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2011 Cupcake Love-In Baker Lineup Announced

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Despite the endless parade of frosted delights showing up in bakeries, at culinary festivals, and on fancy restaurant menus over the past few years, cupcakes don't seem to be going anywhere -- except in our mouths.

Last year's Cupcake Love-In at the Hotel Valley Ho was proof positive of just how crazy Phoenicians are over the sweet treats. The event was sold out to the point that locals (and even a few out-of-staters) were lined up out the door. Some hungry eaters without tickets even cried, begged, or tried to use their children's sad faces to guilt their way into the food fest.

This year the Love-In organizers, including local pastry chef Tracy Dempsey, made decisions to not sell tickets at the door and to limit the number of cupcakes entered by each contestant. But that hasn't stopped locals from buzzing about the event, and the stellar lineup of participating chefs that was announced yesterday.  

Winning bakers Tammie Coe, Cupcake Cafe, and Barb's Bakery are back to defend their titles in categories for best frosting, most outrageous, best classic cupcake, best use of the secret ingredient and the coveted Best in Show against seasoned veterans including La Dolce Pesca and Liberty Market. But the big surprise is just how many new entrants signed up this year.  

Get the full list after the jump. 


This year's newbies range from a vegan-friendly juice bar to a major grocery store chain to yet another Sam Fox venture. Even NCounter, the brand new breakfast and lunch joint T.C. Eggington's founders Thom and Kathy Coker are opening soon on Mill Avenue, is getting in on the batter battle.

With the new rules Dempsey has in place this year, each contestant can enter only one cupcake variety into the bake-off. But that still means a total of nearly 40 cupcakes.

If our own Amy Silverman's experience judging last year is any indication, sampling all of them is a very bad idea. With that in mind, admission to this year's Love-In will come with a limited amount of tasting tickets. Dempsey also hopes the new rule will cut down on the waste, since guests are not allowed to take of the cupcakes home per health code.

"After all, we are raising money for Central Arizona Shelter Services which provides services to our Valley homeless," she says. "It doesn't seem right to waste so much food at an event that is trying to help those who have been in situations where the scarcity of a real meal may have been a real concern." Plus, according to Dempsey, chefs get pretty bummed when they see their hard work wind up as garbage alongside coffee grounds and plastic wrappers.

So whose dessert handiwork will we see on Sunday, October 30, at Hotel Valley Ho? The full lineup of participants hoping to frost the competition includes:  

  • 24 Carrots
  • Arcadia Farms
  • Arrogant Butcher
  • Barb's Bakery
  • Bloom
  • Bourbon Steak
  • Butter & Me
  • Churn
  • Cookies from Home
  • Cowboy Ciao
  • Cruelty Free Cupcakes
  • Cupcake Café
  • Cupcakes by Design
  • D'licious Dishes
  • Fez
  • La Dolce Pesca
  • Liberty Market
  • Modern Steak
  • NCounter
  • Nothing Bundt Cakes (Scottsdale)
  • Olive & Ivy
  • Pink Velvet Cakery
  • Posh
  • Santa Barbara Catering Company
  • Simply Sweets
  • Slade Grove Creative Gourmet
  • The Spotted Donkey Cantina
  • SweetArt Bakery
  • Switch
  • Tammie Coe
  • TLC Bakery
  • Top it Cupcakes
  • Tracy Dempsey Originals
  • Treehouse Bakery
  • Two Spoons Desserts
  • Urban Cookies
  • Whole Foods Bakery
  • Whoopie Pie Baking Company

Tickets for this year's event are expected to go on sale Friday, September 30, through the Cupcake Love-In website.

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