Cupcakes, Cupcakes, Cupcakes

Being a food writer certainly has its perks: like getting to judge food competitions.

Over the years I’ve judged tacos, tequila, salsa, chocolate, hot dogs (specifically Sonoran hot dogs) and other goodies. Yesterday I got the chance to judge cupcakes.

Gourmet Girls Gluten Free Bakery/Bistro held their Second Annual Cupcake contest yesterday and lucky me, they asked me to be a judge.

Co-ownered by Susan Tomber-Fulton and Mary Steiger, this Northwest side eatery,  is a hugely popular café that serves an entire menu of gluten free offerings. Their baked goods are out of this world and defy any notions that gluten-free means flavorless and boring.DSCN2292

There were seven other judges including Adam Lehrman of Tucson Foodie and Renee Krueger of Renee’s Organic Oven.

The contest started with guests filling out a form for their idea of a perfect cupcake. It required no baking on their part; it didn’t even require a recipe. They just had to pick a flavor for the cupcake, a filling, a frosting and a garnish. Oddly there were no chocolate cupcakes but in the end that didn’t seem to matter.DSCN2301

There were over 300 entries! The staff whittled the list down and then made the cupcakes. From there the list narrowed to eight (originally they’d planned for six but there were too many goods choices.)DSCN2297

We sampled the cupcakes one at a time, sharing each one with another judge. I shared my with last year’s winner.

The choices were interesting and creative. We voted on creativity, flavor of the cake, flavor of the filling, the frosting and garnish adding the overall affect at the last minute.

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There were flavors of lime, corn, sweet pepppers, horcharta, bourbon brickle, rosemary, fig, lemon, blueberry, ginger and beyond.

The ultimate winner was the Sweet Pepper Corn. Second place was a Sonoran Key Lime and third place was a Rosemary Fig. All the cupcakes will be part of the bakery menu for the next little while and if they prove popular they will stay on the menu.

If you haven’t already tried Gluten Girls Gourmet Bakery/Bistro I strongly suggest you do.