Last Night at the Scottsdale Culinary Festival: Bubbles and Bliss for the Extreme Sweet Tooth

We're used to gussying ourselves up to go to Sushi Roku for great sushi, so when we came back to the W Hotel for Bubbles and Bliss, we expected the crowd to be dressed up to eat way too many mini cupcakes and sip on champagne. We didn't expect a tight mini-dress competition. This is the girliest event in the SCF lineup, complete with on-site spa treatments, on top of the cupcakes and champagne thing. But we thought that meant that the point was to relax. Since the focus for Chow Bella is the food, we'll try to ignore all of that.

See Also: - Last Night's Scottsdale Culinary Event: The Chocolate and Wine "Experience" - Clash of the Cupcake Chains: Sprinkles v. Gigi's Cupcakes - Scottsdale Culinary Festival Kicks Off with "Shaken and Stirred" Last Night in Scottsdale

To be honest, we weren't too impressed by the choice of stock champagne, Martini Asti. The bubbles' sweetness was overpowering when matched with the cupcakes. We would have gone with a drier, less sweet option to contrast and therefore complement the sweet treats.

One bite after another, in an attempt to taste all the cupcakes so we could judge fairly, we were hit by waves of sugar. That's why our favorite cupcake of the night was from the Sweet Tooth Fairy bakers. While they made an excellent crème brulee cupcake filled with custardy goodness, it was the sweet potato pie cupcake that stole our vote with its spiced and slightly savory flavor. It's good to stand out.

A close second went to Butter & Me's mojito cupcake, which came with a candied mint leaf garnish that was both adorable and tasty. Plus the garnish on the chocolate and brown sugar cupcake was toffeed bacon. Need we say more?

Visually, we loved La Grande Orange's Hostess copy-cat, but where's the cream filling? Seriously, it looks like a Ho-Ho, but don't be fooled. This was chocolate covered chocolate cake.

Although Gigi's Cupcakes came with about six different tasting options, we didn't enjoy a single one. The overly sweet frosting had us tossing out minis after one bite because we simply could not eat another intensely sugared cupcake. After eating Gigi's lopsided chocolate covered strawberry cupcake, we came up with a rule for all cupcake bakers: Never pile the frosting taller than the height of the cake.

In the end and not surprisingly, Sweet Tooth Fairy, a franchised bakery, took top honors. We don't like fighting for the big guys, but STF's cupcakes were more than just sweet, they had substance and flavor. We do think that locals Butter & Me should have gotten an honorable mention, though, because they were clearly in a league above the other two competitors.

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