Cupcakes compete for a cause

October 05. 2012 1:00PM - Last modified: October 05. 2012 1:48PM

Erica Streisfeld

You’ve heard of the World Cup, Stanley Cup, America’s Cup and maybe even the Sprint Cup, but what about the Cupcake Cup? Let me give you a hint: It has nothing to do with sports and everything to do with cupcakes. And who doesn’t love cupcakes?

Carri Frank’s pumpkin-ginger cupcake with cinnamon buttercream was the professional category winner in the 2011 Harrisburg Cupcake Cup. Photo/Bella Vita Photography

Sunday, Oct. 7, from 2 to 4 p.m. (or while supplies last!), marks the fourth annual Harrisburg Cupcake Cup, a community cupcake competition that benefits the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank. This year’s event will be at the Appalachian Brewing Co. in Harrisburg on the second floor (the Abbey Bar). With 48 amateur and professional bakers competing for the honor of tastiest and most creative cupcake, we’re estimating more than 800 cupcakes!

I find it incredibly amusing that a challenge originating between me and two friends on Twitter has blossomed into an approximately 300-person fundraiser. If that isn’t proof that social media really does work, I don’t know what is.

Last year we collected 401 pounds of food and $1,860 for the Food Bank, and naturally we hope to top that this year. Did you know that for every $1 donated, the Food Bank can distribute six meals to individuals in need? Or that it can turn 1.25 pounds of donated food into one meal for an individual in need?

The beauty of this sweet celebration is that it’s completely community-driven: Contestants from the community make cupcakes for the community to sample. These cupcakes are then scored by judges from the community for a chance at prizes from community sponsors. Community volunteers staff the event. Oh, and everything from the venue to the napkins are donated by community members. I love it!

How can you get in on the cuppy festivities? All ages are welcome to stop by to sample the cupcakes and support the contestants. Admission is free, but a $3 donation or three non-perishable food items will earn you a ticket valid for one cupcake from the sampling table. New this year is a raffle with some pretty sweet prizes — from a handmade cupcake wall hanging to various wines from Cupcake Vineyards.

Interested in volunteering at the event? Join Team Cupcake to sign up for a time slot. You just may get paid in cupcakes.

Hope to see you there!

Erica Streisfeld is the editor for custom publishing at Journal Multimedia, parent company of the Central Penn Business Journal, but she moonlights as a foodie and wino. Many people also know her as founder of the Harrisburg Cupcake Cup, a community cupcake competition that benefits the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank, and owner of Little Ditty Pops. Follow her at @HbgFoodandWine.