The crowds were eager. double0hilly and I arrived in time to photograph the cupcake-covered bar and the cupcake-covered table and secure seats with my inspiration for going in the first place, hungry_pixel. At 7 pm, a bell rang, and the ravening hordes fell upon the serried ranks of cupcakes. I was more than happy to have half-a-dozen people who were not me fend for our collective cupcakey goodness. How often do buffets come with such cooperative table service, after all?
And so we began, small nibble after small nibble. Some cupcakes were a real challenge to cup: they fell apart into crumbs or resisted gentle slicing. Some had treacherous depths of cutting complexity, whether a dense ball of chocolate or a hidden cherry. One particularly lovely one had a hotly-contested cute little penguin on top of it. There were cupcakes shaped like snowballs, trees, decorated with snowflakes, topped with gritty crushed candy canes, or swirled in green and red.
Taste-wise, they were a very mixed bag. A few were positively foul, astonishingly bad. Most were somewhere between middle-of-the-road and downright boring. There were too many bone-dry fruit cake-themed ones and I overdosed on stollen cupcakes, much as the concept is appealing. A minority were good - clear, soft pervasive flavors with some degree of complexity. My favorite of the evening was modeled into a pine tree, topped with a golden sugar star. Inside was good chocolate cake, eclipsed by the robust ball of dark chocolate within which, when smashed, leaked liquor all over the rest of its cake.
The real thrill of the evening, however, was that hungry_pixel came second place in the overall competition. Her "Ode to Panettone" was one of the real standouts, the lovely, smooth chestnut cream dominating the delicate notes of candied citrus. Best of all, it's her first ribbon, the first prize that she has won herself - as opposed to the dozens - hundreds? - decorating her walls already, all brought home by her cats.
hungry_pixel's award-winning cupcake in the foreground
Afterward, all cupcaked out, double0hilly and I renewed ourselves with salad, wonderful, fresh, green salad, and meat, a refreshing antidote to a surfeit of cupcake.