Visitors to the Hinesville Area Arts Council on Tuesday got to follow a yellow-brick road into a magic-filled flavor voyage inspired by fairy tales, Disney movies and nature.
An estimated 250 people sampled miniature cupcakes that covered an array of colors and flavors at the council’s second cupcake war, according to HAAC Chairwoman Leah Poole.
Visitor turnout was about the same as the inaugural event in December, Poole said, but the number of participating teams increased from eight to 11.
Some teams, such as the four-member city of Hinesville team and a group of teachers at Fort Stewart schools, worked together to conceive, bake, decorate and set up their tables.
Others, like first-time participant Racheal Reiner, a member of the Kiwanis Club of Liberty County, worked alone.
“It was a nine-hour process, but I got it done,” Reiner said about her Snow White-inspired cupcakes.
Reiner drew inspiration from the original story to make her vanilla cupcakes with cream cheese frosting look like red apples — with a twist. In the original story, the queen gives Snow White an apple that is half-enticing and juicy, but the other half has a poisonous worm in it, Reiner said. To replicate the apple’s dual contents, the competitor dyed half of each cake with purple food coloring.
“I love baking, and it’s always been a hobby of mine,” Reiner said. “So I was like, ‘Hey, yeah, I’ll take this undertaking!’”
Attendees moved around the council’s gallery to feast upon the cakes. Some savored them on the spot, while others piled napkins high with the miniature creations.
The people’s choice winner was both a visual and taste-oriented feast. Sponsored by Imprint Warehouse, team members Amber White and Shonda Youschak spent about three days creating eight types of cupcakes for their “Wizard of Oz” display.
On the green table, a yellow-brick road dotted with lemon cupcakes was surrounded by creations that signified the story’s main characters, the traits they were seeking and the obstacles they encountered on the road to Oz.
Beneath the elaborate decorations, White and Youschak’s cake flavors included red velvet, margarita and strawberry lemonade.
Competitor Ena Wilson, who operates Eat the Cake Bakery from her home, said she was thrilled to see reactions to her Disney-inspired display.
“I normally don’t get to see people enjoy what I make, so this is an opportunity to see that,” she said as children snatcher her vanilla almond buttercream cakes in the shape of Mickey Mouse’s hat and ears.
“Food always brings people together,” she added.
Liberty County Commissioner Connie Thrift, Hinesville City Councilman David Anderson and Alltel Wireless representative Jabron James judged the competition.
The Liberty County Chamber of Commerce and Convention and Visitors Bureau took first place, Paloma Quijano of Kelly Bean Cupcakes took second and the city of Hinesville placed third.
The arts council plans to host two cupcake wars each year — one in the spring and one in December.
“It brings the community out to share in fellowship,” Poole said. “It’s fun, it’s free, it’s a good time for families.”