Vanilla's lovely display
First of all, if you're asked to judge a cupcake competition, you might want to ask how many cupcakes you'll be trying. Even when the judges at the Cupcake Invitational were told "about 30," we didn't have a sense of what that would entail until we were completely stuffed and told we were only half done with the blind tasting.
Second, consider what you might like to drink with cupcakes and take some with you just in case. Maybe coffee, or milk? Or iced tea? In any case, realize that wine and cupcakes when it's 100 degrees at 1 in the afternoon might be just a bit much. root beer cupcakes on the right were a little strange
KTLA's Sam Rubin asked what we thought the criteria should be. "Frosting." "Cake - dry or moist?" "Ratio of frosting to cake!," the judges agreed.
While some of the usual suspects (Joan's on Third, Auntie Em's, Dots) were not participating, 10 of us bloggers and foodwriters (and Sam) got a chance to try cupcakes from some lesser-known places. My favorite cupcake -- and I'm usually not really a big chocolate fan -- was the Mandarin orange chocolate cupcake from Essential Chocolate Desserts in Culver City, which reminded me of Baskin Robbins Mandarin orange chocolate sherbet. My second favorite was the Key Lime from Vanilla Bakeshop, and I think my third favorite, raspberry lemon curd, was also from Vanilla. Theirs were among the prettiest, too. maple cupcakes
The event was put on by Drink.Eat.Play, which is affiliated with Cozmo Deck, and puts on food events around the country. I'll post the winners later today.
Here's a another report from Caroline on Crack, featuring the strange pistachio/pineapple cupcakes.
And here's one from Lesley Bargar's new food blog for Los Angeles Magazine.