Cupcake Festival commemorates Horace Williams, draws 30 bakers

30 bakers compete in Memorial Cupcake Festival

Eleven-year-old Paulina Garcia Hernandez of Carrboro had never baked anything by herself before this week.

But the first-time baker entered her Cuckoo Coconut Cupcake into Friday’s third annual Horace Williams Memorial Cupcake Festival — and won first place and $100.

The cupcake, made with coconut milk, shredded coconut and Cool Whip, beat out 29 other entries by professional and amateur bakers to win over the competition’s three judges.

“This woman in my building usually helps me and sometimes I cook with her. But this is the first time I’ve baked something by myself,” Paulina said.

Paulina was the youngest baker in the competition.

The festival was the brainchild of Sherril Koroluk, the assistant to the director of the Preservation Society of Chapel Hill, who said she proposed to turn Horace Williams’ birthday celebration into a cupcake festival three years ago.

“Always trust your crazy ideas,” she said.

This year, her idea attracted local as well as out-of-town guests, including Dr. Nazir Ahmad, a dentist with a self-proclaimed sweet tooth who traveled to the festival from Virginia.

Ernest Dollar, executive director of the Preservation Society, said people were lining up two hours before the festival started. Moments before the doors opened, the line was wrapped around the building.

Guests ate more than 500 cupcakes in 20 minutes last year, Dollar said — a fact that prompted extra preparation for Saturday’s festival.

He said a “security force” of volunteers watched over the cupcake room to make sure people only took one cupcake at a time.

“I don’t think we had as many people as last year,” Koroluk said. “But I think everyone had a better time.”

Joe Parker, who placed second in the contest, said the judges this year were more knowledgeable about cupcakes than past judges.

Judges included Ruth Moose, last year’s second-place cupcake winner; Debbie Moose, a Raleigh-based cookbook author; and Emily Pierce, the marketing coordinator of Sugarland Bakery.

The judges’ only instructions were to pick the most luscious cupcake.

“You want something that you put one bite in your mouth and say ‘Ahhh,’” Ruth Moose said.

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Cupcake Designs: Inspiration Designs from the Best Bakers

Cupcake designs can get very trendy for the ones who like them so much for they are among the persons who like their favourite stuff in weird and creative shapes. That is where the design part comes in. Today I brought you 36 different designs of Cupcakes submitted by some designers worldwide. If you are a baker, you surely are going to get inspired by these.


cupcake designs

Gabby Cupcake

Gabby Cupcake

cupcake designs

Gabby Cupcake

Gordon 3D Cupcake

cupcake designs


Shams Cupcakes

cupcake designs

Small Thing Iced Cupcakes

Small Thing Iced Cupcake

cupcake designs

Small Thing Iced Cupcake

Small Thing Iced Cupcake

cupcake designs

Small Thing Iced Cupake

Brownie Cupcake

Cookie Monster and Elmo Cupcake

cupcake designs

Hello Kitty Cupcake

Peppermint Twist Cupcake

cupcake designs

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A Peachy Cupcake, Southern-Style

Just in time for National Peach Month, this sweet treat is like eating a fresh peach.

Peach Cupcake

Peach Cupcake

As August dawned, I found myself on a rather extended road trip to the South–Tennessee and Georgia to be exact–with my darling daughter. After multiple, mind-numbing delays at the airport, we arrived in Atlanta, too late to search out the soul food I had desperately been craving.

When I finally pulled up to our hotel in Chattanooga, I was so tired, I parked the rental car in the wrong hotel parking lot. Mortified beyond all reason that I now had to bundle my child back into the car to drive it across the street, the most charming midnight valet at the Hampton Inn and Suites insisted that he walk our bags across the street to the Double Tree. This was my first taste of ‘Southern hospitality.’

I have been yes ma’amed and no ma’amed all week and not in a condescending manner. The people in Tennessee are so friendly and accommodating, in no small part due to their charming drawl. I even stopped and asked directions from a gal driving what was left of a Ford Taurus (the back end was completely gone). Covered in tattoos, looking every bit the axe murderer and boasting a charming gap toothed smile (okay, she was missing her two front teeth), when she found out I was lost, she insisted I follow her to the Walmart for which I was looking.

I even became a fan and got some “thug luv” from Chrisitan rapper, Pettidee. He was making faces at a baby while we were in our hotel–despite his ferocious exterior–the man is a pussy cat (don’t tell him I said so), and he ended up buying me and my daughter breakfast. The waitress was positively gushing, “don’t y’all know who that is?” Clearly clueless when it comes to Christian Rap, I did not. I just thought he was a nice guy. I also got a hug in the lobby every time we ran into each other after that. He gave my daughter a signed copy of his CD, and we have enjoyed it immensely.

I had the great fortune to stumble across Chatanooga Cupcakes at the beginning of the week, and I have to say, Sprinkles has nothing on this place. A hole in the wall, housed in an old brick building, the sweet shop bakes fresh cupcakes daily, loaded with tons of fluffy homemade frosting. They offer creative flavors like, PB and Chocolate, Red Velvet, Lemon Raspberry, along with traditional items like Chocolate Overload and Kids Vanilla.

My favorite, however, was their Monday Special–Peach Cobbler–and it truly makes your heart sing. I had never sampled a cupcake quite like this one. It was large (always a plus), light and fluffy, crowned with a cloud of the most amazing cinnamon, cream cheese frosting and topped with a Nilla Wafer. It almost tasted like Cinnabon had a baby with a peach. I was determined to recreate it in my own kitchen.

Of course, getting it from the original baker is always best, but this is the next best thing. Made from ingredients I had on-hand, I was able to revel in the culinary memories of a wonderful romp through the South.

Peach Cobbler Cupcake


1 box of vanilla cake mix (Betty Crocker 15.25 oz)

1 cup peach juice

3/4 cup finely chopped canned diced peaches (or you can use fresh)

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 cup oil

3 eggs


Prepare the box cake mix according to the directions, substituting the peach juice in lieu of the water. Lightly run peaches through food processor until nicely minced. Add peaches and cinnamon to cake batter and combine. Bake in individual cupcake liners. Cool completely before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting


1 large can Duncan Hines Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting (16.2oz size)

1/2 tsp. cinnamon


In a bowl, whipped together the frosting and cinnamon with a mixer until light and fluffy.

Place frosting in a piping bag or a plastic baggie with the corner cut off. Lavish on the peach cupcakes.

Enjoy, y’all!

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National Cupcake Champion 2011 announced

Britain’s National Cupcake Champion 2011 has been announced – and the winning craft baker, who has been a baking for less than a year, won with a vegan cupcake that used no butter or eggs.

Jennifer Buls (27), who launched her fledgling business, Absolute Treats, with her mum, Virginia, while she studied for her MA, took two category awards and the overall title at the National Cupcake Championships, which are staged by British Baker magazine in the run-up to National Cupcake Week (12-18 September).

At the judging event, which took place at the ICA overlooking The Mall in London, Jennifer, from Carmarthenshire in Wales, won Best Free-from of the Year Cupcake, Best Tasting Cupcake of the Year and also took the National Cupcake Champion title for her delicious, summery Lime and Coconut creation.

“I’ve always loved cakes. I’m a vegetarian and I have an allergy to dairy,” says Jennifer. “So I was determined to make a vegan cupcake that tasted just as good as any other. Absolute Treats is home-based at the moment, but we supply some outlets across the West Wales area, and we are Vegan Society-approved.”

Jennifer – pictured left with celebrated cake-maker Peggy Porschen – beat off stiff competition from 55 innovative craft bakeries, independent cake emporiums and high street multiples who were battling it out across six different categories for the ultimate prize – to be crowned National Cupcake Champion 2011.

They included the high street favourite Greggs; the 2009 champion Kevin Sibley from Mama’s Cupcakes in Cheshunt; and Rich Products, which creates cupcakes for Asda.

Commenting on Jennifer’s triumphant win, British Baker deputy editor Andrew Williams said: “Jennifer’s cake was probably the least assuming cupcake on show, with understated decoration, but it was head and shoulders above the rest on the most important criterion: taste. Her victory is all the more remarkable given that it’s a vegan cake, using no butter or eggs.”

The 2011 competition attracted more than 100 entries from professional bakers. The category winners of the 2011 National Cupcake Championships are:

  • Best Decorated Cupcake – Rosalind Miller, Peggy’s Cupcakes, London
  • Best Free From Cupcake – Jennifer Buls, Absolute Treats, St Clears, Camarthenshire
  • Best Presented Cupcake – Victoria Forward, Let Them Eat Cake, Waterlooville
  • Most Innovative Cupcake – Rufaro Matsinde, Cocktail Couture – CC Treats, London
  • Best Cupcake Crafted for Multiple Outlets – Sean Coughlan, Munch@Coughlans, Thornton Heath
  • Best Tasting Cupcake – Jennifer Buls, Absolute Treats, St Clears, Camarthenshire
  • National Cupcake Champion – Jennifer Buls, Absolute Treats, St Clear, Camarthenshire

National Cupcake Week 2011 will run from September 12 to 18, when a range of special events and promotions take place in craft and high street bakeries across the nation, alongside a series of special programmes on The Food Network.

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Woodstock woman wins national cupcake contest

Woodstock, Conn. —

Lisa Schrader said it’s impossible for her children to take a bubble bath without leaving a sudsy, soaked bathroom behind.

But now that her “Bubble Trouble” cupcake — inspired by her son, Matthew, 8, in the tub — has won $10,000 in a national competition, she’ll be looking at future soggy scenes a little differently.

“I’m almost grateful now that they make a mess when they take a bubble bath,” she laughed.

Schrader beat out more than 3,000 entries and received thousands of online votes to win the Jelly Belly $10,000 Cupcake Challenge.

Schrader said she was pretty sure she had won last week, when she received notice from Jelly Belly that she was a “potential winner” of the competition and was asked to fill out tax forms.

“I said, ‘either they sent this to (all of the five finalists), or, I think I won,’ ” Schrader said.

The end of the statement set off a string of screaming, jumping up and down and dancing from the family, which includes her husband, Ron, and six children, ranging from 9 months to 18 years old.

Schrader said it was hard to keep the good news quiet for those few days until she knew for sure. The announcement was made Tuesday on the competition website.

“I still think it’s unbelievable,” Schrader said.

Since then, Schrader said, she’s been sending out thanks to family members, friends and neighbors for voting for her. She said the support she felt from the community and the thousands of votes she received was a gift itself.

Schrader had entered 30 different cupcake designs in the competition, but said “Bubble Trouble,” the third one she made, was her favorite and the entry she thought had the most chance of winning.

While she doesn’t have the money yet, Schrader said she and her family will use it to pay college tuition costs to Quinebaug Valley Community College for their eldest son, Alex, who will start this fall. She said they’ll also buy something for all of the children to enjoy, because they deserve a lot of the credit for inspiring and helping create the cupcakes.

“And, of course, they loved eating them,” Schrader said.

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Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes

They are easy to make and uber eye-catching. A truly fun twist on your basic cupcake, without all the hubbub that normally goes into cleverly decorated cupcakes.

To make our Swirly Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes extra-cool, we swirled together a batch of vanilla frosting with a bit of chocolate frosting to create a  twist ice cream cone look. If you’ve never decorated cupcakes with this swirled technique, it may look complicated, but is actually quite simple.

Swirly Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes Finished

Swirly Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes Finished










To break the process down, here’s an easy three-step photo tutorial.

Step 1:

Grab a plastic pastry bag and fit it with a large star tip. Open the pastry bag by folding it down over your hand.

Swirly Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes Step 1

Swirly Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes Step 1







Step 2:

Use a spoon to scrape some vanilla frosting up one side of the pastry bag. Carefully plop some chocolate frosting into the second half of the pastry bag. Twist the pastry bag closed.

Swirly Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes Step 2

Swirly Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes Step 2







Step 3:

Pipe the frosting onto your cooled ice cream cone cupcakes. Top with a maraschino cherry and enjoy!

Swirly Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes Step 3

Swirly Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes Step 3








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‘Food Network Star’ recap: ‘No pretenders, just contenders’

And then there were five. And in a week when the judges began wondering who among the final contestants can be an “authority,” I think there’s only one real answer: Jeff.

Cupcake Wars

Cupcake Wars

This week was a no-brainer. Unless something miraculous happened, Jyll Everman of Glendora was going home because she just couldn’t deliver “real” in front of the camera. Although she had a great concept for a show — Jyllicious Bites: big food made small — she could only deliver a pageant smile and a nervous “Everything’s great here, folks!” demeanor, and her food was shaky at times.

Worse, it was “exposed” that her P.O.V. is still shaky. Is she all about entertaining on a budget? Hearty Midwestern flair with a California twist? Or big food made small? It was all over when Food Network honcho Susie Fogelson said of Jyll: “She has an artificiality that I can’t get past.”


That leaves us with five finalists, but when you look closer, only one seems to be a real expert.

I get the idea that the other four are making it up a bit as they go along. Even Susie. Yes, she may technically have the cooking background, but she didn’t come into Season 7 with plans for a show revolving around Mexican food and her culture, and at times it seems like she is trying to apologize for it. Jeff, meanwhile, knows sandwiches. And his is a sharply focused concept that will bring in a desirable male demo for Food Network.

What do you think? Is the “Sandwich King” destined to be the Season 7 king?

Other observations about the five finalists as we get down to the “no pretenders, just contenders” dash to the finale:

–Whitney killed it during the Rachael Ray segment, but still seems shaky. And kinda angry. Like when she was making her chili and seemingly did not realize that the camera was on her. The question remains, say the judges: “Does she have the star power to make people want to listen to her?” I still don’t know what she brings to the table. Everyday elegance? First off, I don’t buy that. And second, that’s what I go to Ina Garten for — I don’t need or want a newer model.

–Susie earned high praise from Garten for her corn muffin, although not so much for all the duck slaw and stuff that Susie added at the end to, in her words, “give it some elegancy.” Garten said of the corn muffin: “I’d download the recipe.” Whoa! But then with Rachael Ray, Susie acted like she was leaving Mexican food in the dust.

–Jeff can just be so … weird. He can be so friendly and charming in one venue (like on Ray’s show, where he nailed it) and be downright “aggressive” in another (like the Garten cupcake demo.) And his food continues to be mixed. The judges said of his meat cupcake: “Not one part of it is really delicious.” But let’s face it. Sandwich King is a great concept for a show, and when he’s focused on that, and not monkeying around in front of the camera, he’s outstanding. I want that pork chop sandwich recipe.

–Easy there, Momma’s boy. Vic can turn it on, but sometimes he does so with the force of a fire engine hose at full blast. Witness, “La Changa”: a way to use up your leftover lasagna — by frying it inside a burrito. Now, normally I am not opposed to frying anything. But this just seems like overkill. And it was a risky move that ultimately did not pay off in front of Ray’s audience. He’s lucky he escaped this week. I just feel like he’s a Guy Fieri wannabe. And just like I’m not ready to replace Garten, I’m not ready to replace Fieri in my DVR lineup either.

–Mary Beth: I am torn on her. I like her, she’s pretty, her twist on shepherd’s pie was creative and colorful … but I just don’t think she’s an authority. I’m not sure what I would be hoping to gain by tuning in to her show. Now, if they had her do some kind of travelogue meets food programming ..

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