Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Cupcake Camp London - a gloriously gruesome day out

This Sunday was a day I'd been looking forward to for some time. Not only was it my ninth wedding anniversary, it was Cupcake Camp London.

I signed up some time ago and have been trying out recipes ever since. I finally settled on three, and gave them suitably horrific Halloween names. Well they may have been a little lame but creating the little stickers for them gave me something to do on a cold October afternoon and kept me busy.

First up - Dawn of the Dead. This was a devils food cake (what else could you use on Halloween!), filled with a bloody cherry compote (meant to look like braaaaains), smothered in a thick layer of decadent chocolate frosting and topped with crushed oreo earth. Oh and a zombie hand sticking out of it, hence the name.

Next up was Pumpkinhead - a spicy pumpkin cake, with a Halloween Oreo baked inside, covered in a pumpkin coloured cream cheese frosting. The frosting was meant to have cinnamon in it but after baking a gazillion cupcakes (well 40) I forgot. Ooops. They still tasted good though! They were also going to be topped with a pumpkin peeps but the little buggers wouldn't pull apart nicely so I gave up.

Finally was my entry into the Most Unusual Ingredient competition, Attack of the Killer Sprouts. I had tried a few other ingredients but in the end I went with possibly the weirdest ingredient I've ever used in a cupcake - brussel sprouts. That's right, the lovely little green vegetables that I never understand why people dislike as I love them.

I found the recipe via the Times Online while googling unusual cake ingredients (which I spent a lot of time doing, seeking inspiration). The actual recipe I got from Kent Online, and I thought about decorating it similarly to the pic on there, but instead went for a walnut (or braaaain if you're being Halloween'y). I slightly changed the recipe by adding a half teaspoon each extra of the spices, and I used some fabulous coconut flakes I got from M&S rather than dessicated coconut.  I wasn't that keen on the cake, it was ok in a carrot cake with an odd taste kinda way (that'd be the sprouts), but I wouldn't buy one. Manny actually ate about 4 of them. In all the excitement I didn't get any pictures of the cupcakes, but I've sent a call out on Twitter to see if anyone got some, until then;

This is it pre-baking - doesn't it look delish!

And if you look closely you can see them in the green polka dot cases, back right on the picture. There's a better pic here courtesy of Cupcake Kelly.

So, Cupcake Camp itself was AMAZING. I went along myself as Manny had sparring class and all my friends decided they couldn't face an early Sunday morning in Camden (thanks!). Alas some of my pumpkin cakes got a little squished on the way to the Proud Gallery but they looked fine when laid out in their room, Desert Orchid, sadly  I wasn't in the Manowar room!

Hail and Kill \m/

Once my cupcakes we set up I went and had a coffee and then a little chat with Kelly (who writes the fabulous An American Cupcake in London) while drooling over her wonderful creations including the gorgeous bubblegum one, second from the right. Her stall was next to the glamorous Ms Cupcake so I caught up with her and her (very exciting...more details coming soon) news and met her lovely new baker, Jayson. Just before it was all about to start Manny arrived bruised from sparring class and we pootled off to get some tokens so we could have some cake. If I'm honest, I didn't eat much cake. After baking and being on my feet solidly for hours on Saturday I didn't really feel like I could face much cake, so I bought cake, had a bit then gave the rest to Manny. That way I contributed to the great cause and got to try some other bakers cakes. 

From Kelly we tried her Orange Velvet - this was a seriously nice cake topped with frosting that tasted of a Terry's Chocolate Orange. I really liked this and can't wait till she shares the recipe on her blog!

From Rose and Rhubarb, the gorgeous and very tasty rose and rhubarb cake. These were adorable and they won my heart with her gorgeous labels for her cakes.

This is a really nice triple chocolate Manny spotted immediately - I have no idea who made it but if it was you please let me know - it was lush!

We couldn't resist a Ms Cupcake creation (and if you could there is something wrong with you!) and opted to share a bounty cupcake. I honestly don't know  how she does it. These cakes are 100% vegan yet taste more chocolatey than a lot of the high end cupcakes I buy that claim to be full of Valrhona and the like. If she made a vat of this I'd happily jump in.

Front right is a coconut cupcake from Bake Me Happy - Manny had hoped for one of their chocolate mocha cakes but they'd all sold out. This was a really nice moist cake with a hint of coconut. I loved their stall and their branding as well - we had a chat with the baker and she was very friendly.

Manny picked this up thinking it was a licorice cupcake that a Twitter friend had made. It wasn't. I'm still not sure what the flavour was if I'm honest. Sorry. It looked pretty though.

Finally a little jar of yummyness from the previously featured G Deserts. I picked up a chocolate topped with Nutella frosting and went back a few minutes later to get a couple more as gifts for people we were meeting later and they'd all gone. Very tasty moist cake, but a bit small to share.

All in all Cupcake Camp was a great day out, lots of fun, lots of cake and lots of lovely people. According to Daisy the event raised approximately £4000 and attracted not only fabulous bakers from all over the UK (and Paris!), but also lots of friendly people who wanted to eat and relax, and a couple of celebs too. The atmosphere was great and I really hope they fulfill their promise and do it again next year, I promise to make heavy metal themed cupcakes if I'm allowed to be in the Manowar room!

Oh and finally a little something I nearly forgot to mention. I WON!!

My brussel sprouts came through for me and I won. The judges on the most unusual ingredient included Lily Vanilli and Edd Kimber. Lily sent a message round Twitter to say that she'd loved my cake which I found very touching and a couple of people who spoke to Edd said he liked it very much. I was so happy and in complete and utter shock when they called out my name. I'd spent the day worrying the judges would spit it out when they tasted it.

I got a lovely selection of baking goodies, including a fabulous spatula which has some conversion tables on it which I'll find incredibly useful.

Just a final couple of pics. 

After Iron Cupcake we celebrated at a friends pub in Camden with this cake from Curly Sue Cakes that my friend had bought for Halloween from Eat your Heart Out. Isn't it fantastically gruesome. 

Hope you all had a happy Halloween and I'd love to hear what you thought of Cupcake Camp.


Abbie said...

Congrats on the win!! (I'm a secret sprout lover too!!)

Your cupcakes looked great! speshly the dawn of the dead ones :)

rebecca said...

Congratulations! I love Brussels Sprouts but would never never think to put them in a cupcake! So clever!

And your pumpkin cupcakes look so good! I want one. Cupcake+Oreo=WIN!

The whole event looks like SO much delicious fun. I wish one would be held here in DC; there is certainly no shortage of cupcakeries or cupcake makers in this city.

Sarah-Jane - SiliconeMoulds.com said...

wow - what an event. Congratulations on your win. I still can't imagine putting sprouts in cupcakes !

Cupcake Crazy Gem said...

Wow Anne, congrats on the win! that is awesome! nice to see all your hard work running up to the event of trial-ing crazy flavours paid off! I cannot even begin to imagine what a brussel sprouts cupcake would taste like but it must have been good for the win! I also loved your dawn of the dead cupcakes, did you use moulds to make the hands? and your pumpkinheads were too cute with the halloween Oreo inside! So sad that I missed out on this awesome cupcake event but glad to catch up about it on your blog so thx for the detailed write up and pics!

Cupcake Kelly said...

I had such a good time! Thanks for photos of my cakes. You can use my flickr photos if there's a better one of your cakes. Grab the html code for the photo and paste in your blog. I am seriously gutted I didn't get one your halloween oreo cupcakes! They look so good.

The Caked Crusader said...

Well done on your win! I have had one dalliance with sprout cake and found it rather too sprouty for my tastes!

Looks like a great day

Archies Mum said...

Congratulations on winning with your sprout cupcake. Your other creations looked really lovely, but it must have been a lot of hard work. Sorry but there is no way I could have eaten the head cake, uughh it just looks far too real lol

Manny said...

I had a brilliant day, what a great way to spend our anniversary :) Cupcake Camp was awesome and so well organised. Daisy seemed really sweet and I'm glad the event was such a success :) I'm so proud of you for winning that award, you deserve it too, who'd have thought sprout could actually make a tasty cupcake?? Your chocolate and pumpkin cakes were superb, I wish I'd bought more of them myself :)

I'm really looking forward to next year's Cupcake Camp, I only ate 6 or 7 cakes this time - I shall do better next year :)

Baking Addict said...

Congratulations on the win and on your anniversary :)
I'm so gutted I didnt get to try your cupcakes :( Oh well there's always next year or maybe if Kelly resurrects Cupcake Club or Sam resurrects Iron Cupcake.

I heart cupcakes said...

Abbie - I really don't get how people can dislike sprouts, they're fab!
Thanks re the win and the cupcakes :)

Rebecca - I was trying all different things and ended up googling something like gross stuff in cakes and found sprouts!
The pumpkin ones were really nice and the Oreo stayed nice and crunchy inside the cake.
I thought I saw something about Cupcake Camp DC or maybe I'm just imagining it?

Sarah Jane - Thanks :) It was a great event, Daisy the organiser did so well! It was kinda like a carrot cake but with a sproutyness

Hey Gem - thanks :) I hope you're having a fab time on your lovely island! The hands were actually bought from Bake it Pretty in America - they're awesome and as soon as I saw them I had to get them. The Oreos were also from America - loved the Halloween ones!
It was a shame you missed it, it would've been right up your street! Hope you're having fun in your new life!

Kelly - it was such a great day, I loved it. Thanks re the pics. I loved the Halloween Oreos and in a cake they were really tasty! Thanks for your kind comment :)

Sam - I've just checked your blog - OMG you're always ahead of me, you made it ages ago!! It was a fabulous day, pity you couldn't make it!

Archies Mum - thanks, I had a very sore hand after holding the mixer all day, thus proving again I need a Kitchenaid!
The head was pretty gruesome but tasted fab!

Manny - you really are the ambassador of all cupcake events. I'm not sure there are many men around that have been to as many cupcake events as you :)
Glad you had a great day and didn't get too bored, can't have you getting bored of cupcakes as you're my number one tester!

I heart cupcakes said...

Thanks Baking Addict :) your cupcakes looked amazing and I'm also gutted I didn't get to try more cupcakes from bloggers that I follow. There was just such a choice -maybe we should have a bloggers room at the next one ;)
I wish Iron Cupcake would come back!

Manny said...

Me getting bored of cupcakes?? I can't see that happening hun, don't worry :)