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Cupcake Wars

On Saturday, I took part in Cupcake Wars!  Well… not THE Cupcake Wars, but a fundraiser in my community for the Cougar Foundation, a non-profit organization that supports the Army unit my husband is in.

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Cupcake Wars in Vilseck, Germany |

This fundraiser was a friendly competition where five local bakers set out to bake 5 dozen mini cupcakes, create a display and let the community decide who was best.  There were three prizes available, Best Overall, Most Delicious and Best Presentation.   About 100 people attended the two hour event where they bought tickets to taste the cupcakes and vote for their favorites in each category.  All proceeds from the event go into future Cougar Foundation events which directly benefit the soldiers and families of 2nd Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment in Vilseck, Germany.

Cupcake Wars in Vilseck, Germany |

Of course, I don’t know how to do anything mini, so I knew my presentation and cupcakes were going to be GRAND!  With about a month before the event, I began planning my tablescape.  I knew I needed something to display my cupcakes on, so my husband helped me to build a giant cupcake tower!  I’ll have a full DIY instructional post on that project later this week!

Oreo Cupcakes with Oreo Balloon Pops | #CupcakeWars

So with the cupcake tower taken care of, I needed to decide on more of the details of the tablescape.  Since the colors of 2/2 CR guideon (flag) are red and white and that’s who this fundraiser was for, I thought those would be the perfect colors to work with!  I contacted my friend Shannon at Sweets & Treats Boutique and she was immediately on board with sponsoring my table by providing all the paper products for my table by providing me with the red and white chevron liners and coordinating straws.

Cupcake Wars in Vilseck, Germany |

The theme of my table was “Milk & Cookies” so each person I served received a cupcake in a chevron liner along with a cup of milk served with a chevron straw! Aren’t these straws and liners the BEST?

Make sure to visit Sweets & Treats Boutique to get your straws, liners and party supplies for your next event!

Oreo Cupcakes with Oreo Balloon Pops & Milk | #CupcakeWars

If you’re wondering what that cuteness on top of the cupcake is, I have to be honest and say I can’t take credit for their genius.  I was inspired by other friend (I have so many talented friends, don’t I?) Christi of the baking blog, Love From the Oven and her new book Smart Cookie!  She features a rainbow bouquet of these pops in her book and I thought the red ones would be PERFECT to top my cupcakes! Balloons topping the cupcakes and balloons floating behind my cupcake tower tied the entire table together!

Oreo Cupcakes with Oreo Balloon Pops | #CupcakeWars

Let’s talk cupcakes for a second.  You may be noticing a theme here… Oreos.  I love these cookies, I mean really, who doesn’t?  Every time I make these cupcakes they are always a crowd pleaser and I knew they’d be a hit with all the kids who came to the fundraiser!

I started with my favorite chocolate cupcake, baked an Oreo in the bottom of the liner then topped it with a whipped Oreo buttercream!  Perfectly moist, not too sweet and so creamy.  It’s the perfect cupcake for an Oreo lover!

Cupcake Wars in Vilseck, Germany |

The other bakers competing at Cupcake Wars created some super delicious cupcakes… one of which you might even recognize!

Starting at the top of the above photo we’ve got Tia and her spiced cupcakes with orange buttercream.  You can see she went above and beyond with her Fall themed display!  So cute and her cupcakes were a perfect bite of Fall!  Loved the orange frosting on these cupcakes!

Next is Stacy who made Cherry Limeade Cupcakes.  Her little cuties are perfect versions of a full size cupcake!  I loved how high her frosting swirled.  Now, you may be thinking these look familiar…. well, it’s because I made these same cupcakes back in 2011!  Crazy huh?  :)  I think Stacy did a great job with her version!

Iris brought a Hawaiian treat with coconut macadamia nut cupcakes.  She dressed up her table in a Hawaiian theme.  I wasn’t able to try hers because I’m allergic to nuts, but I heard they were pretty delish!

Finally, Natasha from Frosted Fantasies (she opted not to have her photo taken) made an apple cupcake with a soft, smooth frosting.  A tiny bite of deliciousness perfectly decorated with golden sugar pearls! 

Cupcake Wars in Vilseck, Germany |

Now, this event wasn’t just a fundraiser… it was WAR!  Cupcake WAR!  And there were prizes to be won!  Best Presentation & Most Delicious were awarded gift baskets full of fun baking items such as aprons, cookbooks, cupcake liners and other supplies.  The Best Overall winner was given a brand new KitchenAid stand mixer!

Cupcake Wars in Vilseck, Germany |

Since there was not a panel of judges for the competition, the winners were to be chosen by those who attended and purchased tickets to Cupcake Wars.   Votes had two options for tickets, buy a $10 tasting ticket which included 1 cupcake from all 5 bakers and 3 votes, 1 for each category or buy a $2 individual ticket for 1 cupcake and 1 vote for any category.  Whoever had the most votes in each category, would win!

This next part, I’ve been grappling with whether or not I should talk about.  I’m not typically one for drama and negativity, but I feel as though something needs to be said about the process in which the winners of this Cupcake Wars was chosen.  How things played out was unfair to all those who participated and to those who cast votes.

When at least a dozen people come up to you after the event and ask… “What just happened?”  I started to really question and think about everything and decided I really wanted to say something about it.

Cupcake Wars in Vilseck, Germany |

Half way though the event, I was approached by the President and a Board Member (above) of the Cougar Foundation.  They informed me that they had decided they had decided that they no longer wanted one person to win every category but that they wanted three different winners.  Granted, this wasn’t my event to organize and they can do what they wanted, but I immediately thought that changing the rules half way though the event was quite strange and really unfair.

Both the bakers and the voters were given the set of rules and guidelines on how voting was to happen and how a winner would be chosen… all of that was now thrown out the window.

How exactly would they be choosing who would win what category if one person won all three categories?  How was this new process of choosing a winner fair?  This new way of choosing a winner also opened up the voting to be tampered with and the ballot boxes (or bowls in this case) to be stuffed.  I overheard several people talking about buying extra tickets just to make this happen. The entire process wasn’t fair and the winners of this contest reflected that.

I’m not saying that the winners didn’t deserve to win… I’m simply pointing out how unethical the entire thing turned out to be and how the results probably would have been a lot different if the Cougar Foundation would have stuck to their original plan.

Cupcake Wars in Vilseck, Germany |

In the end, here’s who won…

Best Overall: Iris with the coconut macadamia nut cupcakes & and the Hawaiian display

Most Delicious: Shannon with the Cherry Limeade Cupcakes

Best Presentation:  Betsy (ME!) with the Milk & Cookies Oreo Cupcakes

On the Cougar Foundations Facebook page, they listed the runners up for every category… and I was it.  *sigh*

Cupcake Wars in Vilseck, Germany |

I am very thankful for being recognized for all the hard work I put into my display and presentation.  THANK YOU to everyone who came out to support me and vote for me. I am so incredibly proud of all the hard work that myself, my husband and my kids put into making it all happen.  I could not have done it without them!

I wish I had time to take a picture with everyone who came out to support me… so let this picture of me and Rachel of the Glitter & Bow blog serve as a symbol for my love and gracious thanks to all of you!! xoxoxoxo MUAH!

Cupcake Wars in Vilseck, Germany |

A HUGE THANK YOU to Jacob of Spork Photos and his wife Chrissy of Chrissy.Photography for being my personal paparazzi team at Cupcake Wars!  Your pictures are amazing… THANK YOU!

And how cute are these kids enjoying my cupcakes during Cupcake Wars?! SO ADORBS!

Cupcake Wars in Vilseck, Germany |

I had an incredible time planning to participate in Cupcake Wars… it was definitely a first for me!  I have never put together something so elaborate from start to finish.  I really truly am proud of it all.  From the cupcakes to the DIY tower to the colors I planned my family to wear, I had every detail planned and I had so much fun doing it!

So much fun… I’m actually considering hosting a Cupcake Wars myself before I leave Germany!  This time, I’ll have a panel of judges, hopefully to include a few owners of cupcake stores from Frankfurt, Munich and Berlin.  How fun would that be?

Again… thanks to Shannon at Sweets & Treats Boutique, Christi at Love From the Oven, Jacob & Chrissy from Spork Photos and finally… my family.  I couldn’t have done any of this without all of you!! xoxoxo

And because this post wasn’t packed full enough of awesome pictures… here are a few more of my favorites!

Cupcake Wars in Vilseck, Germany |

Susan Merritt

Monday 29th of September 2014

Because the tone of the comments have turned into name calling I can no longer sit idle.

I hope to put an end to the negativity and return the focus back onto those who participated in Cupcake Wars and the event as the Blog was intended.

I have worked with Java Cupcakes by Betsy on a professional level for a few years now. I am the former president of said Foundation and I am a life time member. I also attended and participated in the taste testing votes at Cup Cake Wars. I hope to break down for everyone a Fair outlook from all angles and squash the name calling!

JAVA CUPCAKES By Betsy: Betsy is an extreme perfectionist and with her it is always go big or go home. She is extremely confident and her reputation does proceed her because of this fact. She is a professional chef and food blogger! She has had a recipe published by a name brand and her resume is extensive. Java Cupcake was the very first contestant who submitted her application, therefore she has been through the majority of the process and the changes that had been made leading up to the event. Also leading up to the event Betsy continually promoted the Foundation and the event. She also on many occasions promoted other contestants in a healthy competition. Betsy is a Professional Food Blogger with a large world wide following. Because of the fact she continuously blogged about the event leading up to Cupcake wars she is fully obligated to her followers to explain what happened and why she felt she needed to do so. If you re read the section "I’ve been grappling with whether or not I should talk about." When you are a professional your reputation is always on the line. She was justified in doing so and in the circumstance I would have done the same thing. Betsy has been very gracious and has included the hard work of all the contestants on this blog that wanted to be included.

Contestants: I do not know what the entry ended up being but I know many things had been adjusted through the duration. As a contestant an entry fee of some sort was made and then each of you were to collect your own supplies. Shipping costs, Supplies and Decorations add up when expecting to serve 100+ people. The Foundation was able to come up with more of an incentive by acquiring more choice prizes. The Main understanding is that the contest be fair.

Paying voting patron: Each person who wanted to Taste & Vote had to pay a $10 entry fee (or less depending on what choice of voting method you took.) The categories we were to vote on at the event where different as to what was advertised on AFN. I personally took my votes seriously and made sure to be fair in my decision making. I knew more than one person who competed and I told all of them that I was voting for the ones I personally liked best. I did vote for Betsy in many of the categories but in honesty my favorite cupcake of the contest was the macadamia & coconut. It had all the qualities I was looking for that day. It was moist, unique and flavorful even being in a tiny muffin size it was worthy of being one of the top. Many people I sat with preferred the Java Cupcake. I don't know about you but $10 is a lot of money in our house hold for 5 cupcakes( Of different sizes). I was given the impression that my vote would count. It also was possible to load the ballot box per say if you wanted to pay for more voting cards. Ultimately this event was a fundraiser. Knowing this even if the box was loaded I would have been fine with the outcome as long as the votes cast by those who PAID to vote were counted. At this point no one is to be sure as how many votes were cast for each person than those counting the votes. That is unfair to those who put money down to vote.

As from the stand point of the former President and Long time member of said Foundation:. I completely understand how difficult it is to plan an event like this. (ALL OF IT!) I do know that many things will shift to accommodate the need of those running the event, those competing and those attending. The one thing that must always be a constant is integrity of being Right and JUST! A good reputation is easy to lose and hard to get back. As long as you are doing right by all those you are involving you will never falter. In this case I can say that a mistake was made on the part of the current leadership. In their defense they are brand new and this was the very first event they hosted since taking over. I do not believe they thought through all the outcomes that could have been. Had I been consulted I would have pointed out the need of Judges to counter balance the possibility of people paying for extra tickets to sway the votes or even one person winning more than one category. For example we had a event similar last year called Project Funway. The Public had the option to vote as many times for the outfit or outfits they liked the best. Each of those points counted as one vote. In addition we had a judges panel that had to take into account things like how well did they follow the current rules, Presentation, and craftsmanship. The judges votes counted for 10 points. It made it much more fair and every vote was counted.

The leadership ultimately had the porogative to handle all the situational concerned. If they wished to disqualify anyone for any reason. It is also important to admit when you make a mistake. It is unfortunate and surely with this first event over with they can learn from it!

The main goal of the event was to raise funds and that was accomplished. Betsy has maintained that the Cougar Foundation is a beneficial organization and despite the way this event was handled she still informed everyone of the what the foundation is about and included a link to promote it. She included everyone who participated in a positive light including photos of the winners & what they made.

It is important for every Business and Nonprofit organization to learn from this the importance of Integrity and holding to your word .

Partnerships and Trust with Non profits/HBB & the community is a necessity. It is valuable to treat others reputations as highly as you hold your own.

Hopefully all vantage points have been represented and the name calling will stop. It really is unnecessary and if you truly read the article it is handled in a very professional manner. Let's keep it Classy Ladies!

Betsy Eves

Tuesday 30th of September 2014

Thanks for this, Suzen! :)


Sunday 28th of September 2014

ladies, Get over it, being insulting won't get you anywhere "cool" just "hot". An objective person has been posting facts and thoughts on the competition and self claimed pros bring her down with nonsense and insults. One thing I heard at the competition is Betsy's arrogant attitude arrived at the cupcake war before she did! It came from someone in the audience. I knew it was going to be a cut throat event. I am sorry for the amateurs that entered the was but relieved 2 of them won prizes. Enough everyone! Be kind and thankful it was a fun event to show off talent and creativity...that is why I went to the war.


Monday 29th of September 2014

The "objective" person posting supposed "facts" is being an antagonist, "Polly". You and any others who wish to be insulting need to learn the different between confidence and arrogance. "Arrogance" is often the label the intimidated give to confidence. Seems to fit here in this case.

Betsy Eves

Monday 29th of September 2014

Polly or Olivia - whoever you are (can't fool anyone when you use the same email address to leave a comment)... I don't know why you chose to be so hurtful and call me names, but I'd greatly appreciate it if you'd leave your negativity to yourself. Although your words have hurt me, they reflect more on you. Please, do not comment here anymore. Thank you.


Wednesday 17th of September 2014

Ladies and Betsy: no need to slam honest opinions from myself who participated in many food contests thru out the years. There were great efforts by all entrants with their hard work and creativeness. Some tried harder than others, true! But it was a contest for a good reason and cause! All winners should be happy and remember the event as a personal challenge reached! Betsy, your display was fantastic but wish all kids had gotten a balloon from you! Be Happy Winners!


Wednesday 17th of September 2014

Olivia, jabs such as "But wish all kids had gotten a balloon from you!" is a back handed compliment and a passive aggressive behavior. Practice what you preach and stop "slamming" Betsy and those that do not agree with your opinion.

Sue {munchkin munchies}

Tuesday 16th of September 2014

Betsy, I love everything about your cupcakes! They (and the whole display) look so cheerful and fun (I love Christi's book too)! They really stand out and sound so yummy! I completely agree with you regarding the rules. It's just wrong to change the rules in the middle of the event! Hopefully, next time it will be more organized. Along with baking fabulous looking cupcakes, congrats on handling the situation in such a gracious manner. :)

Not Just A Mommy

Tuesday 16th of September 2014

You are a winner in my eyes, bias here but I think yours were the clear winner. The balloon topper alone is winning :) At least all the extra tickets bought for bowl (hee!) stuffing meant more money for the cause. And you just answered the age old question...size does matter!!

Betsy Eves

Wednesday 17th of September 2014

Awwww Dawn! THANK YOU! xoxox