Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Fifth Annual St. Petersburg Cupcake Festival

This month I got to  visit and write about the Fifth Annual St. Petersburg Cupcake Festival for CakeSpy, one of the sweetest baking blogs on the internet!

Here's a taste of the post:

Morean Art Center Downtown St. Petersburg
Saturday August 16th, 12:00 – 3:00

After last year’s foray into the Ybor Saturday Market Cupcake Festival, I decided to check out the 2015 calendar of events in the Tampa Bay area to see if there were any other cupcake themed events going on. I was delighted to find a cupcake festival in St. Petersburg, apparently it was an annual one. I didn’t hear about it last year so I was interested and excited to attend this year.

The festival itself is a fund raiser for the Morean Art Center in downtown St. Petersburg (more info here, Morean Arts Center). Patrons of the festival could purchase tickets which were used to vote for the People’s Choice for the best cupcake. There were also designated judges who voted for the best cupcake between novice and professional bakers. Over all, there were awards for first, second, and third place from the People’s Choice as well as the judges. All the money raised went directly back to the art center.

I didn’t realize how popular this cupcake festival was when I first read about it. A few friends and I decided to head over around 12:30, thinking we’d beat the bulk of the crowd. Apparently the entire Bay Area thought to go to this event because the entrance line was out the door. While this sounds delightful, and it’s great for the art center, the space was very limited. When we finally got into the art center, it felt like a herd of cattle being ushered through the space going from table to table and grabbing what we could. Some tables had already run out of cupcakes before 1:30! 

To see how the rest of the event went, as well as who won the People's Choice and judges' pick, check out the Roundup of the St. Petersburg Cupcake Festival, Florida!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Cake Affection - Madeira Beach, Florida

On our beach adventure a few weeks ago, my friend and I happened to find another cupcake bakery, Cake Affection. It is located about a mile from Madeira Beach here in Florida.

Cake Affection display (from website)
"Cake Affection is passionate about cake! Ivy is a mother of 4 and wife of 1. As a busy mom, she knows the value of good food. Cake Affection has been honored to ba a part of special celebrations for over 15 years. We bring this experience with us when we work on your event. We aren't afraid to try new things and love a challenge. Our secret is in the daily baking of fresh cupcakes using only the industries finest gourmet ingredients like Madagascar vanilla, Black Onyx cocoa powder and chocolate imported from Switzerland and Belgium. Our retail storefront is a long standing dream realized. Every one of our custom cake creations would get feedback on how they were the "world's best cake". After years of hearing this, we worked really hard until we were able to open our first location in St. Pete/Seminole. Our shop is small and offers a modern twist on some pretty incredible edibles. Our creative cupcake menu changes daily and we have plenty to offer our walk in customers (although we recommend coming early for the best selection!) We also offer other fun handmade treats (always made in small batches) and unique gifts to make your day sweet. And yes we still offer our fabulous cakes for special events and weddings, along with dessert buffets and cupcake towers- but we book up fast. We are located off of Bay Pines Blvd, across from the Texas Roadhouse. Stop by and say hi (or give us a call so we can put a box of yummies aside for you) we promise you will taste the difference!"

Red Velvet Cupcake in a Jar on the beach

Red velvet catching some sun
 I have to say that the cupcake in a jar idea is genius. Not only is it early to travel with, but it also prevents people (like myself) from scarfing down a calorie packed treat in one sitting. This jar allows me to take a few bites, enjoy myself, and remove the onset of guilt later on!

Sometimes the simplest decorations are best
I started with the cream cheese decoration. I thought the packaging and the inner decoration was perfect! The butter cream was cream cheese and it tasted perfect. At first I didn't realize it was cream cheese butter cream, but I realized I'm so used to overly sweet cream cheese frostings I didn't realize when I had the real deal! The texture of the frosting was perfect, it was smooth and creamy. The cake also, was perfection. It was dark, making my mouth water for the cocoa flavor I was sure to find. Let me tell you, it did not disappoint! The cake was moist and delicious. It was a bit dense for my taste, but it was great otherwise.

The only issue I had was with the giant blob of chocolate right at the top. I wasn't expecting it so it threw me and my taste buds off bit.

I have to say though, the Tampa Bay area has a great deal of wonderful cupcakes to choose from. No matter what you're looking for, you will surely find it!

Price $3.25/cupcake; $7.50/cupcake in a jar
Cake: moist, dense, perfect chocolate flavor
Icing: smooth, creamy, cream cheese buttercream
Decorations: simple drop of butter cream with layers of buttercream in between cake layers
Overall Rating: 8/10
Website: Cake Affection

Monday, August 10, 2015

Sweet IRB - Indian Rocks Beach, Florida

The weather here in Tampa Bay has been pretty rough for the past few weeks. We finally got a break from the rain and had a couple sunny days, so a friend and I decided to hit up the beach!

We had gone to Indian Rocks Beach earlier in the summer and found a quaint little cupcake shop right on the beach, so I thought we would hit it again on our way.

Last time we visited the spot, they did not have red velvet cupcakes in stock. I initially planned to call ahead to make sure they had my beloved cupcakes in stock this time around, but alas I forgot. Lucky for me, we went early enough to find there were still some available for us.

Sweet IRB Cupcake Display
 "Sweet IRB is a southern bakery, coffee shop and cafe’ located in the middle of the Gulf Blvd Beach Communities.  Sweet IRB services includes retail/walk-in, catering (weddings, corporate events, special occasions, etc) and wholesale (coffee shops, restaurants, etc.)."

Red Velvet on the Beach
We grabbed two red velvet cupcakes and headed over to the beach to enjoy our goodies. The first thing I tried was the frosting. It was deliciously smooth and creamy, just the right texture. I just wish there wasn't so much. It may have been because the frosting melted a bit, but I felt that the frosting overpowered the cake.

I tried the cake alone and found it to be nearly perfect! The level of cocoa flavor was a little less than I would've liked, but overall the cake was moist, light, airy. The texture was perfect and if there was just a little less frosting and a little more cocoa, I think this would be the reigning champion!

So close to perfect!
So if you're ever in the area of Indian Rocks Beach, check out Sweet IRB. You will not be disappointed!

Price $2.50/each
Cake: moist, airy, near-perfect chocolate flavor
Icing: smooth, creamy, cream cheese buttercream
Decorations: none
Overall Rating: 9/10
Website: Sweet IRB