Your chops sink into the rich, sweet fluff and your lips are left with a coat of luscious frosting; cupcakes are the things dreams are made of and especially the dozens that will be up for tasting this weekend at the Rock Paper Scissors Collective's 2nd Annual Vegan Cupcake Bake-off. No butter, no eggs people-- all that delicious and they're animal friendly...pretty sure that will be my excuse for chomping well over five cups.
This bake-off isn't meant for observation-- four bucks gets you a napkin, fork, plate, and a chance to nimble and snack on a the tantalizing entries of frosted vegan treats. Try them all and then vote for your poison. Will it be chocolate drizzle or peachy keen? Oh, the choices we must make.
Last year's winner, Laurie Ellen, dazzled taste buds with her vegan strawberry-lemonade cupcakes and earned not the typical loads of ridiculous fame and fortune, but a sweet sense of local pride and a good, sugary feeling on her insides. Yum! The taste testing, the baking and more taste testing-- I'm guessing the labor of a baker is quite hard to bear and if only I were best friends with one of these candied cooks, I could surely help out.
This baker's triumph needed to be further explained and luckily Ellen was up for hinting at a couple of her yummy secrets.
SFBG: Tell me about the crafting of your Strawberry-Lemonade recipe?
Laurie: The recipe last year came out of a last minute dinner at a friends house. I decided to make some cupcakes using lemons from the meyer lemon tree in my backyard that had been fruiting gloriously and some strawberries a coworker brought into work which I had recently made into preserves. It was a union between making something seasonally relevant and making something with items in my pantry.
SFBG: How many cupcakes did you eat in preparation?
Laurie: Well, I usually eat one from every batch and I made about 6 batches leading up to and including the competition, so 6, at least.
SFBG: Who else ate them?
Laurie: Friends, coworkers, strangers, anyone who wanted one, I was itching for feedback.
SFBG: What was the best part about your winning cupcake last year?
Laurie: The people that came up to me after the competition telling me it was the first vegan baked good they had eaten and that it really surprised and challenged the notion of what they thought a cupcake was or could be.
SFBG: What drink would pair best with the strawberry lemonade cakes? Vodka? Milk?
Laurie: An icy cold Arnold Palmer.
SFBG: Do you always bake vegan?
Laurie: About half the time. Although I am not vegan I have friends and family in my life who have a variety of dietary differences and if I am making something, especially dessert, I want everyone to be able to enjoy it. I think it has come in pretty handy and people are surprised and excited when they realize that they can enjoy dessert too.
SFBG: Any hints as to what you've whipped up for this year's contest?
Laurie: You'll have to come out to RPSC to check it out, it is a refreshing summer cupcake, I hope people will enjoy it.
Besides the bake-sale itself, Paper Rock Scissors will have a bunch of crazy-cupcaked themed events, good for distracting sugar teeth from the pans of goodies. A cookbook of all the vegan treat recipes will be for sale, meaning you can attempt to replicate your favorites. Bring-Your-Own-Tee shirt/totebag or whatever and get it branded with a lovely screen printed cupcake or grin with your mouth full in the cupcake photo-booth.
2nd Annual Vegan Cupcake Bake-off!
Sat/22, 2-5pm, $4
Rock Paper Scissors Collective
2278 Telegraph, Oakland