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Joyce Endee

Cupcake Battles are sweet for Valley Promotions

Kathy Howe of Conway won first place with her Lemon Dream cupcakes at the First Annual Cupcake Battle fundraising event. (Rachael Brown Photo) (click for larger version)
March 03, 2011
"We are very happy with the turn-out and the feedback. Everyone was excited about the event and loved the uniqueness," says event organizer and Valley Promotions, founder Lisa Dufault.

"Ever watch Cupcake Wars on the Food Network? That's where the inspiration came from," says Dufault.

"I was trying to come up with a fundraising idea that was different. We watch Cupcake Wars on the Food Network and I thought it would be a fun idea, with a little different spin on it. I met with my Board of Directors and we hammered out the details. Cupcakes are in right now, so it seemed like a logical choice," explains Dufault.

It was a good idea. Fourteen bakers participated. Some were semi-professional bakers, but most were home bakers who feel they make a good product. Some planned to donate their prize money to a local organization if they win. The event was well attended by the public.

Like any contest there were rules: Each baker had to supply 15-dozen miniature cupcakes of the same flavor. There was no entry fee, but bakers were requested to sell at least five adult tickets to the event. Tickets cost $10 for adults and $5 for children. Adult ticketholders could sample one cupcake from each baker and then vote for their favorite.

Contestants had to be dedicated to get involved. Bakers supplied their own ingredients to make their 180 miniature cupcakes. Annette Libby says it took her pretty much all day to make her tie for second place, Pink Champagne with Butter Cream Frosting cupcakes.

Libby tells how the cupcakes were made.

"I made three batches of the cupcake batter (Betty Crocker SuperMoist White Cake Mix) and never let the batter completely deplete before making the next batch. This was done to ensure that I would get a consistent color among my cupcakes. Make sure you let them cool completely," says Libby.

There was chemistry involved too.

"To ensure the moisture would remain with making smaller cupcakes, I reduced the temperature of my oven to 325 and baked them for about 12 minutes, testing to assure they were done. I removed them immediately from the pan let them cool completely. I also filled them about three quarters full," says Libby.

She made two batches of frosting at the same to make certain she would have the same color consistency.

She used the old fashioned way with the frosting. "I spread each cupcake with frosting, I did not pipe it on. Use the old fashioned way, it is worth the extra time, presentation wise," says Libby.

Special touches like André champagne, edible pearls, lots of butter, sugar, real vanilla and EGG-LAND'S BEST eggs were used.

Here's what participating bakers made:

Mark DeLancey - Spring Awakening cupcakes (Tangerine cupcakes with Mango ganoche and Pear royal icing).

Gabriella DuFault - Cherry cupcakes with Cheesecake filling and Cherry Cream Cheese frosting.

Cassandra Estey (Midnite Bakers) - Pineapple Inside Out cupcakes with Coconut frosting.

Marie Estey (Simple Sweets) - Gluten-Free Strawberry cupcakes with Cream Cheese frosting.

Ruth Estey (Midnite Bakers) - Peanut Butter Inside Out Cupcake with chocolate and peanut butter drizzle.

Dan Fitzpatrick - Tiramisu cupcakes.

April Graves - PB&J cupcakes.

Kathy Howe - Lemon Dream cupcakes.

Thea Howe-Hayward - Mint Monkey cupcakes.

Annette Libby - Pink Champagne cupcakes with Butter Cream frosting.

Jenny Ouelett - Vegan Chocolate Avocado cupcakes with Banana Butter Cream frosting.

Jessica Pomerleau (Sweetly Yours Custom Cakes) - Dark Chocolate cupcakes with Raspberry ganoche and Raspberry frosting.

Alana Rogers (Simple Sweets) - French Vanilla cupcakes with Mocha frosting.

And the winners were:

Jenny Ouelett of Epping and Annette Libby of Madison tied for second place.

Kathy Howe of Conway won first place and the $150 cash prize, along with a champion apron displaying the work of local artist June McLeavey. The prizes were presented by Andrea Porter, Miss Mount Washington Valley Teen court member.

Dufault would like to thank the Gibson Center, Pepsi-Cola, the Mountain Ear, June McLeavey and Sweetly Yours Custom Cakes, as well as all of the bakers and a lot of cupcake lovers for their support and generosity. Dufault says it was a very successful fundraiser.

"Everyone had a great time and plans are in the works for next year's competition, which will be even bigger and better," she says.

Watch for details at www.valleypromotions.net.

Martin Lord & Osman
Salmon Press
Varney Smith
Garnett HIll
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