TRICK OR TREAT: PASTRY CHICAGO CONTESTANTS SERVE UP BOTH
The 7th Annual Haunted Cupcake Competition at the Chicago Fine Chocolate Show
Chicago, Illinois (October 30, 2013) – Every year, contestants from around Chicago bake and decorate cupcake that help pastry enthusiasts get in the mood for the spookiest season of the year: Halloween. Pastry Chicago’s Seventh Annual Haunted Cupcake competition was the biggest, scariest contest ever with 50 terrifying and delicious chocolate cupcakes. From possessed scarecrows to evil clowns, from witches flying over the moon to zombies munching on sugary brains, the cupcakes made a frightful display at the Chicago Fine Chocolate and Dessert Show in Navy Pier where the competition was hosted. Beneath the creepy designs, the cakes were flavored with Barry Callebaut Chocolate and Nielsen-Massey Vanillas, fitting with the gourmet, sweet spirit of the venue. While the cupcakes were being evaluated by a panel of professional judges, Chef Sébastien Canonne, M.O.F., co-founder of The French Pastry School of Kennedy-King College at City Colleges of Chicago demonstrated a Chocolate Cupcake with Green Tea Diplomat Cream, perfect for Halloween and beyond.
Chef Canonne, M.O.F. shared the recipe for a French-style cupcake with Pastry Chicago members and attendees of the Chicago Fine Chocolate and Dessert Show alike. The spongy, delicately cocoa-flavored cupcake was topped with light, green tea frosting and decorated with a dainty macaron shell. He left the truly scary decorations to the contestants who used chocolate, gumpaste, fondant, and buttercream to create edible, eerie effects.
Some cupcakes took inspiration from the whimsical side of Halloween while others were not shy about respecting its more horrific aspects: shards of sugar glass, buttercream brains, and horror story villains were displayed alongside candy corn and cute, chocolate spider webs. It wasn’t all about the decoration however; the judges evaluated the cupcakes based, most importantly, on flavor, then decoration, texture, punctuality, and professionalism. The panel of judges included Rose Carvallo of Icing Smiles, Ralph Dixon of Food for Thought Catering, Jeffrey Dryfoos of Dessert Professional Magazine, Galit Greenfield of Barry Callebaut Chocolate, Manny Guzman of Pierre’s Bakery, Jimmy MacMillan of JM Pure Pastry, Beth Nielsen of Nielsen-Massey Vanillas, Rochelle Vayo-Adkinson of WGN.
With excellent prizes from KitchenAid, Barry Callebaut Chocolate, and Nielsen-Massey Vanillas to award and fifty creative entries to taste, the judges were faced with a difficult decision. The winner, Johanna Wyss, took home a KitchenAid Stand Mixer and the full-line of Nielsen-Massey Vanillas products for her Choco-Pumpkin Tiramisu Cupcakes decorated with a gumpaste crescent moon and black cat. Second place went to Elizabeth Ronchetti for her “Triple Death Cupcakes:” chocolate cupcakes with chocolate ganache frosting and salted caramel filling. Stefanie Muñoz won third place with her Graveyard Dark Chocolate Cupcakes. Fourth place went to Shannon Roche and her fall-themed Pumpkin-Chocolate Chip Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting. Ashley Gee topped her fifth place winning Chocolate Cupcakes with Italian Buttercream Icing.
For recipes from this month’s competition, please be sure to visit www.pastrychicago.org. Pastry Chicago’s next event will be the Third Annual Amateur Brownie Competition at Schweppe, Chicagoland’s iconic kitchen supply store, in Lombard, IL. On November 9th, amateur and student contestants will get a chance to see a demonstration by Chef Joshua Johnson from The French Pastry School and to submit their version of coffee and chocolate brownies for a chance to win great prizes. All members of Pastry Chicago who attend the competition will receive a special coupon from Schweppe.
On Sunday, December 8, 2013, Pastry Chicago will hold its Eighth Annual Gingerbread House Competition at The Drake Hotel. The theme is 1920s Chicago Architecture and the top three winners of the competition will be featured in the hotel’s annual Gingerbread Village. Stay tuned for more details on this exciting competition, featuring a demonstration by internationally-renowned cake designer, Chef Nicholas Lodge. For more information on future Pastry Chicago events, please visit www.pastrychicago.org.