furthermore, I have tried to try their cupcakes numerous times and they are always closed when my sweet tooth acts up. They had a beautiful display and I finally got to see one of their famous cupcake cakes. Yup, these are all made of individual cupcakes.

The first cupcake I had of the day was the Lucky Charm, which was a perfectly moist pistachio cupcake. The other cupcakes devoured were a blur but there were some major highlights and I have decided to give unusual awards to mix up the challenge a bit. The most beautiful cupcake that unfortunately didn’t have the taste to match was the Salted Carmel from Tavern Restaurant, it was dusted with gold and a homemade macaroon was placed on top.

Another favorite of mine was the creative booze filled cupcakes from Speakeasy Sweets. They had an Amaretto Sour and an Irish Car Bomb cupcake. I am not crazy about either drink but I love the cupcake creativity and, well, everything is better with some hooch.

The best dressed cupcake server award went to the cute girls at Friandise Pastries.

My favorite cupcake display hands down went to Two Parts Sugar and I found it hilarious that they did a Naughty and Nice display and that a few hours in only the nice remained. Is this really the City of Angels?

Taste wise there were three cupcakes that absolutely blew (blue) me away. The first two were from the same bakery called Blue Cupcake. They had a Sweet & Salty Vanilla and a Pumpkin cupcake that had pumpkin bread stuffed with pumpkin mouse, cream cheese frosting, and topped with a toasted pumpkin seed brittle. I asked if Blue Cupcake had an actual store and apparently at the moment they are only serving at Farmers Markets.  The thing that sold me on both of the cupcakes submitted by Blue Cupcake was that the cupcake consistency, it was not too wet and not too dry. My other favorite was the last cupcake I tried, it was rose petal by Sugar Bliss Sweets in Santa Barbara. The actual cupcake was infused with rose water but it was this frosting that knocked my cupcake top off, it was perfection.

As you can see from my ballot those were all of my winners. Blue Cupcake’s Sweet & Salty vanilla for best traditional and they also took the cupcake on my judging for their Pumpkin cupcake in best original and the Rose Petal cupcake was the best overall.

The official results of the Cupcake Challenge are as followed:

Best Traditional
1st Place:  Big Man Bakes “Red Velvet”
2nd Place:  Blue Cupcake “Sweet and Salty Vanilla”
3rd Place:  Southern Girl Desserts “Red Velvet”

Best Original
1st Place:  My Delight Cupcaker “Breakfast Cake”
2nd Place:  Jus Minis “Caramel Banana”
3rd Place:  Two Parts Sugar “Chocolate Covered Strawberry”

Best Overall
1st Place:  Jus Minis “Caramel Banana”
2nd Place:  My Delight Cupcaker “Breakfast Cake”
3rd Place:  Two Parts Sugar “Chocolate Covered Strawberry”

I don’t want to disagree with the consensus but most people came in with their own cupcake tupperwares and boxes and grabbed one of each and exhibited something I don’t know a lot about, self-control. I am just saying that some people’s cupcakes looked like the main picture, placed beautifully into a box and consumed in a leisurely manner. That was not the case with me. I took instant bites and made this kind of a mess. Whatever, I am uncouth.

I know I am complaining about calories and too much sugar, but in all honesty it was a sinfully sweet time. I owe a big thanks to The Minty for being my cupcake sampling partner. I don’t have our official digital photobooth pictures but here is my picture from the picture.

Also, I want to give a big thank you to Drink-Eat-Play and to Quick. I have been referring to Quik the bunny as my new boyfriend. What’s so crazy about that? He is tall, dark, and handsome and goes at it like a rabbit. I would continue but this reminds me too much of that Funny Bunny Friday.



  1. The challenge looks like so much fun! I love the photo booth pics of you & Shauna!

    Definitely going next year. I want to be a judge, I can eat sugar all day 🙂

  2. I love your post – not bias at all!! Most of all, I want to say thank you for taking the time to actually eat the cupcakes to be able to give an honest vote. This is really appreciated since all bakeries work so hard for this event! Please let me know when you can stop by Century City ans I’ll get a box ready for you to try more flavors 🙂

  3. Your before and after photos are insane. That is seriously disturbing.

  4. Thank you so much! That totally made my day 🙂 My rose petal cupcakes are made with rosewater, frosted with rose swiss buttercream, topped with candied organic roses and drizzled with rose syrup. So glad that you enjoyed them!

  5. What a great roundup! I was halfway in between orderly and messy with my cupcake eating. I finished about 30 cupcakes at the challenge, and took the rest home to eat the next day. But I definitely left a few untidy, half eaten cupcakes behind as well!

  6. glad you liked our cupcakes!

    ~ Speakeasy Sweets

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