The manliest cupcake. Does that sound like a contradiction? I wasn’t sure what to expect when asked to be a judge in the MoCupcakes event that took place at Transcend Garneau last Monday, but it sure sounded like it would be a tasty task.
MoCupcakes is one event in the Movember arsenal to help raise awareness of and funds to fight prostate cancer, a disease that 1 in 6 men will be diagnosed with in their lifetime. Although the campaign has been around for a few years (yes, it is the reason for the unsightly moustaches seen in November), 2010 has been the most successful year by far, having raised over $800,000, contributing to the over $20 million raised in Canada.
So, why cupcakes? Well, why not? From the MoCupcakes website:
Why not combine an iconic feminine baked delight “cupcakes” and mash it up with a historically masculine cause that is changing the face of men’s health?
Jas Darrah was the mastermind behind Edmonton MoCupcakes, soliciting six bakers and five judges to determine the city’s manliest cupcake. The team at Transcend (who were also growing ‘staches for the cause), were generous enough to donate the venue, with staff agreeing to work on their own time when the shop closed for the night. Bravo.
Jas explains the rules
Each of the six competitors were given an opportunity to describe their creation to the crowd, knowing that the name and explanation of their cupcake would be worth 10 out of the possible 30 points (10 additional points were awarded for the look, and the last 10 for taste).
Jerry introduces his cupcake
Bacon enthusiast Jerry Aulenbach did not disappoint – his Cheddar Bacon Mo-fin with a chocolate ganache was a play on sweet and savoury flavours. But he even had bacon-less versions for those needing a kosher cupcake!
Cheddar Bacon Mo-Fin
Although Ailynn Santos of Whimsical Cupcakes wasn’t on hand for the presentations, her box of “Big Poppa” cupcakes were accompanied with an explanation that the moustachioed cupcake featured a spice base and root beer frosting. The straw cigarette was a nice touch.
The cupcakes from Upper Crust were about twice the size of the others, and gorgeously showcased Edmonton’s most popular professional sports teams – right down to an Oilers decal made of icing and a football constructed from a chocolate-covered almond.
Transcend’s own Chad Moss offered a Chocolate Beet-down Mo-cake, using his wife Thea’s recipe. Though he would not divulge whether or not bacon fat was added to the batter, his cupcake was made using local ingredients where possible.
Chocolate Beet-down Mo-cake
Food blogger Chris Falconer offered his own interpretation of a cupcake with his Sunday Dinner Mancake, featuring a toasted bread crisp surrounding the ground beef, bacon and parmesan centre, then topped with a goat cheese mashed potato fondant and a maple sugar crisp. Talk about a dinner in cupcake form!
Sunday Dinner Mancake
Last but certainly not least, Jas’s wife Linda Affolder presented her tool-belt wearing Stud Muffins – an encapsulation of men with their “strong chocolate exterior”, a shot of Guinness in the frosting, and a soft caramel centre. The fleur de sel sprinkling was icing on the cake.
Who has the best milk moustache?
Nate means business!
That said, Linda’s salty-sweet Stud Muffin was my personal favourite – the combination of the dark chocolate, caramel centre, and fleur de sel was just perfect, and made me wonder why the local cupcakeries aren’t already capitalizing on those flavours (Linda’s recipe can be found here).
It’s a hard job, but somebody’s got to do it!
The judging remnants (all taken home and finished later)
The winners, you ask? Chris’ savoury cupcake earned 125 out of a possible 150 points for third place.
Chris and Sarah toy with their prize
Second place was awarded to Chad for his beet cupcake, who earned 132.5 points.
Chad accepts his prize from Jas
And Linda, with 140.5 points, won first. She was unfailingly humble even then!
Kerry bestows the feather boa to the MoCupcake champion
Thanks to Jas for organizing the event – it was great fun to be a part of! And a big thanks to the bakers for contributing their time and efforts to the cause.
Mack did an awesome job with the photos! You can see his entire photo set here.