Sunday's Mini Cupcake Clash Was a Swirl of Costumes and Buttercream

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Tamara Palmer
Sweetiecups' "La Vie en Brie"
​We thought we were way over cupcakes, but as we told a friend, "If cupcakes were always as good as the ones we had at the SF Food Wars Mini Cupcake Clash, we'd be happy!" (Or words to that effect.)

Sunday was a perfect day for cupcaking in the delightful courtyard next to Stable Café, temperate and a little overcast. We were charmed by the scene: eager attendees, who'd paid a more-than-reasonable $10 to sample what turned out to be 22 different mini cupcakes, wandering down a Willie Wonka dream-alley lined with tables laden with sweets. Creativity abounded, in the naming of the teams as well as their confections, and also in costumes and the ineffable art of display. Who could resist the two mustached girls (Team Mustache, bien sur) who cooked up beer-flavored bites called "Guinness Gasm"? Or the Sweetiecups, with their carefully-decorated pear/walnut cakes iced with brie, paired with tiny cups of white wine? Or the three-tiered cheerful yellow-and-white-checked gingham stand of Hella Fat's "My Grandma's Bananas"?

Savory oddities included olive oil cupcakes with vinaigrette-flavored frosting, and bacon poppers hiding cherry tomatoes, iced with chive cream cheese. We loved the little bacon-and-maple syrup Piggycakes, too.

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Tamara Palmer
Zaftig Sweets' "So What Spiced Mocha"
​The judges (SFoodie's own Tamara Palmer, Jen Musty of Batter Bakery, and Steve Gdula of Gobba Gobba Hey) had their work cut out for them. In the end, there were duplications on the lists of both the judges' and the popular votes' favorites: the Hella Fats' "My Grandma's Bananas" came in second for the judges and first for the People's Choice, and the judges' first prize went to Cinnaholic Sweets' "Blueberry Dragon Fruit Chocolate Ganache Cakes," which also won the Most Photogenic prize from the assembled photographers. (For a complete list of entrants, prizewinners, and prizes, go to www.sffoodwars.com.) Our personal favorite, the bright and moist Lemon Zinger, was nowhere to be seen.

By the sheerest chance, we'd been chatting with the actual white-haired grandma of "My Grandma's Bananas," who was proud enough to bust even before her girls won two prizes.

When SF Food Wars' Jeannie Choe announced that the next battle would be in early December (date TBD), with the theme of "Holiday Fixins," the crowd cheered. We'll be there. But somehow we think we'll be missing a certain cuteness factor.

Yesterday, we were shocked to see the Stable Café on the 11 O'Clock News -- flooded due to a nasty sewage break at 17th and Folsom, caused by the inch of rain that fell on Monday afternoon. But it couldn't wash away our sweet memories. Catch more pics on SFoodie's slide show.

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