Sunday, January 25, 2009

Cupcake Camp Toronto

Today from 2-5pm in the East end, there was a cupcake bake-off where dozens of bakers brought cupcakes to show off and more than 350 people turned up to chow down.

It was a Mad. House.

Things started to go awry when I realized that I was not going to get to have a nice, polite sampling of every kind of crazy cupcake the bakers had dreamed up (I saw one with HAM on it!). Cupcakes were being served whole, from two tables in the long, open, studio space and it seemed that at most each style was represented by no more than 2 dozen individual pieces, often less.

My suggestion for next time? Put tables around the edges of the space where each cupcake baker can have a spot to set up at and let the people walk through in one direction only. Start at the door, end at the door, and get to try a section of a cupcake from each table along the way as your taste buds are tempted by the offerings. We should go to the cupcakes, we can not be trusted to have them brought to us.



Back to what happened - the organizers would bring a baker to the microphone and we would hear a description of what was about to be set on the table (aka fed to the wolves). Often before the tray could even hit the table, the cupcakes on it were snatched away by the throng.

I watched cupcakes go in milliseconds as I parried for a better position. Finally I got right up to the table's edge and then waited patiently, muscles twitching for my chance.

After I was once again cakeblocked by the hordes when the lemon meringue homage landed, I realized that my plate and napkin were a red herring and that I must have both hands free if I was to score any cupcakery for myself and my partner in crime.

The opportunity came 15 minutes later, this time for cupcake gold - the cafe latte - which was a cupcake perched in a sugar icing creation that resembled a coffee mug. The cupcake icing was the steamy milk top. Pictures are attached. The second set was a Rolo-inspired cupcake with mini Rolos on top of the butter-icing dome and a caramel center in the moist cakey part.

Pleased with my cupcake providing, my partner in crime and I pulled back from the table to let others get their just deserts (sorry, I couldn't help myself) which is something I wish more people had done. I watched several people stay close to the table's edge even though they had already eaten cupcakes, and that just lacks the kind of goodwill you hope to see at an event like this. Our treasure was tasty and well enjoyed, worry not.



Walking back down Pape St. with the sugar starting to rush to my head, I found myself saying "That was like something that would happen in New York City", and "There were lots of artists there obviously, but a totally different crowd than in the West End. Who were those people?".

For me, it was an excellent (food) adventure that took me outside the usual Queen West/Parkdale style events, and for that I applaud the organizers. A final note, I would like to also express my appreciation for the tech-savvyness of the operation. I heard about it through a friend who knew one of the entrants, then found the Facebook event and while at the event learned of the Twitter feed...not many events in Toronto have their sh*t this networked yet that I have seen. So extra applause for using the great tools that exist to your advantage and for making this event so multi-dimensional.

2 comments:

CupCakeCampTO said...

Thanks for the post. Overall, it was a lot more than we ever expected. Originally we were expecting to have around 100 people based on everything we'd heard up to the day.

Not sure if you noticed but we started dividing up the cupcakes mid way through the event. We're already taking notes on how to smooth out some of the bumps for CupCakeCampTO 2 in the fall.

Thanks for coming out!

ellie lane said...

(on a topic unrelated to this post: i also wish i had more proof that i existed at 15. bloody hell - too true.)