Monday, April 12, 2010
Cupcake Camp NYC 2010 Coverage
What an amazing event!
The Camp was scheduled to begin at 7pm. I had no plans of getting there at 7, and aimed for 6:30. Why? I looked up the venue and the number of people that attended the event last year, and it didn't take much reading to figure out bakers would need to set up early, before the hoards of people filled up every available space in Happy Ending. Last year 334 people RSVP'd. This year, that number jumped to almost 2,000.
Most people, like myself, could make and carry at the most 4 dozen cupcakes. Many people brought far less. And you can't blame them- 4 dozen cupcakes can be quite cumbersome (I used a clean pizza box to transport my cupcakes).
More chitchat later, onto the cupcakes!
^ These babies are my Apple Pie Cupcakes- gone in the first 50 minutes of CC2010 (as were most of the cupcakes!)
^ Peanut butter chocolate chip cupcakes by my new buddy Adrian (who was super nice- I wouldn't have been able to handle this event without him!)
^ Cappuccino chocolate chip cupcakes with espresso powder, also by Adrian.
^ Red velvet with cream cheese icing
^ The only baked good that I don't think made cupcake criteria.
^ Donut of Champions
^ Sunshine Cereal cupcakes topped with Fruity Pebbles
^ To the right are almond cupcakes made by Miriam's Cakes (email@example.com)
^ The middle ones with pink frosting have cherry liqueur, the ones on the outside are chocolate cake covered in walnuts.
^ The ones to the right are red velvet
^ Beet red velvet with goat cheese frosting, by Norah Burton (firstname.lastname@example.org)
^ Comfort Cupcake: Chocolate cupcake with cream cheese frosting topped with a peanut butter and jelly macaron. By http://www.macaronparlour.com/
^ The Say Anything cupcake made by Mel B.
If you were a baker and you see your creation here, let me know in an email or comment! I'll be glad to add your name, email or website to the post :)
Some of my favorites were the Donut of Champions, the ice cream frosted mini, and the pumpkin ginger mini by Cake Lab.
I had a blast! It wasn't all good news though.
Me and Adrian both had friends who were supposed to meet us inside and who didn't get in till all the cupcakes were gone. They came on time at 7PM, and ended up waiting on a line that went around the block, instead of simply down it. Both our groups of friends got in a mere hour after the doors opened- and everything was gone. He saved his girlfriend and his friends two of his cupcakes. Had I not went around the Camp before the rush of non-bakers arrived, I wouldn't have gotten the maybe 12 cupcakes that I did. I ended up splitting these with my three friends.
A woman who came from an out of the way area of Brooklyn had sat in front of her computer on a waiting list, and was given 15 minutes to reply when a spot opened up. She rushed over only to be greeted with a crazy line and a practically deserted bar, with of course, no cupcakes. *I* had to be the one to tell her, which was not fun.
I heard lots of stories. For a short while, there were rumors downstairs of cupcakes upstairs. I went upstairs to investigate, only to find one variety of cupcakes that looked flawed in their design being scooped up fast by desperate cupcake fans. Folks upstairs went downstairs in a futile effort to find more cupcakes. I saw bakers holding on to up to five cupcakes they themselves had brought. My friends were apparently told that if they went and purchased cupcakes from someplace they would be let in immediately. They did try to find some, but the nearest bodega didn't even offer Entenmann's.
Long story short, I can't wait for next year! I will just over-prepare, as I did this time (and it paid off).
Looking for more Cupcake Camp coverage? Check out the Cupcake Camp Tweetwally & Cupcakes Take the Cake for a video of the crazy line, as well as Cupcake Camps Facebook group- where you can upload photos from the event! You can also read about a late attendees experience at Cakeb0t.
UPDATE: Anny Cakes is the winner of the design competition for her sparkly cupcakes and Best in Show went to Audrey Criss from New Jersey with her spice cake cupcakes topped with whipped cream cheese frosting. You can read more about the event from the organizers themselves here.
Here are some more pictures:
The downstairs bar
A sitting area before the rush
The upstairs bar
Upstairs. Sorry for the obnoxious flash guys! I was trying (unsuccessfully) to show how packed to the brim the place was.
I got the last cupcake cocktail, and I was very grateful for it.
Tips & Tricks
1. Arrive EARLY. I cannot stress this enough. When I arrived at 6:30, there was already a line down the block. The organizers will fill the venue up to capacity, but they have to adhere to fire codes, so once fire code capacity is reached your stuck waiting (and the cupcakes disappear fast- most if not all are gone within one hour of the doors opening).
2. Bake or bring cupcakes. People who brought cupcakes are let in first, so we can set up and because of the extra effort we put in. Getting in early lets you beat the crowds, so you can move around more freely and collect all the available cupcake flavors before they are gone. And the more cupcakes there are for everyone, the more there are for you. You by no means have to stay with your cupcakes, so bring em and forget about em if you like.
3. Bring a cupcake carrier. Hands (if your using both) can hold about 6 cupcakes tops, and regular sized tupperware or disposable aluminum cupcake trays also limit you to about 6 cupcakes, there's also not a lot of surface area to set them down on so you can eat. With a carrier you can even fill it up and take it home or to a park, so you can enjoy your bounty in peace, which will allow more people to get in.
4. Happy Ending has been the venue chosen for both cupcake camps. Be aware that there is an upstairs and a downstairs, and two bars. The entryway as well as the stairwell are very narrow. Cupcakes are located on both floors, and you'll have to wade your way through walls of people to access the cupcakes.
5. Plastic knives are insanely useful, as well as conscientious. Cupcakes can be quite large, especially when your eating 60 of them. Most regular sized cupcakes can be cut 4 ways. You can taste more by splitting them with someone, and you won't have to leave partially eaten cupcakes lying about (there were many). And again, this means more cupcakes for everyone!
The unfortunate remains. How many of these cupcakes could have been saved if only they were split four ways?
6. Make business cards. I made mine in Microsoft Office Word, and they were printed out on regular printing paper. Nothing fancy, just something that people can walk away with so they remember who made what. It also helps to stick something into the cupcake itself that has this information.
Two friendly suggestions for the organizers:
A lot of bakers and attendees felt a larger venue was needed. Happy Ending is an awesome place, but with almost 2,000 people RSVP'ing this year (and many of them leaving without cupcakes) we felt Cupcake Camp has outgrown the surface area they can offer.
I'd personally love to see a "program" of sorts, with a bakers name and website or email listed next to the name of their cupcakes. There is nothing wrong with organized chaos, but I'd love to be able to easily find the contact info for a cupcake I particularly enjoyed, since not everyone has business cards and those that are available can be challenging to get and almost impossible to link to the cupcakes themselves.
I won't pretend to understand how difficult organizing a massive event like this is, and I don't want this entry to sound too critical. I hope my suggestions and observations are taken as I mean them, in the most friendly and respectful way possible. I'm grateful I was able to be a part of Cupcake Camp, and new venue or not, I will be back next year :)