Cupcake Camp

Cupcake Chaos at Cupcake Camp

This past Sunday Toronto hosted its first ever Cupcake Camp and it was complete chaos. Organizers weren't expecting much more than 100 people, but the event managed to draw more than 400 into the tiny space at Labspace Studio in Leslieville.

For the uninitiated, Cupcake Camp is all about bringing the cupcake enthusiast community together to enjoy delicious baked goods. The idea was originally hatched by a group of San Francisco cupcake fans who've already run two events.

Here's how it worked: a baker came out to the crowd, said a little bit about their baked good and then unleashed two dozen (which is all they were asked to bring) cupcakes on 400 people!

My fellow blogger-in-crime Elana Safronsky and I (on behalf of our day jobs at Food Network Canada) were asked to wade our way through dozens of cupcakes as pseudo-celebrity judges. The bakers came from all walks - professionals to at home hobbyists - and all they had to do to be there was sign up on the Cupcake Camp website. They entered their cupcakes to be judged, if not for notoriety, then for the possibility of a prize of a cookbook or apron.

Judging was based on the following categories: Best Flavour Combination in a Cupcake, Best Dessert-Inspired, Best Twist on a Classic and Best in Show. Take a look at the Cupcake Camp winners.

Our judging game plan was simple: sample small mouthful pieces so we don't get overwhelmed. The sugar-induced headache started just behind my right eye and quickly made its way to the back of my head, but I persevered and made it through like a champ.

Our sampling quickly turned to trying the smallest cupcake molecules - just enough to get a taste. We hydrated, we took our time, but the sugar was crippling. When I got home I had the saltiest most bacon-y pizza just to try to balance myself out.

I was following the event through Twitter (and Tweeting) on my iPhone the whole time and early on there was criticism from attendees. A lot of people indulged, but some of the less-pushy on the outer rims of the crowd shared one or two cupcakes or walked away empty handed. The ravenous crowd eventually calmed down and the event organizers got a rhythm going by the end of the day; eventually the Twitter crowd gave praise.

Cupcake Camp 2 is already in the works for later this year and all the buzz about the event has inspired some Ottawa cupcake fans to start Capital Cupcake.

Contributed by Jessica McLaughlin. Videos from RJToronto and Spotlight Toronto. Photo by Photojunkie on Flickr.

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