Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Cake Gone Wild: Cupcake Camp New York

By: Jessica Cickay

I often find myself acting in the name of frosting. Whether I’m committing the social crime of a Saturday night stay-in with my dear friend Betty Crocker or stalking the grocery store bakery for half price sheet cakes like a predator to her prey, my frosting radar always seems to be on high alert. My boyfriend teases me, my girl friends giggle and my co-workers find me baffling (to give them some credit, I am a lanky 5’10” competitive distance runner), but I had the last laugh a recent weekend in New York when my police dog-esque abilities to sniff out sweet treats led me to stumble upon Cupcake Camp NYC at the Happy Ending Lounge.

I officially became the best girlfriend ever while walking through the Lower East Side last weekend with my boyfriend. Per usual, my desire to go out to a bar or somewhere seemingly hip remained at a solid 30%, and my idea of taking shots of frosting rather than shots of alcohol seemed deliciously better with each passing moment. The boy clearly disagreed—but we knew that we were not up for a night of drunken revelry. I capitalized and convinced him of the necessity of a frosting fix.

The Happy Ending Lounge, to me, was more of a happy beginning, middle and end as free cupcakes—yea, did I mention that this was all free?—rained upon us and, the red velvet decor with a side of swank set the mood for the pastry party. Other bloggers, cupcake enthusiasts and a slew of randoms baked for and attended the event at no cost. Magnolia Bakery, Sugar Sweet Sunshine and Baked By Melissa also all donated creative confections for the cause. What was the cause you ask? Merely to spread the kind of love that only cupcakes can spread. How could these rainbow Peep cupcakes not make someone jump and clap?

The Happy Ending itself is one of those places that makes everyone inside look good; you could never stumble into any bad lighting there. A certain sexiness seeped from the ensconced walls, but in a kitschy, cutesy kind of way, rather than in a sweaty, gropey kind of way. The bouncers were gentle giants and the bar tenders were eager to please. In my mind, any d├ęcor decorated with dessert does wonders for the space, but even sans the sweets, The Happy Ending was an eclectic mix of sleaze and swagger.

Once I ingested the look and feel of the lounge, I followed directions and ingested just about every cupcake that came within sight. Moments of crazed cupcake inhalation passed by like childhood as I double fisted the palm-sized confections.
I didn’t let the menacing growl of the Domo cupcakes pictured above get to me, and I’m glad I was so brave. A simple yellow cake, a rich chocolate butter cream and bit of growl from the puppet made these cupcakes fierce. RAAR.
These s’more’s cupcakes brought me back to my summer camp days. A spicy cake layer topped with marshmallow and chocolate frosting only required the addition of a crisp homemade graham on top—and no bonfire necessary.
The idea of a cupcake on steroids is the idea of a genius in my opinion. I personally honored this baker’s eureka moment by inhaling at least three-quarters of this massive cupcake, no problem. I think people were scared to cut into it and alter its state of perfection, but as I said from the start, I often find myself acting in the name of frosting.

Drunk on cupcakes and high on sugar, the night winded down and so did my sugar high. I definitely hit the wall—but it was a sweet, sweet wall, just as any cupcake wall should be. The boy officially dubbed me the best girlfriend ever and we waddled back to our hotel satisfied and satiated, Cupcake Camp complete.

all photos courtesy of: Cupcakestakethecake

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