The battle to avoid an onslaught of calories was lost Wednesday night when sweet-toothed residents indulged in tasty and creative desserts at the biannual Cupcake War for the Arts. The event was hosted by the Hinesville Area Arts Council at the National Guard Armory on Highway 84.
Attendees of all ages sampled miniature “Christmas morning breakfast” cupcake topped with candied bacon and elf-sized cinnamon rolls from the second-place and people’s choice award winning team of Sara Burkeen and Rachel Heath, both Britton Elementary School first-grade teachers. Heath said her husband loves the bacon-topped cupcakes and predicted they would be most popular with men.
There were other interesting concoctions including peanut-butter-flavored cupcakes topped with homemade peanut brittle from the Candy Land-themed table created by the team of Juli Robb and Kari Scully. This year’s Cupcake War was Scully’s first and Robb’s third. Robb is a prolific baker, and Scully crafted their team’s display with recyclable items and brightly colored paper mâché.
Budding pastry chef Sarah Whited adorned her cupcakes with white chocolate snowman candies and tiny gingerbread men. Whited is a Bradwell Institute senior with plans to attend Johnson & Wales or Le Cordon Bleu College when she graduates from high school.
The Liberty County Chamber of Commerce and Convention and Visitors Bureau team took first place with cupcakes flavored with Bailey’s Irish Cream and Jack Daniels. Their table was adorned with mountain landscape paintings, cigar boxes and antique-style oil lamps.
“We are very happy to be able to host this biannual event once again,” HAAC Chairwoman Leah Poole said. “We do one in the spring and one in the fall, and both are always very well attended.”
Unfortunately, only four of the six teams that entered the competition showed this year.
Poole, who also is the chamber and CVB CEO, said 21 teams competed in last year’s December Cupcake War. She attributed the decreased entrant participation to the Thanksgiving Day holiday arriving one week later this year. Poole said people had less time to prepare for the competition than in years past, and many likely were worn out from celebrating a food-laden holiday before beginning a busy Christmas season. She said the council considered canceling the event, but decided to hold the competition so as not to disappoint those dedicated competitors who showed or the significant number of residents who attend each year.
Contestants were responsible for baking and bringing 350 fully decorated mini cupcakes for the public to sample. Five judges graded teams’ entries on creativity, taste and originality, with 20 points being the highest-possible grade for each category.
Along with culinary artists displaying cupcakes, local artist and art educator Ashley Kukula Cuevas exhibited a number of her paintings at the event. Cuevas is an art council co-op artist. She teaches studio classes, figure drawing and offers step-by-step painting parties.
The HAAC is a 501(c) (3), nonprofit corporation primarily funded through the Margaret Martin Trust Fund.