Entries for our Cupcake Thursday contest came from all over the world- Seattle to South Africa. Orlando to Calgary. Bakers, photographers, designers, moms, and teenagers.

The photography skills. The ingenuity. The baking craft. The artistry. The stories behind them all… MAN the stories. We had tears in our eyes while reading through your stories, tears of joy, hilarity, and compassion.

It’s been so fun meeting all of you.

And it was SO hard choosing just one.

But THIS is the one.

Congrats Mikkel Paige, for a job VERY well done. We adored your passion for baking, photography, and painting, as well as the planning and care you took to make this image.

Mikkel Paige

When I read about this contest I was immediately energized and anxious to enter.  I’m a cake decorator and photographer (aspiring professional anyway) and this was the perfect opportunity to practice and fine tune my skills in both.  There was some self-imposed pressure when I started to think what I would do.  How would I get your attention?  Make my cupcakes sparkle and shine?  Make it unique?  When it came down to it, I decided to be me.  To emulate my personality and passion through a clear vision.

The vision that popped into my head was of a few cupcakes in a row (five to be exact – a nice number with a beginning, middle and end) with varying purple shades of buttercream frosting, some white sprinkles (to keep it classy!), silver cupcake papers and a bold painting in the background.  I love bright, bold colors and always gravitate towards gradients/ombre so I envisioned a backdrop that would illustrate falling sprinkles; they’d be dense on top and sparse at the bottom.  Bright orange and yellow paint would complete the look I was going for – lavender to purple cupcakes with an orange to yellow painting…delicious in every way.  (I like to paint when I have the time so now I was combining three hobbies: baking, photography and painting. Glorious!)

A LOT of T.L.C went into the shoot, which I took very seriously artistically, personally and professionally.  I spent a good 5 hours drawing my design on the canvas and painting it (I’m a perfectionist) and at least that long on the cupcakes between making them, filling them (they’re actually chocolate cupcakes with a chocolate chip cannoli filling), and mixing the buttercream colors (which took longer than I’d like to admit to get the colors just right).  After that was all done, I spent quite a lot of time getting just the right “dome” on the actual cupcake when I piped the frosting on them (deciding it wasn’t good enough a few times and scraping the icing off to try, try again!) then added sprinkles and it was time to shoot!  I set up a glorified baked goods photo shoot (cupcakes deserve star treatment, of course) in my apartment’s humble kitchen on my black granite counter tops at about 1:00am (natural light’s my preference but I work full time and the sun’s down by the time I get home). I shot for an hour or so – hundreds of photos with two different lenses.  The reflection of the cupcakes and the painting in the polished stone was a very happy, welcomed surprise.

I have to say that I’m really proud of my entry and it turned out better than I had imagined.   So much time and energy went into every detail of the photo that is attached.  More importantly, it’s filled with love and care for the processes and art forms it took to create it from baking to painting to photography.

We’ll get you all set up with your Totally Rad Action LR Presets just as soon as we possibly can. We hope you enjoy using them and enjoy making great art in the next days, weeks, and months!

This seriously was SUCH a fun project. We judges would also like to give kudos to the following images and descriptions that bowled us over with humor and appreciation:

Orange Soda Photo (the execution is stylish and finishing impeccable!!)

Stephanie Shen (because she said her child had the best “Cupcake-Dar”-cupcake radar-this side of the Mississippi).

Craig Harrold Photography and Carol Harrold Photography (because this is titled “Death by Imposter.” Note that the cupcake is a Ding Dong imposter…. this image made me laugh. HARD. Good work, guys!)

Front Room Photography (because we all HEART animated gif’s!)

Brittany O’Brien (because her tot does this every time she bites into a cupcake. Brittany is known for bringing mustaches to ANY event, and we love her for that!)

And now more fabulous eye candy!! Thank you, each and every one of you for sharing your touching, funny, and amazing stories, imagery, and skills!! It’s truly been a pleasure!!!