Music Feature

Smashing Hunger with Philabundance at PYT

by Libby Peck
This cupcake competition isn't as simple as chocolate and vanilla, and isn't for the faint of stomach. Photos by Kim-Thao Nguyen
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I think I may still be in sugar shock from Saturday—that or genuine shock that I find myself craving goat cheese frosting. The second annual Cupcake Smash, brought to the Piazza in Northern Liberties by PYT and Philabundance, is a battle of bakers to determine the best-tasting cake. The catch? All entries were inspired by an item on PYT’s mostly savory menu. The cakes were then tasted by the crowd as well as celebrity judges Tony Luke Jr., Drew Lazor of City Paper, Wendy Rollins of Radio 104.5, Leah Kauffman of Philly.com, and PYT’s own mastermind Tommy Up to determine the tastiest treat.

DJ Jay Yo provided the tunes and Root 222 Crew painted an insane Benjamin Franklin piece as the crowd made their way through thirty tables, fifteen professional and fifteen amateur, armed with a sturdy plastic plate (party favor!) and drinks provided by Bare Foot Wine and Bubbly, St-Germain Liqueur, Pabst Blue Ribbon, and Fuze. With my liquid courage, I tried steering clear of more traditional flavors to embrace the savory flavors the bakers were inspired by. 

Cupcake Friday Project’s Billy the Kid was a smoked vanilla scotch whiskey cake filled with a goat cheese mixture, frosted with caramelized onion buttercream, and drizzled with a balsamic vinegar reduction—definitely not your run-of-the-mill red velvet! CupsALot & Co also had a boozy cake—this was whiskey, filled with salted caramel—but paid homage to the pickle with dill cream cheese frosting, a bread and butter pickle, sweet pickle chip, and spiced sweet onion pickle on top. Don’t forget the bacon toffee on that, either.

While I tip my hat to the pure creativity of these flavors—and admit that goat cheese in baked goods is something I definitely want to see more of—I prefer my pickles fried and not candied! My favorite flavor of the day wound up being the King from the Muffin Tops. Carmelized banana cake, peanut butter frosting, and bacon on top left me wanting to leave with a half dozen instead of just a bite. Thankfully, they didn’t have any for sale for me to add to my personal muffin top.

Philabundance sought to provide 10,000 meals to hungry families in the Delaware Valley with this competition, and by raising $7,627 through entry fee and donations for entry at the Smash they far exceeded their goal and look forward to feeding even more people next year. Can’t wait until then for the fun? The winning recipes are on PYT’s menu through the end of May. I definitely suggest the Fruit Loopy cupcake from That’s Forking Good—fruit loop flavored cake with “Loopy” vodka. Definitely my favorite variation of cereal to date!

To follow what I'm eating and drinking in the city in real time, follow me on Twitter @libpeck.

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