Last year The Hunger Games was on my mind around Thanksgiving time. I had just finished the trilogy after enjoying the first movie in the series. Since I’m always thinking about food, and I wanted to come up with something fun to do with family and friends for Thanksgiving, the movie inspired me to create our family’s first annual Cupcake Games. Ever since I saw the first episode of Iron Chef I’ve enjoyed the idea of competing in the food arena. And I love chocolate cake because I love chocolate anything. So I thought a cake competition would be a fun thing to do and the Cupcake Games were born.
Cupcakes are fun to work with because you can bake them in lots of different sizes and forms. The decoration process allows for even more creative shaping and coloring. Mini cupcakes provide a bite-sized treat. Crimped-sided cupcake pans add texture to each little cake. And stuffed cupcake pans make 2-piece cakes. The tops are fancy swirls and the bottoms have a center cavity just waiting to be filled with icing, whipped cream, or iced cream.
The 2012 Games resulted in several creative entries, which can be seen here. This year entrants stepped up their games and surprised me with some really clever designs. Since December 15th is National Cupcake Day, this is a perfect time to report on them.
The Games work like this. Two impartial judges oversee the timing of the contest, judge the entries, and select winners for each of 4 categories:
· Most Beautiful
· Most Creative
· Most Delicious
· Most Ingenious
A large table is set with gads of different flavored and sized cupcakes, icings, and decorations, and all the tools needed to create cupcakes. Entrants are given 30 minutes to make as many creations as they wish, and may use any of the materials available. A few contestants brought some of their own cupcake decoration packs, including some really cool cupcake mustaches that mysteriously went missing just before the Games began. But even without the mustaches contestants came up with so many interesting cupcake designs it was hard to pick just one winner. In fact, the Most Beautiful Category winner was so tough to choose judges picked a runner up and awarded a prize to him, too.
Check here to see this year’s winners, minus the Most Delicious award. It was so appealing it disappeared down someone’s gullet before it could be photographed! The Most Beautiful category entrant provided an "amuse bouche" sized cupcake as a bribe. And even though we judges make it clear that we can be bought, I think you'll agree her cupcakes stand on their own merit.
We’ve deemed Cupcake Games2 a resounding success and look forward to round 3. Will it endure beyond the trilogy level? We don’t know. But we’re having lots of fun with it for now.
What’s your favorite holiday tradition? Let us in on the fun!