Monday, November 29, 2010

The 2010 Movember Manly Cupcake Champion!

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Three cupcakes stand tall. They overthrew seven other treats to become this year's Manly Cupcake Challenge Finalists. On Saturday, they were baked up and presented to a panel of professional cupcake tasters. Their taste buds were highly focused on the goal - to find and elect this year's Manly Cupcake Champion. Let me tell you, this taste testing wasn't pretty. I'm ninety-three percent sure that at least one of our judges went home in a diabetic coma. I think you bakers did your job.

Now, let's review the scores and crown our champion!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Manly Cupcake Finalists

The votes are in, people. We finally have our three supreme cupcakes that will face off in the ultimate bake-off tomorrow. Without further ado:

The People's Choice
It looks like the Woodshed Prophets have a lot of fans out there! Or, at least, one hundred and fifteen fans! That's all they needed to take this one over the top. Congratulations to Alyssa and her super awesome musical men. I'm really excited to work with that flour-based frosting - I've never made such a thing before! I always need a new frosting to add to my repertoire.

The Baker's Choice
It was a super close race, I'll tell you what. In the end, the bakers picked these amazing cupcakes - and I'm so glad they did. They look complex, and I'm sure they'll take a lot of work to assemble, but I'm positive the end result will be worth it. I've already got the pretzels going as we speak!

C&C's Choice
This was a tough choice. There were a lot of cupcakes that we really wanted to sample. Put, if we picked them all, we would have been baking for days. The BBQ Football cupcake caught our eye from the beginning - come on, it's on fire! And the Matcha/Beer combo was too unique to pass up.

So, congrats again to everyone who took the time to enter this little contest! You all really have worked hard and put a lot of effort into Movember. Don't worry too much about not making it to the finals, you've done more than enough by raising awareness and money for men's health! Plus, we're already planning next year! And you should be too!

As for the finalists, we will be baking your cupcakes throughout this weekend. We're bringing in a team of professional cupcake-testers who will be judging each manly morsel by taste, uniqueness, manliness, and overall design. We'll only be recreating the taste - the pictures and blog post you've sent in will take care of everything else. Until then, Alyssa, Susan, and Ashley, please proudly display the following badge on your blog:

Now we're off to bake. A lot. Wish us luck!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Sun-Dried Tomato and Feta Muffins

Check out this year's Manly Cupcake Challenge Round-Up and Vote for your Favourite! You have until Saturday!

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I'm sitting here in my own cocoon made out of blankets, socks, and sweatshirts. Snow flakes have been pelting the windows since six this morning. It's been a constant -3°C for weeks. Vancouver is not a happy city right now. Yes, I know. We're Canadian, right? We should be living in igloos and driving snow-dogs to work.  Wrong. Vancouver is totally Canadian Winter Light. We usually get a couple gallons of freezing rain, maybe a couple days when the thermometer hits below zero. But not this much snow at once. The highway right next to my house have been squealing with panicked drivers for the past couple hours. As soon as they see a bit of white stuff, breaks start locking and vehicles start careening off the road. 

I'm totally over this winter stuff. I grew up in Ontario, where our seasons consisted of blizzards for six months, then a hellish heat for other six. I was used to waking up with snow completely covering my bedroom window. Even when my bedroom was on the second story. I thought I would be safe from it in Vancouver. But, by the looks of it, I was totally wrong. The fact that Toronto was 13°C yesterday really rubbed salt in my wounds. 

I have been looking for a recipe that will help me get out of this beginning of December funk. I'm already tired of looking at cookie and pie recipes (thanks mostly to all that American Thanksgiving crap that floods our Canadian airwaves). I needed something that reminded me of summer vacation. A warm summer vacation. In Europe. Accompanied by beautiful men. With beautiful Mos. 

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Movember Manly Cupcake Round-up

Welp, the time is finally nigh. We've been sent some real bodacious baked goods that any mo-wearing brother would really sink their teeth into. Now it's up to you, the cupcake-loving public, to vote for your favourite recipe. Remember, we're looking for something extra special. Something that's full of flavour, character, originality. Oh, and manliness.

A reminder to how the final voting works: You, the people, can vote for one cupcake each. The bakers will also vote by email, and will choose a cupcake recipe (that's not their own) to be the Baker's Choice. Finally, Mr. C and I will choose a third cupcake to battle in the final showdown, which will take place next weekend.

So, take some time. Read through the contenders. And get with the voting!

Chocolate Stout Sponge Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream, Crushed Pretzels, and a Chocolate Ganache Drizzle.

Rich moist chocolate cupcake infused with Guinness Beer and filled with a rich chocolate bacon filling. We topped it off with a chocolate butter cream frosting and a sprinkling of crisp bacon.

Pancake Cupcakes with a Maple Buttercream, topped with Crispy  Bacon.

by Ashley from Sugar Comma
In the cake and the custard filling, brown sugar and nutmeg enhance the flavor of a sweet, malty brown ale. The filled cupcake is topped with caramel buttercream and a homemade soft pretzel.Biting into one of these cupcakes is like tackling two decadent treats at once: a delicious soft pretzel with a caramel dip plus a custard-filled brown ale spice cake.

by Kristina of Eats n Drinks
Waterloo Dark chocolate cupcakes, with Waterloo Dark frosting, covered with black chocolate fondant, decorated with white royal icing to look like gear shift knobs. 

Violet and Ryan from Baking Under the Influence
Dry and Strong. Cigars and Scotch. Men and Humor. All these things go together and it is what was brought together to make "The Ron White". Comedian Ron White is hardly ever seen on stage without a cigar and a glass of scotch and we play off that image to create our Movember Manly Cupcake. Cigar City Beer's Humidor Series IPA is paired with a dark and dry chocolate to create a savory, yet slightly savory cupcake. To top it off, we created a caramel scotch frosting, that still retains it's familiar burn. This cupcake is all that is modern man.   

Vegan Peanut Butter Cupcakes with a Pretzel Crust, Chocolate Center, and Caramel Buttercream Frosting.

by Susan from Diamonds for Dessert
What's manlier than throwing around a football, grilling some meat, and chugging a beer? Put all of that in a cupcake and you've got beer spice cupcakes topped with matcha beer frosting, football cake bites, and cookie grills that really light on fire. 

by Alyssa from Artistic Eatables
A black and white themed cupcake, featuring a moist marble cake and light yet sweet frosting. Each is decorated with boots or facial hair in honor of the Woodshed Prophets, a alternative country rock band with a serious dedication to beards.

by Cat of SuperCat
Dark Chocolate Bacon Cupcakes with a Chocolate Icing and extra Bacon Crumble on top

A super big thank you to all our amazing contestants for taking the time to support the Movember Foundation and men's health! This really wouldn't have been successful without all of you! 

A reminder that the winner of this contest will be receiving some super sweet stuff. Check it out:
Are you excited? Because I'm pretty sure I just peed myself a little. 

Now Vote! You only have until the end of the 26th!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Southern Coconut Cake

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A lot of treats we've baked up this Movember are full of deep, dark flavours - like beer or chocolate. This was a problem. Yes, those flavours are tasty. And yes, they are quite manly. But what about (gasp) the men who aren't so attuned to those sort of baked goods? Mr. C is not a chocolate guy. Bizarre, I know. He'd rather eat a berry pie than a chocolate chip cookie. So, does that mean something light and fruity can be considered manly? All signs (and Mr. C's awesome mo) point to yes.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Manly Cupcake Challenge Update

Hey sports fans! I've got some bad news and some good news. The bad news is that, so far, we only have a handful of entries for the Manly Cupcake Challenge. Though that does bode well for those who have entered thus far (the odds are with you, my friends), it's not so good for our ultimate goal of spreading awareness of the Movember Foundation and Men's Health Month. This is why we've decided to push back your cupcake due date to the 21st at midnight. That's right. Now you have the whole weekend to get your little procrastinating butt in gear. Aren't you lucky? If you were one of my students, I'd just give you a zero and call home. But I'm feeling kind of nice this month.

One more thing to mention - I'm seeing a lot of lovely cupcakes. But not a lot of variety. So, please, go crazy. Think of some famous mos for inspiration. What sort of cupcake would Hulk Hogan eat? Charlie Chaplin? Freddie Mercury? All of them are manly in their own way, so please just don't think you're stuck in a "slightly chubby, hockey watching,  male next door" rut. Take this contest and run!

Have any questions? Plan on making cupcakes and need advice? Want the meaning to life? Email and we shall answer.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Manly Chocolate Chip Pretzel Cookies

Let's take another dip into the Movember pot with a mustache that is universally loved and revered. You've seen it everywhere - on your dad, on that Nascar guy, on those cops on that corner of Hastings. It's not a flashy mo, like the Dali or Walrus. Nor is it intimidating, like the Handlebar. It's just simply . . .

 The Chevron. 

In the mustache hierarchy, the chevron is a classic that is always a staple in a man's facial hair repertoire. Though it may look simple, this mo is more complex than it looks. Men must tease the hair over-top of their upper lip - anything shorter is considered a failure. Boy, the things a man does for mustache superiority -  could you image eating with that thing? Talk about your flavour-saver, dude. I bet Tom Selleck grew used to tasting breakfast while he was eating dinner. You could keep extra ice cream and cookie crumbs in there for weeks. 

Speaking of cookie crumbs, we've got a treat for you that really will get your Chevron bristling:

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Manly Stinky Cheese Cake

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Since it's Movember and all of you peppy people are baking some freakishly manly cupcakes for the Manly Cupcake Challenge, we thought we'd help you out by providing you with a bit of inspiration. So, all this month, we hope to share some wonderfully butch recipes that really represents a classic Mo. This weekend, we want to pay tribute to the Canadian Grandfather of all Mos:

The Voyageur

In case you're a little rusty on your Canadian history (I'm looking straight at you, America), voyageurs were real rough-and-tumble manly men who made lumberjacks look like girl scouts. These French Canadians traveled thousands and thousands of miles throughout the provinces and were expected to work at least 14 hours a day, paddle 55 strokes per minute, and carry at least 180 pounds of pelts and goods across rugged terrain. If Jean-Claude Van Damme and Bear Grylls had a child, it may just be awesome enough to become a voyageur.

So what cake could be manly enough to satisfy the intense appetite of a voyageur? It had to have that same spirit which can only be found within Quebecois cuisine. When I think of Quebecois cuisine, I think of two things:

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Movember Charity Update

Good news, my peeps! The Movember Manly Cupcake Challenge now has an official Movember Charity Page. That means you can donate your sweet sweet cash straight to the Movember Foundation as easy as pie. Mustache pie.  

I'm also going to encourage every baker who enters the Challenge, as well as any other baker who wants to go out and raise funds, to join our team (you can do so here). So, in-between your butch cupcaking, go out and raise (or donate) some funds! 

Remember, though it's all fun and games to grow mos and bake cupcakes, this month is really about raising money for men's health charities. Donate what you can - even one dollar helps! Let's get crackalacking! 
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