Mystery Box Cupcake Challenge: Official Rules

THIS MONTHLY CHALLENGE HAS NOW CONCLUDED; THERE WILL BE NO MORE CHALLENGES!
THANK YOU FOR YOUR INTEREST AND PARTICPATION!

CLICK HERE TO SEE A LIST OF THE WINNERS!

Welcome to the Mystery Box Cupcake Challenge!  This is an exciting new competition where each month a secret ingredient from the Mystery Box is revealed and participants must create a cupcake based on that ingredient.  There are some neat prizes to be won, so read below to find out how you can enter!

—CHECK THE SIDEBAR TO THE RIGHT FOR THIS MONTH’S INGREDIENT—

How It Works
All dates and times in relation to this competition are Pacific Standard Time in the USA. Deadlines are always at 11:59PM respectively.

On the 1st of each month a new secret ingredient will be announced on The Sweetest Kitchen blog and a notice will be placed in the sidebar of the blog.  It could be a single ingredient, such as “chocolate”, or a general theme, such as “winter”.  Particular rules relating to each ingredient will be announced on the blog.  Participants will have 20 days to create their own cupcake based around the secret ingredient.  After the 20th of the month, all entries will be posted on The Sweetest Kitchen blog along with a poll so that anyone who visits the blog can vote for their favorite entry.  Voting will remain open for 5 days.  After the voting has ended, the top 5 cupcakes that receive the most votes go into a draw where a winner will be chosen at random from those top 5.

Participants who have already won are still allowed to enter the competition, however, they will not be eligible to win the prize pack.  If a past winner makes it into the top 5, their spot will be given to the cupcake that is next in line with the 6th highest vote.  This ensures that everyone will have a chance to win.

Always check in the sidebar to the right of The Sweetest Kitchen blog for all updates on this competition – including the current month’s ingredient and when voting is open.

How To Enter
Participation is free and open to everyone of all ages from all over the world.  There is no commitment – only compete in the months that you want to.

Only one entry per person is allowed.

On the 1st of the month, check The Sweetest Kitchen blog for the new secret ingredient.  This information will be placed on a blog post and in the sidebar.  Once the ingredient is announced, you must then create a cupcake based on this ingredient by the 20th of the month.

Keep in mind that the purpose of this competition is to challenge you in the kitchen and to create interesting flavors that are way beyond the average chocolate and vanilla cupcakes you’d find in a cookbook or bakery.

Unless specified, the general rule is that the ingredient has to be incorporated/used in some part of the cupcake.

Post pictures and your baking story on your blog. Posting your recipe is optional.  In your blog post, please provide a link to the Mystery Box Cupcake Challenge info page (the page you are reading now). You are also required to post links to the prize providers. For the current month’s prize providers, please see the ingredient announcement post for that month (link to this post is in the sidebar to the right), where you will find text that you can copy and paste directly into your post.

All photos entered into the competition must be your own.  All cupcakes entered into the competition must be your own. If this rule is disregarded, your entry will not be accepted.

After posting the above information on your blog, fill out the official entry form. Make sure you provide accurate details in this form as the information you provide there is exactly what I’ll be using on the roundup and voting poll.

I will reply back to every entry. If you do not receive a reply from me in 3 days, please resend your entry. If I don’t receive your entry you will not be included in the roundup or voting.

You are not required to have a blog to enter the competition. If you’d like to enter the competition and don’t have a blog, you may provide a link to your Flickr photo.  If you don’t have a Flickr account, simply leave the appropriate sections blank on the entry form.

After submitting the entry form, you are done.  Just sit back and let the votes roll in!

How Voting Works
Voting takes place on the 21st through the 26th of each month and voting is open to every person who visits The Sweetest Kitchen blog.  A poll with your entry information will be posted in the sidebar of The Sweetest Kitchen blog.

It is perfectly acceptable to ask all your friends and family to vote for you, but please be fair and do not vote for yourself more than once, or ask your friends and family to vote for you more than once.  I have detailed site tracking installed on my blog that tracks visitor information, and the poll I use tracks IP addresses – if you or someone else is voting for you more than once, I will most likely know about it.  If I suspect that someone is cheating, that person will be contacted and can possibly be disqualified from the competition for that month.  Repeat offenders will be banned completely from the competition.

Voters will be allowed to vote for their TWO favorite cupcakes.

When voting, keep in mind that this competition has been created to introduce exciting, new cupcake flavors, rather than for appearance (unless specified in the particular month’s post), so place your vote according to the cupcake that you think is most inventive and that you’d be most likely to eat and enjoy.

When voting has ended, the top 5 cupcakes that receive the most votes will go into a draw, where the winner will be chosen at random.  I will not be using the good old random.org random number generator; instead I’m going to do it the old-fashioned way.  I will write the name of the top 5 cupcakes and the blog they belong to on 5 separate pieces of paper, toss them around in a small box and draw one piece of paper out of the box.  The cupcake written on that paper will be announced the winner.

On the 27th of the month, the winner will be announced on The Sweetest Kitchen blog and will receive prizes from that particular month’s prize sponsors.

Please note that the dates given above are not set in stone as I am not a robot – I am a human, I am a mother of 3 young children and I can’t always get to the computer when I need to.

Prize Sponsors
When the winner is chosen, he or she will be contacted by email and will be required to email me their postal address within 5 days so that I can provide the prize sponsors with the information necessary to send the winner that month’s prizes.  If you do not provide your postal address within 5 days, a new winner will be chosen out of the remaining top 5 cupcakes.

If you are a winner and haven’t received one of your prizes, please email me at mysteryboxcc@gmail.com and I will try to work it out.

Here is a list of sponsors that have donated prizes, both past and present, to the winners of this competition:

Angela’s Images
Bake It Pretty
Bakerella
Beanilla
CT2Designs
ExoDesign
Hello Hanna
Lisa Orgler
Maisie Fantaisie Cupcake Wrappers
Miss Kitty Creations Jewelry
My Little Cupcake Pop
Rishi Tea
Simply Caked
Soapylove Glycerin Soap Design
Sweet Cuppin Cakes
Tundra Books

If you are interested in donating a prize, either for a single month or for consecutive months, please email me at mysteryboxcc@gmail.com.

Previous Winners
These are the winners of previous Mystery Box Cupcake Challenges – congratulations to all of you!

July 2010 – Tea Challenge:
Sweet Coconut Tea Cupcakes With Caramel Filling And Ginger Cream Cheese Frosting, by Lina

August 2010 – White Chocolate Challenge:
White Chocolate Passion Cupcakes, by Tara

September 2010 – Childhood Memories Challenge:
Kiwi-Lime-Grapefruit Cupcakes, by Heather

October 2010 – The Color Orange Challenge:
Indian Summer (Margarita) Cupcakes, by Olga

November 2010 – Ginger Challenge:
Mini Ginger-Pineapple Cupcakes, by Eliane

December 2010 – For Someone Special Challenge:
Kulfi Cupcakes, by Courtney

January 2011 – Popcorn Challenge:
“Hot” Popped Cocoa-Cake Cupcakes, by Angela

February 2011 – Chocolate Cake With A Twist Challenge:
Balsamic Vinegar and Strawberry Chocolate Cupcakes, by Marissa

March 2011 – Birthday Challenge:
Spring Lawn Cupcakes, by Anna

April 2011 – Earth Day Challenge:
The Lil Earth Cake, by The Lil Cake Shoppe

May 2011 – Flower Challenge:
Blushing Banana Cupcakes, by Carina

June 2011 – Fizzy Challenge:
Cherries and Cream Cupcakes, by Jessie

Thank you for your interest in the Mystery Box Cupcake Challenge!

- Thank you to Lisa Orgler for the awesome Mystery Box Cupcake Challenge logo design!