Sunday, June 5, 2011

End-of-Year Grad Program Cupcake Competition

Friday, June 3, 2011

*Scroll down for more pictures*

My grad school program had its annual end-of-year party at our director/professor's house, and this year he decided to hold a cupcake contest. Being the foodies my friends/classmates and I are, we entered. 7 hours of picking a recipe, shopping, messing up, reshopping, baking, and decorating later ... and we arrived at the party (I'll post about the savory dinner food we had later). The baking day was fun but draining. We ended up going to six different stores to get the right ingredients and materials. Most of us hated our first frosting, so we had to find a highly-rated frosting recipe and go back to the store for more ingredients. We also were very disappointed to find that all of the stores we tried were out of unsweetened Ghirardeli cocoa power (INGREDIENT QUALITY MATTERS!!) and chocolate-flavored frozen whipped topping. We also had to hunt around for chocolate-covered coffee beans. Here's what the competition looked like:

The contest entrees:

#1: Grand Marnier w/ chocolate cream cheese frosting (Mrs. V's entry):

#2: Snickers bar:

#3: Chocolate, banana, & coconut:

#4: Nutella:

#5: All-Night Delights: Coffee liqueur-filled chocolate cupcake with cocoa espresso frosting topped with a dark chocolate-covered coffee bean (My entry with Melissa, Mia, & Lisa)

Each person who wanted to judge sampled ~1/4th of a cupcake of each entry and wrote anonymously on a piece of paper the number corresponding to their favorite cupcake:

#1 (The Grand Marnier cupcakes) won first, and #5 (The All-Night Delights) won 2nd.

My opinion on our coffee cupcakes: Delicious overall. I'm not a fan of Cool Whip unless you can't really taste it though, and I tasted it in our filling. It might have been better with chocolate-flavored Cool Whip (we had to mix in choc syrup because the stores did not have this flavor). I also thought the cake base could have been more moist, although we received compliments about how moist the cake was. I'm just really critical of my own baked goods I guess. The frosting was great. I'd make these again with better-quality ingredients. Here are the recipes we used:

(1) For the "Chocolate Cupcakes with Coffee Cream Filling":
(2) For the "Coffee Butter Frosting":

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