Showing up at the Conde-Nast headquarters in Times Square, I was immediately struck by the array of food bloggers gathered together in Bon Appetit's test kitchen. There were familiar faces like @sassyradish, @jenniferperillo, and @homesicktexan and some less familiar faces like @thehungrymouse from Boston, and @SavorySweetLife, who flew in all the way from Seattle for the event. Even more striking though were the desserts that were being carefully plated all around the kitchen.
Since I was already a little late, I staked out a spot by one of the stoves and grabbed a platter. Despite my lack of planning on the cake itself, I did have one trick up my sleeve. I got my sweet mom to FedEx some of the last remaining persimmon leaves off the tree in our backyard in Napa. The vermillion leaves really helped the cake pop off the white plates and I'm sure they helped my presentation score.
Soon, most of the contestants were in the main room mingling, but I was still fussing over my cake and how it was going to get presented. The staff must have been annoyed by how I anal I was being. Still, the surprisingly good wine, and even better company soon lured me out of the kitchen and the judging got underway.
With all the stunning desserts lined up, I realized I'd forgotten to eat all day and suddenly had a rumbling in my stomach like the way it gets during late-night blog surfing. Thankfully, the leftovers were slowly moving over to a communal counter, where we got to taste every one of the desserts for ourselves.
My entry, a cream cake with layers of genoise and kabocha mousse went second to last. After introducing it, I quickly mingled my way to the back of the room, afraid to see how the judges would react. I also wanted to grab a piece of my own cake as I hadn't had a chance to taste my new concoction.
As it turns out, kabocha, the ugly duckling of pumpkins makes a good addition to cake. My experimental, last minute cake squeezed ahead to win a trip to Vegas to attend Bon Appétit's Vegas Uncork'd. Yep, I'm going to Vegas, Baby!
Everyone's entries were memorable is some way or other, and I'm really looking forward to making some of the desserts myself, just so I can have one more bite. Check out this slide show to see all the entries