Thursday, November 4, 2010

Johnny Cupcakes lecture in Denver- with cupcakes!

Last nite I went to a lecture at the Denver Art Museum held by Johnny Cupcakes, the T-shirt entrepreneur. It was very informative and really pumped me up to listen to him talk about how he started his business with no start up loans or investors. I left all fired up and jazzed to get started developing my own business.

Before the lecture, 6 local cupcake shops had samples for everyone and there was a contest to vote who was the best. The bakeries were:
Mermaids Bakery, Lovely Confections, Living the Sweet Life, The Shoppe, Cake Crumbs/the Denver Cupcake Truck, and Happy Cakes. I've tried a few before, so I was interested to see how the rest were. Everyone chose 1 mini cupcake from each place, and then we all voted.

From Mermaids Bakery, I chose the mexican chocolate cupcake. They also offered a vanilla-strawberry cupcake. The chocolate cupcake was great, but the frosting was best- chocolate cinnamon! It was a light chocolate, and was super fluffy and airy, but still with a lot of flavor. I could have eaten just the frosting!

From Lovely Confections, they only had sugar cookies with frosting. It was ok, nothing special. Kind of disappointed they didn't have cupcakes!

From Living the Sweet Life, they offered red velvet, chocolate, and carrot cake. I chose the red velvet. It was very red, the cake wasn't flavorful, and the cream cheese frosting was super tangy.

From The Shoppe, which I've tasted before, they had the biggest selection. Cookies n cream, banana caramel, pumpkin spice, strawberry, and chocolate salted caramel, which I chose.

Presentation was great. The chocolate cake was not flavorful and a little dry, plus there wasn't enough of it. I know these are minis, but there was 3 times the amount of frosting as there was cake. Speaking of the frosting, it was amazing! Super rich dark chocolate sprinkled with fleur de sel, piped over a caramel. Yum!

Cake Crumbs is the retail storefront of the Denver Cupcake Truck. They only offered one flavor, pistachio. I almost passed it up, but decided to try it to be fair. The cake was good, I liked the pistachio flavor, and there were bits of nut chopped up inside. The frosting was too sweet, I could barely tolerate one tiny bite.

Happy Cakes also had a good selection. They had a sweet potato cupcake topped with a mini marshmallow, a pumpkin one I think, and a chocolate peanut butter, which I chose. The cake was great, the peanut butter frosting was crazy rich, super thick. I like that it was topped with a chocolate covered peanut.

After much deliberation, I chose Mermaids Bakery as my favorite, although Happy Cakes came in a close second. Unfortunately, not everyone else agreed with me. The people's choice was The Shoppe. I'm just not impressed with their cake, although the frosting is very good.

After the cupcakes and the lecture, there was an after party outside where people could meet Johnny and ask questions. Before he came out, there were a few food trucks parked outside. One was a pizza truck (sorry I didn't get the name), and one was the The Biscuit Bus, operated by the Denver Biscuit Company. They served sandwiches on buttermilk biscuits. Yum! I had a fried chicken biscuit with a side of sweet potato fries. It was super yummy, although the chicken wasn't very flavorful, needs more seasoning.

Then I got the chance to talk to Johnny, and he posed for a picture too. It's a terrible quality picture, but I'm glad I got the chance to ask him a few questions, and he gave me some good advice.
All in all, it was a great night, learned a lot, stuffed my face, and now I'm ready to get going!

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