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Review: 1st Cupcake Challenge makes way to Columbus, offers tasty options

Breanna Soroka / Lantern reporter

There is a new queen of cupcakes in Columbus, and she was chosen by the people at the very first Columbus Cupcake Challenge.

The baking competition took place Wednesday night at Camelot Cellars in the Short North. From 7  to 9 p.m., guests were given tickets to redeem at each of six cupcake stands. Once they decided which treats they liked best, voters  cast their ballots in hopes that their favorite would be chosen.

Once the votes were tallied, Cupcake Yum.Yum came out on top and was crowned the winner of the Columbus Cupcake Challenge. 

Short North Piece of Cake brought Bloody Mary cupcakes to the mix. Julie Flowers, decorator for the bakery, explained how all of the surprising ingredients worked together.

“They are tomato-based with Worcestershire sauce, vodka, lemon juice, all the things that go in a Bloody Mary,” Flowers said. “And they have a traditional white buttercream with a cayenne pepper add-in and crystal sugar on top for sweetness. They’re also made with celery to cool the heat from the cayenne, and topped with a handmade fondant olive.”

The cupcake brought forth a burst of unexpected spice, and the deliciousness of the cupcake was actually a surprise to me. Anything more than the small sample provided would have proven too overwhelming in terms of flavor, though. Piece of Cake is located at 772 N. High St. and is open Monday through Saturday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Tin Bakery provided cupcakes with a stout flavor in both the cake and the icing, said bakery owner Elaine Duren.

“It’s a chocolate stout cupcake with a vanilla stout buttercream,” Duren said. “And it has crushed, hand-dipped, chocolate-covered pretzels on top.”

There was a massive pile of frosting on top of this cupcake, and while this is normally my favorite part, I found that the buttercream on its own was too strong and much heavier than I would have liked it. Overall, this was an interesting twist of flavor but only enjoyable in three bites or less. 

Tin Bakery is located at 1750 W. Lane Ave., and is open Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. 

Gigi’s Cupcakes provided a Kentucky bourbon-based cupcake. Dantelle Carroll, a fourth-year in marketing and employee of the bakery, said that this cupcake is the real deal.

“It’s a bourbon cream cheese frosting with a chocolate pecan cake (base), and the top is drizzled with ganache, caramel and chocolate chips,” Carroll said. “And there’s actual bourbon … when we say bourbon, we mean bourbon.”

The cupcake’s base was much denser than I was expecting, but it worked. Though there was so much sugar in the toppings, yet it didn’t overwhelm me with sweetness – I was easily able to finish the entire thing.

Gigi’s Cupcakes is located at 2019 Polaris Parkway, and is open Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., and Sunday noon to 6 p.m.

PolkaDot Cupcakery was also present with a salted caramel cupcake that I was initially ecstatic to try, but that was a flavorful disappointment. The textures of the cake and the icing were inconsistent and just didn’t add up. This bakery is located at 2926 Hayden Run Plaza and is open Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Our CupCakery provided patrons with a sample of either Backwards Buckeye or Berry Lemonade, both of which were as light and fluffy as could be. Though the Backwards Buckeye could have been dull with the peanut butter chocolate combination, it had the most refreshing chocolate filling and creamiest peanut butter frosting, making it one of my favorite Buckeye-flavored items yet. Our CupCakery is located at 16 N. High St. in Dublin and is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Cupcake Yum.Yum came with a blackberry syrah-flavored cupcake that was an interesting mix of flavors. I found the chocolate in the base too overwhelming for the rest of the cupcake, but the buttercream frosting was whipped to perfection. Cupcake Yum.Yum is located at 2680 Billingsley Road and is open Thursday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday from 3 to 6 p.m., and Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon.

Janice Aquino, owner of Camelot Cellars, said that although this is the first year the event has taken place, there are already plans to continue hosting it due to its popularity.

“I think we had about 100 people sign up to come, and about 70 people showed up, so it was a pretty good turnout,” Aquino said. “We will (have it again), we actually already have people on a waitlist to get in next time.”

Camelot Cellars is located at 958 N. High St. and is open Tuesday through Thursday from 3  to 10 p.m., Friday from 2  to 11 p.m., and Saturday from noon to 11 p.m.

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