Monday, March 30, 2009

Cupcake Camp Update

Yesterday was Cupcake Camp!

It has taken me a whole day to get to writing about it because I was so tired from the weekend with baking and working and enjoying the sun and then so full of sugar and goodness from the camp, that I came home and immediately passed out!

Cupcake Camp was a lot of fun and I was surprised to see how many people showed up, and I think maybe the organizers were too! There were over 100 bakers with nearly 3,500 cupcakes and close to 400 people eager to eat cupcakes, making it the largest camp to date! Yay Ottawa!

I made 3 kinds of cupcakes for Cupcake Camp:
1. Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes
2. Dark Chocolate Bacon Cupcakes
3. Caramel Apple Crumble Cupcakes

I started preparing on Friday by buying all of the ingredients that I would need for baking on Saturday. I was planning on baking Saturday and doing the frosting on Sunday morning. It was gloriously sunny and warm on Friday, so I had to go and enjoy the weather with a few friends on a patio!

I woke up bright and early on Saturday morning and went and got myself a coffee, a few more ingredients I forgot to get on Friday and a new cupcake tin (and a fresh croissant!). I was making 3 different kinds of cupcakes, so I had to organize how I'd get through all of them in one day. I also had to be at work for 5:15pm so I was faced with a time limit too! And Bruce, the reporter from the Citizen, was coming over to watch me bake so I knew I could have company too.

I started off by making the cookie dough for the Cookie Dough cupcake. The balls of dough had to go in the freezer for at least an hour before I could use them, so that gave me time to start on some of the other cupcakes.

Bruce showed up right about at the point when I was cooking up the bacon for the Bacon cupcake. I'm not much of a bacon cooker, I love eating the stuff though, so it was an interesting experience to say the least. Bruce was laughing at the fact that I was cooking it in a wok! What? I love my wok!

As the bacon was cooling I made the Caramel Apple Crumble cupcake. These went off without a hitch, except for not having enough brown sugar, but luckily my roommate had some. Phewf. Then I made the Bacon cupcakes, and I ran out of oil, so I went out onto the lane and borrowed some from my neighbor! I made 2 extra large cupcakes lined with bacon for the 2 bartenders at work special request! And last but not least, I made the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough cupcakes. Surprise, surprise, I didn't have enough cocoa for these, so I had to go out to the Bridgehead to buy some. It was soooo nice outside that I didn't mind going out for a walk, and to get a bit of a break.

It took me pretty much the whole day to get all the baking done with all the talking I did while the reporter was over and with all the breaks I had to take to find my missing ingredients. I finally hopped in the shower at 4pm! Can you say 'time crunch'?

Sunday morning I woke up at 7:30am!! That is WAY too early to be up on a Sunday. But, I knew I wanted to have plenty of time to get everything done and not be stressed out. My mom came over bright and early too to help, with extra missing ingredients (I obviously didn't plan very well!!) and coffee in hand! What would I do without my mom?!?! My mom organized and cleaned while I made the apple crumble (twice because I messed up the first batch) and the chocolate chip cookie dough frosting.

My biggest challenge of the day was going to be the caramel and the caramel frosting, which I had yet to find a good recipe for. I decided to try a recipe that I found in The Crabapple Bakery Cupcake Cookbook. It called for Golden Syrup which I luckily found at the Bouchey's on Elgin! I love Bouchey's! OMG, it was AMAZING! The first batch I made was too thick for frosting, so I used it to coat the cupcakes with. It was so thick and gooey and tasted like those little square caramels that you can buy for Halloween. The second batch I used for the frosting, which ended up being way too thick to add 8 cups of icing sugar to. But it was still really good, and I only added 2 cups. I was straining pretty hard to frost the cupcakes and I blew holes in the piping bag to boot! Pretty funny!

I put all the finishing touches on the cupcakes, including some Hawaiian red sea salt that my mom brought over for the bacon cupcakes, and then I was done! Yay! And with plenty of time to spare. AND my mom had cleaned all of the dishes too! I took a shower, got ready (made sure my hair looked okay because I knew there would be a pro photographer there!!) and then we were off!

Caramel Apple Crumble and Bacon Cupcakes ready to go

It was a miserable rainy day, but that didn't put a damper on anyone's spirits at Cupcake Camp! There was a HUGE line-up of bakers registering their cupcakes that took quite awhile to get through. You had to give them your cupcakes, they tagged them all in a pre-set order, photographed them and then whisked them away to be set up on the tasting trays and the judging trays. We got there early enough that we had some time to kill before the doors opened to the public.

By 2pm, when the event actually started, the room was already full and there was a MASSIVE line up outside of people wanting to get it! I can't believe so many people showed up! Obviously the rain didn't stop people from coming to get their Sunday afternoon sugar-fix!

There was a big table set up in a "U" shape in the middle of the room and every 15 minutes they would bring out a new batch of cupcakes. There were 10 batches and each batch contained about 15-20 different kinds of cupcakes. They set down the trays and the feeding frenzy began! My cupcakes were all in Batch #2, so they were brought out early when everyone was still really excited, which I was happy about. But since there was such a huge line-up, none of my friends were able to get in in time to taste my cupcakes :( (but this was okay since I had extras in the car!) Every time a new batch came out they would announce what kinds were on the trays. I was happy to see that mine were included with a wide variety of 'chocolate' and 'vanilla' cupcakes, making mine stand out all the more! When the announcer came upon the Bacon Cupcake he stumbled a bit, said "wow, that's different" and asked the crowd who was excited for a Bacon Cupcake and they all cheered! And I must note that the Bacon Cupcake was the ONLY cupcake that got ANY reaction from the crowd...THANK YOU VERY MUCH! :)

Tons of people at Cupcake Camp!

All the while the judges were up front EATING all of these cupcakes! I have no idea how they did it! They each had a jug of milk to wash down all those tasty treats!

Cupcakes ready to be judged!

A few of my friends showed up, but not all of them were able to wait that long to get in. But Kellie stuck it out and waited in line for over 30 minutes to get in!! Thanks Kellie!! Evan only had to wait for about 10 minutes despite the length of the line-up. I was very impressed with all the cupcakes that Kellie ate! She had 1 of each of mine and then some! I was afraid she would go home and fall into a cupcake coma! Evan ate a bunch of cupcakes and then I tried to make him eat my Caramel Apple Crumble cupcake, but he said he was so cupcaked out and plus it didn't look very moustache friendly. But I made him try 'just a bite' and then he asked if he could eat the whole thing! They're THAT GOOD folks!

My mom at Cupcake Camp!

The judging took place at 4pm. My heart was racing, which could partly be due to the extremely HOT temperature of the room. It was sooooo hot in there, I thought I would pass out! So many people, so much energy! Anyway, I was kind of nervous and I really wanted to win. They announced each category and the winner and I was pretty disappointed when I didn't win. I totally wanted to win! But I'm okay with the fact that I didn't. My friends and family still think mine are the best and that I'm their Cupcake Queen. PLUS...I'M the one who was featured in a HUGE article in the Ottawa Citizen!

So, all in all, the event was a HUGE success, I had a lot of fun, I ate a lot of cupcakes (but not as many as some) and I got to see what everyone else was up to in the cupcake world in Ottawa. I'm looking forward to next year's event and I'm positive I'll win then! And now I'll see where this whole Cupcake thing takes me. Who knows, maybe someone famous will read the article in the paper or read my blog and ask me to bake cupcakes and then they'll fall in love with them and then maybe I'll be whisked off to NYC to become some world famous baker to the stars!!! Who knows...a girl can dream, right?!

Oh, and I'd like to thank my mom for helping me out through out the whole process, including calming me down, bringing me ingredients and coffee and sticking it out for 4 hours in the cupcake sauna! THANKS MOM! :)

Oh...and don't forget to check out the article in the Ottawa Citizen! The link doesn't include the picture of me, so I'm posting it here for all to see!

1 comment:

  1. I think I tasted all three of your cupcakes!
    - The apple caramel crumble was a little bit oily, but good flavour.
    - the bacon chocolate one was exactly out off a website I'd seen this on, right down to the sprinkles - I had hoped to see a little more creativity and was disappointed that this was thiefed directly.
    - the cookie dough was a hands-down winner. everybody loved it. Good job.