Sugar Crash


What goes better with 103-degree heat than cake? Lots and lots of cake? With butter cream frosting? The answer: just about anything.

As promised, I’m here with my full report on the 2008 Cupcake Challenge that took place yesterday at the Montmartre Lounge. There are already a few great rundowns online by my fellow celebrity judges Caroline on Crack, and Pat Saperstein of Eating L.A. My impression was pretty similar:


But here are a few more morning-after observations:

-The pessimist and salt-lover in me expected the event to be pretty empty. Sure, this was for charity, but $60 felt pretty steep. My general belief is that nobody could, nor should, consume any more than $15 worth of baked goods in one sitting. Boy, was I wrong. The event was completely sold out, packed with girls in sundresses as frilly as the cakes.

-The judges were stationed in a sort of dim, leather-covered cave, illuminated (off and on) by some portable industrial lighting. I mistook more than one red velvet for chocolate in the dark. My bad, or the bakery’s? You decide.

-I lost it with the chocolate cupcakes pretty fast. After choco-cake number five I thought I was done for. Thank god for the tart, lemon butter-cream cupcake from Vanilla Bake Shop—it brought me back to life. If you plan on eating more than 20 cupcakes at once sometime in the near future, I advise you to go fruity.

-It was fun to watch the judges break out in a cold sweat one by one, each needing a moment to lay back on the leather lounge sofa. Myself, Gary Baum from Angeleno, Tara de Lis from Citysearch, Pat Saperstein, and KTLA’s Sam Rubin each had some serious spells. In fact, I’m not sure Sam ever quite recovered from his.

-It turns out I’m still a sucker for retro when it comes to cupcakes. I was smitten with a Strawberry number that, as a pre-coma Sam pointed out, tasted just like strawberry Nesquik. A more controversial favorite was the green pistachio-frosted, coconut mandarin cupcake with a cherry on top from Sugar Jones. The look: just like the cover of a 1950s “entertaining” cookbook my grandmother still has in her cupboard (along with some crackers from the same decade). The taste: tiki-riffic.

-The ending was somewhat anticlimactic. No cupcake trophy, no frosting-covered awards ceremony. Nada. Just disgusting folks like myself scrounging a few cakes to take home (I swear, I’m just holding them for a friend) with no word on a winner. The ballots are still being counted, I guess. I’ll post the winner as soon as I hear.