All I have to say is: O.M.G.
The entries (hundreds!!) for the "So You Wanna Be a CakeSpy?" contest were simply out of this world insane!
To narrow it down to a winner is going to be nearly impossible. Even with a crew of cake experts, who judged entries based on creativity, cuteness, OM NOM NOM factor and overall awesomeness, thus far we have only been able to narrow it down to these thirty entries.
The winners stand to win some fantastic prizes: The Grand Prize, provided in partnership with Sasquatch Books, is a trip for two to CakeSpy headquarters in Seattle and a visit to one of MY favorite bakeries for an afternoon of sweet treats. Other prizes include original signed CakeSpy artwork, CakeSpy goodies such as unicorn socks, and signed copies of CakeSpy Presents.
Want to participate? Weigh in, either in the comments section, on Flickr, or on Facebook, and let us know which is your favorite! We will take your comments, flickr and facebook "likes" on each photo into account! Help us deliberate! Here are the finalists, listed in the order that they were received:
Finalist 1: Neapolitan Blondie Bars by Molly A.
By combining three sweet flavors, Neapolitan Blondie Bars were born. A bar consisting of three layers: Strawberry Blondie, Vanilla Blondie, and Chocolate Brownie. Here you have my recipe, topped with Hundreds and Thousands (sprinkles) for a nice Ice Cream Shop feel. These treats do have to be made in steps, as they consist of three layers, but it is more than worth it. The strawberry layer provides moisture for the whole treat, and the mixture of flavors actually makes it taste like the ever popular creamy Neapolitan ice cream we all know and love. Link to the recipe here on cakefyi.com
Finalist 2: Funfetti Truffle Chocolate Cupcakes by Erin V.
Funfetti truffle chocolate cupcakes are the ultimate cupcakes! These chocolate cupcakes are stuffed with funfetti cake batter truffles, which are baked right into them. But it didn’t stop there with the cake batter/funfetti-ness, oh no sir, I just HAD to top it all off with green cake batter cream cheese frosting! I didn’t think it got any better than cream cheese frosting. Of course that was then followed by sprinkles. Cannot have a funfetti cupcake without sprinkles now can we? Link here.
Finalist 3: Oreo Brownies with Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Swirl by Emily S.
My name is Emily and I am the writer/dessert enthusiast for EmLoves. My entry for the "So You Wanna Be A Cakespy?" contest is my Oreo Brownies with a Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Swirl. I eat A LOT of dessert, but these brownies (oh these brownies) are easily one of my favorite creations. It's THE BEST brownie you will ever have, topped and swirled with peanut butter cheesecake, and then covered with copious amounts of Oreo chunks. It really cannot get any better. Here is my blog post for the entry!
Finalist 4: Batter Belly Dough Cake by Lauren E.
Batters’ Up! This mile high mini cake is sure to please any batter-licking soul. The hip hugging delight starts with a chocolate chip cookie layer, and then is topped with cookie dough filling. Bring on the brownie with a chocolate fudge variety which is blanketed under a plump layer of brownie batter filling. Lastly, a moist funfetti layer sends this cake into doughy harmony. Laced with a cake batter frosting and topped with mini baked treats, this dessert is no dream, it’s an unbaked ecstasy. Dough you want to try it?
Finalist 5: S'moretroopers by Jenn F.
I love Star Wars and it especially influences my dessert making! I wanted to do a riff on a traditional smores, but in cupcake form. A chocolate cupcake filled with marshmallow fluff, topped with a decadent chocolate buttercream - topped with a Stormtrooper shaped graham cracker, which of course would be called a SMOREStrooper! Link here.
Finalist 6: Cake Fried Whoopie Pie Sundae by Jared S.
Sundays used to be for family, church, and long drives through the countryside (at a slow pace, of course). Then, something happened…the “y” got replaced with an “e”, and sundaes were never the same again. They became something of indulgence and lust. Picture a creamy frozen treat mounted atop a sizzling ball of cake batter fried goodness with a luscious whoopie pie tucked inside all warm and snuggly (like your favorite childhood blanky). This bad boy, weighing in at a hefty 25 pounds, (give or take 24 pounds), will change your life in more ways than imaginable.
Finalist 7: Whack and Unwrap Chocolate Orange Bars by Becca T.
Whack! Biting into the chocolate-orange I had just smashed on the table—the kind I find at the bottom of my stocking every year— Icrave to have this flavor combo more often. Whack again! An idea smashes into my brain. Taking my favorite lemon-bar recipe, I addGhirardelli cocoa powder to the shortbread crust, top it with a layer of chopped chocolate-orange pieces, and substitute into the filling fresh-squeezed OJ, orange zest, and a spoonful of orange marmalade (for that extra orangey oomph). The result… citrusy tang mingles blissfully with melt-in-your-mouth chocolate decadence to form anunbreakable flavor combo.
Finalist 8: Chocolate Brownie Cupcakes with Chocolate Covered Mint Oreos inside by Andrea B.
Chocolate brownie cupcakes with chocolate-covered mint Oreos inside, and mint buttercream or mint
chocolate buttercream frosting. Link here.
Finalist 9: Chocolate Crunch Confetti Cake by Jency W.
I designed this Chocolate Crunch Confetti Cake for my dad's 65th birthday. Since he's a New Year's baby I created a cake that embodied novelty, exuberance and extravagance. I baked a chocolate cake and added a crunch layer from an orange crunch cake for textural pizazz. For the icing I borrowed my mom's cream cheese frosting recipe and I dyed the coconut with food dye in individual batches. The combination of flavors and colors made for dramatic presentation. Cutting through the three dark layers hiding beneath the snowy frosting and rainbow coconut was like ripping into another birthday surprise altogether!
Finalist 10: Donut Pies by Jory S.
I followed the recipe using buttercream filling. After removing the donuts from the fryer, they were dipped in a mixture of cinnamon-sugar. Lastly, they were frosted with whipped chocolate and embellished with more cinnamon-sugar and rainbow sprinkles. This book is inspiring and fantastic! Grilled cheesecake and birthday cake French toast are next!
Finalist 11: Valhalla Bars by Carrie F.
Valhalla bars, otherwise known as "heaven in your mouth"are delicate, nutty, just ever so slightly salty and sweet brown butter, pretzel shortbread, smothered in gooey, creamy, buttery caramel then topped with a thin blanket of rich dark chocolate ganache. See? SERIOUSLY heaven in your mouth!! Link here.
Entry 12: Peanut Butter/Toffee Cupcakes by David S.
Our Peanut Butter/Toffee cupcake is packed with power and passion, as all cupcakes should be! We created a delicious, moist peanut butter cake with toffee covered peanut baked inside and a light peanut butter buttercream on top with a single toffee peanut right smack in the middle! Our kitchen smelled so good and I have to admit, my wife and I licked the bowl, spoon and devoured two cupcakes each before taking pictures! I hope you like them!!!
Entry 13: Banana Caramel Coconut Cream Pie with Dark Rum by Joanna S.
I love desserts that call upon childhood memories, but have adult flavor. What is a better combination of that than animal crackers and dark rum? This Banana Caramel Coconut Cream Pie with Dark Rum makes people who don't like coconut want to eat it every day and makes everyone who has eaten it give into their baser urges (i.e. sugar and cream and sweet nom nom nom). I am a cake person, and this pie is the best competitor I've ever had for one of my cupcakes. And coming from me, that's a big deal. Link here.
Finalist 14: Frau Brownies by Linda H.
Named after its creator, a local high school German teacher, this recipe has been passed on by word of mouth across the community. Legend has it that the recipe has even appeared in a Purdue University dining court. Frau brownies consist of a triple layer of childhood flavors combined into a decadent treat. The base is a cakey brownie followed by a thick spread of marshmallow fluff which is topped by a crunchy mix of rice crispies with equal parts melted peanut butter, chocolate chips, and butterscotch chips. Best served warm and when feeling nostalgic about being a kid again. Here's a link.
Finalist 15: Cookie Time Cookies by Alexandra
If there's anything I've learned from years of following CakeSpy, it's to look for the whimsy and sweetness in life. And what could be sweeter than Cookie Monster on a cookie, eating a cookie, while chatting on CookieTime? Made from Pillsbury chocolate chip cookie dough, homemade buttercream frosting, food coloring and, of course, love, these treats are perfect for techie-philes and cookie-philes alike. For instructions how to make your own "CookieTime" cookies, click here.
Finalist 16: Cold Cookie Pie by Juliann L.
A cookie-lovers delight, this ice cream cake has layers of cookie-dough ice cream, hot fudge, peanut butter truffle, crumbled oreos and, of course, chocolate chip cookies on top. Did I mention it's delicious? Link here.
Finalist 17: Drug Cake by Becca S.
The sweetest dessert I have encountered is a cake I purchased from a lady out of her home in the sketchy part of town and paid for with a bundle of cash. This made me feel like I was dealing drugs and inspired my name for it: Drug Cake (also, the feeling of chocolate comatose bliss after indulging). Drug Cake is a decadent triple-layer chocolate buttermilk cake filled with assorted rich ganaches and frosted with silky mocha buttercream. The top is piled precariously high with chocolate cake balls, Grand Marnier chocolate truffles, Guittard chocolate shavings and classic chocolate covered strawberries.
Finalist 18: Pie Tatin by Jessica T.
Tarte tatin is already amazing, with its decadent apples and caramel that can make you dream in butter. But I'm also a fan of pie, as pie is awesome, and cinnamon-sugar swirled pie crust just makes everything better. So, I put the two together and added in a whole vanilla bean. I now regret that I didn't triple the batch size. Links to recipes used here and here.
Finalist 19: Tricked Out Funfetti Cake Balls
Agent Oink is part of the CakeSpy detective agency, disguised as an oven timer inside the kitchen of Allyson Dwyer. His mission is to help make delicious and adorable desserts to report back to the CakeSpy Agency. To test his discoveries, he shares them at parties among his kitchen friends who help him to come up with new baking ideas. This week he is investigating how to make these vanilla-frosting-filled, white-chocolate-drenched, Funfetti cake balls bigger, more festive, and ultra delicious by stuffing them with fresh chocolate chip cookie dough, peanut butter cups, and chocolate caramels. What will his verdict be?!
Entry 20: Beach Dessert by Elizabeth M.
These are beach desserts, made of butterscotch pudding, crumbled graham crackers, chocolate-candy coated “sea shells,” blue Jell-o, Swedish fish, and whipped cream, garnished with drink umbrellas. Prepare both the pudding and Jell-o as directed and let it cool a bit before pouring them into plastic cocktail cups. Sprinkle the graham cracker crumbs on top of the pudding, then add the “shells” and umbrella. Wait for the Jell-o to solidify, then put in the fish by sticking the end of a knife into the Jell-o and pushing them in. Lastly, add some whipped cream to the top for "whitecaps."
Entry 21: Chocolate "Salami" treats by Kati S.
See the salami-looking treats on top of the regular cookies? This is dark chocolate salami, my version of a common Portuguese treat. Instead of Maria cookies, I used animal crackers. Along with dark Hershey's cocoa, butter, eggs, sugar, and a splash of Kahlua, this treat is easy (if a tad messy) to make, requires no baking (so use fresh eggs), and is ridiculously delicious. The best part is that the odds of someone else making it in the U.S. is essentially nil, so no repeats! Unique and yummy, that's my fave.
Finalist 22: Turtle Tiramisu Cheesecake by Lori R.
I want to be a Cake Spy! Here is my dessert for your consideration. It doesn't get much sweeter than when a turtle cheesecake meets tiramisu. Sweet lady fingers firmly grounded in a chocolate graham cracker crust grasp a creamy cheesecake filling topped with melted chocolate and caramel. Link here.
Finalist 23: Coffee Hazelnut Gateau by Kim L.
For the Cake Spy Contest I decided to do a twist on the typical coffee sponge cake by creating a multi layered hazelnut coffee gâteau with a delicious creamy yet light white chocolate bavarois with spices and cocoa powder in between each layer. Then to top it all off I drizzled chocolate ganache made with a hint of nutmeg and cinnamon. As for garnishing, I added a magenta flower and white chocolate designs. The gâteau had rich subtle flavors and the multiple cake layers added a light airy texture but it was still smooth and creamy with the ganache topping. Link here.
Finalist 24: Strawberry Rice Krispie Cupcakes by Jeanee D.
This experiment I concocted was my husband's idea. We saw strawberry marshmallows in the grocery store and he thought it would be a good idea to make some rice krispie treats with them. I finally gave in, and at the last minute he grabbed strawberry icing to add. "What?," I thought. "Strawberries in my rice krispies and NOW icing?" I thought this man was mad!I took it up a notch and made the treats look like cupcakes. It was the most cute and delicious sugar high ever! See the tutorial here.
Finalist 25: Faux Chili by Jennifer B.
Savor the sweetness of summer with this delish dish: A trifle of cupcakes and strawberry puree decorated with candy beans, crumbled chocolate-hazlenut candies, sliced apple licorice and a dollop of fresh buttercream frosting. No Independence Day hero is complete without a sidekick. Close by its side is a mini cupcake smeared with more buttercream and topped with a butter mint.
Finalist 26: Lemon Drop bites by Shaina M.
Homemade Strawberry Lemonade Ice Cream Bites. This Ice cream recipe does not require an ice cream maker and the ice cream is frozen in lemon rinds then cut into wedges for a super cute sweet snack! Link here.
Finalist 27: Unicorn Cake Pops by Heather M.
This is my Unicorn Cake Pop. Inside she is delicious devil's food cake mixed with dark chocolate frosting. Outside she is dipped in Guittard white chocolate coating. Her ears are white chocolate chips (applied before dipping) and her mane is Guittard strawberry candy coating. She is dusted with pink pearl dust (Wilton). Her horn is made of candy clay (modeling chocolate) and dusted with silver sparkle dust (CK Products). She has candy eyeballs and her eyelashes, smile and nostrils are drawn on with Americolor Gourmet Writers.
Finalist 28: The Veruca by Mary P.
A silky pumpkin pie baked (flaky crust and all!) into a white cake and layered with additional cakey goodness and gooey pecan pie deliciousness. Frosted with a heavenly whipped cream frosting and garnished with pecan praline, this dessert medley is the answer to the ultimate Turkey Day dilemma… How to fit every personal favorite dessert perfectly on my fork.
What would you call such a concoction? The Veruca, of course! Since it is everything a spoiled little girl could possibly ask for in a dessert.
Finalist 29: Choco-Fluffernutter Ice Cream Sandwich by Amy G.
Last summer I came home from work inspired to make oatmeal peanut butter cookies. I made the cookies, and upon remembering a few sweet accompaniments in my cupboard and freezer, did not stop there. I created a choco-fluffernutter ice cream sandwich: one scoop of double dark chocolate gelato and a generous dollop of marshmallow fluff sandwiched between two fresh peanut butter cookies! Link here.
Finalist 30: Beer Crispy Treats by Nom N.
Beer Crispy Treats are decadent upon decadent - sugar on sugar. First homemade beer marshmallow fluff gets whipped up. Then it is mixed with browned butter [oh so good!] and puffed rice cereal. Once the whole gooey mess sets up in a pan, the squares are dipped in dark chocolate and drizzled [or drowned] in homemade beer caramel sauce.
With all the sweet flavors in each bite, the beer becomes a background player - adding some spice and depth, not really screaming beer. It's all about the sugars and textures playing together. Link here.