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The Convivial Table gets down and dirty

The Challenge:
Hudson Valley Cayuga White 1. Create a cupcake using any Hudson Valley wine in the recipe;
2. Decorate it to fit the theme of Hudson Valley Wine Magazine’s Art & Wine Grand Celebration event; and
3. Prepare 300 miniature cupcakes for the competition.

The Challengers:
Six creative competitors were selected from among the best Hudson Valley bakers and pastry chefs. Each entrant who answered the “call” (for an all-out “cupcake war” in the Hudson Valley) submitted a description of their proposed cupcake and a photo of the prototype.

The Event:
On Saturday May 21, 2011, the competitors arrived at the venue, the tented “Wine Pavilion” at the Lyndhurst estate in Tarrytown, NY. Each competitor arrived with a flurry of activity as trays of cupcakes were carted in and displays were set up to feast the eyes – with fanciful cloths, tiered racks, colored plates, flowers and fruit. Attendees of the event were asked to sample each cupcake and cast a vote for their favorite. The “Cupcake King” himself, NY Times bestselling author Alan Richardson, was on hand to judge the competition and offer demonstrations.

Hudson Valley Cayuga White The entries were astounding, and the creativity, amazing. Hundreds of votes were cast, and at the end of the day, the First Prize winner was a surprisingly gluten-free treat with minimalist decoration, created by Suzanne Whitney of Little Croc Bakehouse of Dobbs Ferry, NY. Using a balanced blend of healthy ingredients and sophisticated flair, and incorporating Stoutridge Vineyard’s Quimby’s Rosé into the frosting, Suzanne’s cupcake was the thumbs-up people’s choice favorite (see recipe).

Moxie Cupcakes’ “Blank Canvas” as Best in Show Honorary judge Alan Richardson selected Moxie Cupcakes’ “Blank Canvas” as Best in Show. Their organic chocolate red wine cupcake had a blackberry red wine glaze made with Brotherhood Winery’s Mariage, and was topped with the tiniest chocolate easel and edible blank canvas.

Other cupcake competitors included:

Cupcakz Unlimited Three Dogs Gluten-Free Bakery
Cupcakz Unlimited from Saratoga Springs, who presented “All Things Hudson Valley” incorporating Millbrook Vineyard’s Cabernet Franc. Three Dogs Gluten-Free Bakery from Briarcliff Manor, who brought an enticing mango cupcake with white chocolate and white wine ganache made with Millbrook Vineyard’s Tocai Fruilano.
Cupcake Kitchen Cupcake Confessions
The Cupcake Kitchen of Irvington prepared a beautiful Riesling white cake cupcake with lavender cream filling and Riesling citrus cream cheese icing using Benmarl Winery’s Riesling. Cupcake Confessions by Miss V. of Poughkeepsie whose delightful grapefruit, lime and white wine cupcake with grapefruit butter- cream frosting incorporated Millbrook Vineyard’s Hunt Country White in their recipe.

Thanks to all the participants of the competition for their hard work, enthusiasm and scrumptious entries. And a special thanks to Suzanne Whitney for sharing her delicious winning recipe!

*Recipe courtesy of Suzanne Whitney, first prize winner of the Hudson Valley Art & Wine Cupcake Challenge. Suzanne can usually be found at local farm markets with her delicious traditional, vegan and gluten-free healthy treats. For more information about Suzanne and Little Croc Bakehouse, Inc., visit PHOTOS: Frank Farina /

Hudson Valley Wine magazine Summer 2014 issue

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