Cupcake Madness-Narragansett, RI

So this blog post, is very near and dear to me, but it has taken me about 5 months to get to writing it.  Wedding stuff had taken over my life (in a good way!), and Cupcake Madness in Narragansett, RI has fallen to the wayside for blog posts.  It is not any less exciting, and in saying that…I won second place for best frosting!  But I digress, a little background on the competition.  My future (Now) in-laws have a condo at Narragansett Beach in RI, and last year we had seen some posters up about a cupcake baking challenge.  I was a little late getting myself together for a cupcake competition last year, so I waited until this year, and even then I still debated what I was getting myself into.  This competition, is ALL RI professional bake shops, competing in various categories ranging from, best frosting, to best vegan cupcake, to best gluten-free, and on and on.  Truth be told, a rather daunting task for an at home baker.  I even debated pulling out of the competition the night before, even AFTER I had baked 200+ cupcakes for the challenge.  Luckily, I had my rock steady support group ready in the flanks and they kept pushing me along on this endeavor.
Here are some of my busy bees at work, or as my sister so cleverly named them, Binny’s Bitches:

The process began on Thursday night.  I sat in front of my baking cabinet (yes I have a whole baking cabinet) and emptied out the items I thought I would need to decorate and bake these cupcakes.  Friday night, we got to the RI condo at about 8PM.  We quickly unloaded the car, and I set off to the grocery store to buy all of my baking items. $200 later and I was on my way back to set up the kitchen for the next day of baking.  Side note: I do not think I have ever been so grossed out by massive amounts of confectioner’s sugar in my life before this moment.  Gave me a cavity just looking at all of the bags!

I had all of my recipes laid out and a game plan for which would take the longest.  I had 4 different types of cupcakes I was making, with 4 different types of frostings.  I left the frostings until Sunday morning, boy was that a fun fire drill!  Thank god for my troops!  These are the flavors I made with their oh so creative names my friends helped me out on: La Vita Bella Limoncello, Top P’ The Mornin’ Car Bombs, Sunny Strawberry lemonade, and Can I Have S’more?.  I think about the only overlap I had in ingredients was flour, sugar, powdered sugar, and maybe a few (or a lot of!) citrus fruits here and there.

At this early point of Saturday morning, it was only myself and Brendan at the condo, and (luckily for him) he had a broken wrist.  I was thinking I had a built in dishwasher, but apparently not!  I got about 2 flavors of cupcakes into the oven before my reinforcements (my parents) showed up and could help me by washing dishes in between so I could keep the process going.  I started baking at around 9am and finished at 3pm.  Not worthy of Cupcake Wars time, but I thought it was pretty impressive to finish 4 flavors of cupcakes, 200 total cupcakes, with 1 oven, limited bowls, AND limited muffin tins in anything under 10 hours!

Here is a picture of all 200 cupcakes; pre-frosting:

Then it was time for lunch from our favorite deli in Narragansett, The Picnic Basket.  I gave myself the rest of the afternoon/night off and we took a nice trip into Newport for dinner at The Fastnet, a dive pub that reminds me of Ireland-with Magners on tap!

Sunday morning was an absolute blur.  I woke up early to start the frostings, not anticipating that these would almost take longer than the cupcakes themselves! Two of the cupcakes needed to be cored and filled, and then frosted.  I couldn’t do that the night before because I was afraid that the cupcakes would get too dried out on the inside, so this was a morning of deal.  The Irish Car Bombs needed to have a Jameson chocolate ganache on the inside, so that had to be made as well.  Luckily the Limoncello ones just had a raspberry purchased jam piped into them.  At about my second flavor of frosting for the Limoncello cupcakes, I had been frosting each cupcake with a mound of frosting (since I ALWAYS have leftover frosting when baking at home) and ran short.  And in all of my calculations before the competition on groceries etc., I was hard pressed to be able to find enough of the ingredients to make another batch.  I decided with the Strawberry lemonade cupcakes that this frosting would be close enough to match with the Limoncello, and could be a kid-friendly version!  I started to frost the cupcakes with less frosting at this point, but still ended up running low on the Irish Car Bomb frosting as well.  Note for next year: DOUBLE THE FROSTINGS! Then I had to decorate the S’mores cupcakes with graham cracker and marshmallows, and chocolate bars.  Quite the endeavor.

While I was busy frosting away and barking orders at whoever was left in the condo, Brendan went over to The Village Inn early to pick out a good spot for Binny’s Buns to set up.  With pink tablecloth in hand, he picked a perfect table, that he and my mom set up beautifully.  I had the handmade cupcake tower that my dad made, my banner from VistaPrint, a few trinkets to dress up the table here and there and I was in business.  My 3 helpers got my cupcakes over to the Inn while I ran through the shower and ran over for opening announcements.  Needless to say, I was exhausted.  Three hours of what seemed like thousands of people, walking around, asking questions, and buying up the cupcakes with their purchased tickets.  I came home with 24 cupcakes out of 200+ cupcakes, and was thrilled.  I felt very accomplished and cleaned up my table while listening to the awards.

Here is a picture of the table all set up:

Being one of possibly the only at home bakers in the competition, I continued on my task and half listened to these major wonderful RI bakeries win their awards.  I had entered 2 flavors of cupcakes into 2 categories.  For best frosting, I entered the Limoncello and Irish Car Bombs.  For signature cupcake, I entered the Strawberry Lemonade and S’mores.  I thought if any, the S’mores would win.  It is always a crowd favorite.  They got to best frostings, announced 2nd runner up, then 1st runner up was: Binny’s Buns with the Limoncello cupcakes! I nearly fell over.  I couldn’t believe they said my name.  Such an accomplishment for being a home baker from Connecticut and entering into a competition like this.  I was so excited and I have to give a big thanks to Brendan and my parents for #1 putting up with my crazy dream, #2 for supporting me through this, #3 for helping me prepare 200 cupcakes for the greater good of practicing for Cupcake Wars :) .  And a special thank you to my in-laws for allowing me to borrow their RI kitchen to make this dream a reality.

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