1000 Vegan Cupcakes Challenge Re-Cap

Hope you all had a wonderful Earth Day and weekend! So much has been going on in my life lately, especially when it comes to Pilates! I am halfway done with all my Pilates training courses and can’t wait to tell you more about them.

I was happy to take the weekend off and enjoy the annual UC Davis Picnic Day and the 1000 Vegan Cupcake Challenge. Couldn’t ask for better weather for some fun in the sun; walked around the busy streets of Davis, caught a glimpse of the parade, and took part in the usual picnic day festivities.  Of course no Davis celebration would be complete without a unique bike showing.

Such a good time! Great to be back at Davis.

Following the picnic day fun, Eric and I were asked to be guest judges at the Vegan Challenge event, which involved 1000 cupcakes. No, we didn’t actually have to eat 1000 of them, but we still ate way too many (even though they were delicious). I had the chance to meet and chat with another guest judge, Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, the author of The Joy of Vegan Baking, such a friendly and talented person. The money raised benefited three great charities – The Sacramento Tree Foundation, The Humane Society of United States, and the Center for Land-Based Learning.

An Earth Day/Veg Week/Cupcake display greeted us through the door.

Being a fan of anything chocolate, these caught my eye right away.

The cool display in honor of Earth Day and Veg Week also included ideas for sustainable living and a somewhat surprising list of vegan celebrities. Ozzy Osbourne? Mike Tyson? Where have I been?  

And then we were called to get a serious job done – taste and judge the cupcakes. The 10 judges were split into cupcake categories. The categories were creative:  Endangered Species, Save the Rainforest, Eat Your Veggies, Fresh & Local, Around the World, No Refined Sugar, and Gluten Free. Eric and I volunteered for the Gluten Free category. Since Eric’s parents are gluten free, I thought it would be interesting to combine the best of both worlds.

Let’s be clear, although I love to bake, I’m not a cake or cupcake baker (yet). I can spend hours perfecting a pie crust, baking scones and muffins, but when it comes to cupcakes, I’m at a loss. Needless to say, I was blown away by how delicious and creative these vegan gluten free bakers got with their recipes! Our tasting plate included Mango Coconut Bliss, Guiltless S’more, Pineapple Walnut Carrot Cake, and so much more. My personal favorite was the Indian Masala Cupcake, a perfect blend of chocolate with masala spices and pistachio crumbles.

Happy and hungry judges; before we ate and ate and ate for what seemed like hours.

Sangria flavor!

This was a special celebrity themed treat – James Cromwell’s BABE cupcake prepared by Vanilla Bean Bakery. I loved this one!  The sugar hit me hard and fast, so by the time we got to the BABE cupcake, the salty “bacon” was a bit of heaven. It balanced out the sweetness nicely, and was a great way to end my cupcake judging night.

I’m telling you, judging cupcakes is no easy feat. I admire Padma Lakshmi and Tom Colicchio from Top Chef for all the “hard” work that they do.  And by the way, I think they should  consider taking on a Vegan Top Chef series or even just a challenge. Thank you for the wonderful event, Sacramento Vegan Challenge!


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    My name is Maria and I live in California. I love teaching high-energy Pilates classes, going on long runs, and making connections with all of you! Hope you find a few useful articles, fitness tips, and recipes while you're here.

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