Any person who has crossed paths with a mini Cupcake knows the inevitable smile effect. Cute, small pastries are destined to cause happiness. I entered the 6TH  Annual Cupcake Competition smiling. Unfortunately that smile melted into frustration as a Root Beer Float Cupcake blocked my path. I turned… into an oncoming Creamsicle Cupcake. My only weapon was a tiny, paper plate- a gross underestimate. Amidst the battle I wanted to yell, “Why did it take this long for me to experience this awesome event?”

Cupcake Display Ferris Wheel [The Great St. Pete Cupcake Contest |]
One of the whimsical Cupcake displays
I guess if you’ve been mostly gluten-free for so long, suddenly lifting those restrictions tends to bring out an overwhelmed and mad Pyra-Danny.

I swear all the event ads mentioned $1 per sample. So my Sibling Army was conservative as we settled on ten samples each. Alas, reality was much more fun. It was $1 tickets to vote for the People’s Choice winners… but the Cupcake samples were free. Totally free! It was that scene from Home Alone 2 when Kevin realizes his family is in Florida and he’s in New York. Ohhh the possibilities! How could we NOT restrain ourselves from tearing through each booth like Godzilla did to Tokyo?

With almost fifty competitors packed tightly into the Morean Center’s hall, the displays were as varying as the flavors. Contestant Amy was dropping Bubblegum Candies over her colorful and aptly named Bubblegum Cupcakes. Contestant The Vincent House used a large sunflower bouquet to add color among its Cappuccino Vegan Cupcakes.

The two best Cupcakes [The Great St. Pete Cupcake Contest |]
[Left] Jen’s Chai Latte Cupcakes [Right] Brittney’s Vegan Double Mocha Cupcakes
My Sibling Army grew obsessed with Contestant Jen’s Chai Latte Cupcakes- subtly sweet with great Cinnamon hints throughout- and demanded I drop all my votes for her. Contestant Brittney’s Vegan Double Mocha Cupcakes were another favorite. Those two went on to place in the ‘Best Overall Frosting’ and ‘Best Specialty Category’ respectively.

Some standouts included the Cheddar Cheese Bacon Beer Cupcake. I couldn’t see where the Cheese went, but the Salty Bacon was a great contrast to the sweet and moist cake And really… Beer. Of course. The Vanilla Lavender Cupcake made me wish to see that flavor more often—Lavender Donuts anyone?

More Cupcake Photos [The Great St. Pete Cupcake Contest |]
[Left] Cheddar Cheese, Bacon, Beer Cupcakes [Center] Vanilla Lavender Cupcakes [Right] Honey with Strawberry and Earl Grey Cupcakes
There was the ambitious Cupcake of Honey with Strawberry and Earl Gray- decent flavor but the frosting was sliding off the Cake. A Fireball Cupcake included Fireball Whiskey (duh- or were you expecting flames?) which gave a strong aftertaste that didn’t quite mesh with the sweet Cake and Icing.

I found myself quickly becoming full. How could so many mini Cupcakes do so much damage? So… many… mini… Cupcakes! At every turn there was another one begging me to try it.

Cotton Candy Cupcakes [The Great St. Pete Cupcake Contest |]
Cotton Candy Cupcakes. Each had a dab of real Cotton Candy on top of the tooth pick
It was obvious who the seasoned visitors were. They arrived with plastic containers, wagons, and trays. They ate what they wanted then cast the rest in their to-go containers. It almost wasn’t fair as we held our dinky, paper plates.

As our stomachs happily digested the sweet treasures, we explored the art all over the Morean Center for Clay. Pottery and figures were displayed in all stages of its creation. All of our senses were entertained.

It’s cliché to say but in this Cupcake Competition, we were the real winners.

But next year I’ll bring an ice chest with me.

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