Fourth Annual Amateur Haunted Cupcake Competition
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Chicago, Illinois (November 3, 2010) – Pound cake, frosting, spooky buttercream and rolled fondant decorations, oh my! On October 23rd, Pastry Chicago and the Westfield Old Orchard Mall hosted the Fourth Annual Amateur Haunted Cupcake Competition where competitors from around the Chicago area showcased their best “pound cake” cupcakes bedecked with spooky, Halloween-themed edible décor. A part of Westfield’s annual Family Harvest Festival, the competition drew hundreds of spectators and food enthusiasts who also enjoyed the Festival’s other offerings, including a hay maze, arts and crafts, and entertainment.
While judges sampled each entrant’s cupcake, Chef Pierre Zimmermann of The French Pastry School at City Colleges of Chicago shared one of his signature recipes: Uncle Hansi’s Cake. Zimmermann created this recipe in his homeland of Alsace, France in 2001, nine years before making the move to Chicago to join the faculty of The French Pastry School. Jean-Jacques Waltz, or “Uncle Hansi” was a French artist, particularly famous for his patriotic drawings. Zimmermann’s Uncle Hansi Cake is made by many artisan bakers in Alsace who then package the regional specialty in a box illustrated with some of Hansi’s illustrations. Participants in the Pastry Chicago event were able to enjoy the rich cake made with almond powder, hazelnuts, and rum-soaked raisins at the Harvest Festival.
Professionals from around the area joined Pastry Chicago to judge competitors’ cupcakes including Brady Braden, Pastry Chef/Owner of B True Bakery; Deborah Mattes, Senior General Manager of Westfield Old Orchard; Jennifer Templeton, Pastry Chef at Julius Meinl; Mamata Reddy, Pastry Chef/Owner of Pomegranate Café; Linda Rosner, Culinary Instructor at Lexington College; and Laura Vaughn, Pastry Instructor at Washburne Culinary Institute.
“The contestants did an impressive job creating their own versions of ‘pound cake’ in a cupcake form,” said Chef Jennifer Templeton, Pastry Chef at Julius Meinl in Chicago. “They also presented some creative haunted decorations. Some of those cupcakes were truly scary – yet delicious at the same time!”
Five contestants were awarded prizes (contributed by KitchenAid) based on their cupcakes’ taste, texture, and decoration. Winner of 1st place, and a KitchenAid Stand Mixer was Meghan Peterson and her Creepy Crawly Surprise Cupcakes, with a chocolate pound cake, a chocolate-orange ganache, and mocha buttercream. Second place, and winner of a KitchenAid Food Processor was Catalina Herrera and her Lavender-Lemon Pound Cake Cupcakes. Michael Reinhart took third place and a KitchenAid Blender with his Apple Cider Pound Cake Cupcakes. Winner of fourth place and a KitchenAid Chopper was Joe Gosselin with his Chocolate Pound Cake Cupcakes. Fifth place went to Valency White with her Sweet Potato and Maple Syrup Pound Cake Cupcakes, who took home pastry tools provided by The French Pastry School and KitchenAid.
The next Pastry Chicago event will see the Fourth Annual Student Gingerbread Competition on December 4th at the Hotel Sofitel Chicago Water Tower. For more information on this and future events with Pastry Chicago, see www.pastrychicago.org.
Saturday, October 23, 2010
1:00 – 4:00 pm
Westfield Old Orchard Mall
4999 Old Orchard Center
Skokie, IL 60077
Rules and Regulations:
- Contestants must submit a total of 12 individual stand-alone cupcakes: six decorated cupcakes for judging and six decorated cupcakes for display.
- All cupcakes must be submitted at the time of registration, six cupcakes will be displayed for you and six cupcakes will be presented to the judges for tasting. Cupcakes must represent the haunted theme. Cupcake recipes must be a pound cake*.
- Cupcake recipes must be submitted with the cupcakes (if no recipe is submitted your cupcakes will not be judged).
- Cupcakes will be served cold. No baking is done on premises.
- All contestants must use the following ingredients, but are not limited to only these ingredients: Nielsen-Massey Vanilla, Plugrá European-Style Butter and King Arthur Flour. All of these items can be found at your local Whole Foods store.
- Each entry must be the sole work of the entrant.
- All cupcakes and decorations must be edible.
- No scenes or displays allowed.
- All entries must submitted for judging by 1:00 pm (begin to arrive at 12:30 pm).
- Pastry Chicago and Whole Foods are not responsible for any items left behind at the end of this event.
*The original definition of a pound cake was one pound each of: butter, flour, eggs, and sugar. Many of today’s pound cake recipes no longer follow that rule exactly but still maintain approximate equal quantities of those main ingredients, and can have a variety of flavors. The texture is dense, with a tight crumb.