Cupcake War - Semi-Finals: Retromama VS Clever Cupcakes

Cupcake War - Semi-Finals: Retromama VS Clever Cupcakes



Make sure to check out our Introduction to Cupcake War page for the rules and other rounds!

Changes in Judging Criteria

So since we're in the semi-finals now, we decided to do away with the regular judging critera, which had scores for flavor followed by scores for price, accessibility, value for money, and menu diversity. We figured that, by now, it's all about flavor and only flavor.

Judging Form

The Judges:

This time, we decided to post an open-call and get a total of 9 judges to judge the round! Cool beans, no? The differences in taste were insane, with some people loving a cupcake to death and others unable to take another bite of the same cupcake. Funky monkey.

Noor Nooruddin: I see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Ali Haji: Surprisingly cooperative.

Reem Aseeri: Pumped and loves cheese on cake.

Nawaf Nooruddin: Anti-Betty Crocker businesses.

Aziz Mansoori: A veteran who gets it.

Noer "Glitlz" Maraghy: She lives a Tumblr life on Snapchat.

Rami Jamal: Got accidentally coaxed into having cupcakes that he was boycotting. OOPS.

Zahra "Nfaish3asal" Alezzi: Doesn't understand why people don't move on from Nfaish3asal into accepting her new Twitter handle. Because NO, Zahraa.

Asma "Asoomzsh" Shukralla: She bought us gifts, guys. She wins already.


The Cupcakes


Cupcakes being judged:

Chocolate Bottom & Pink Lemonade


Clever Cupcakes

Cupcakes being judged:

clever all

Extreme Chocolate & Snickers




Chocolate Bottom

Flavor Ratings (out of 25):

Noor: 19.25

Ali: 16

Reem: 20

Nawaf: 19

Aziz: 22.3

Noer: 17.5

Rami: 11.5

Zahraa: 15.5

Asma: 12.5

Average: 17/25

It's the first time I see so many people in one room try the exact same cupcake at the same time. It was fascinating, but also difficult to watch because I also had to take a bite into the cupcake with them. The Chocolate Bottom cupcake sort of punched us into this round, an explosive start, where some of us were taken aback by how much we enjoyed this cupcake, whereas a couple of other people had scrunched up faces and were reluctant to take another bite. Fascinating. Generally, we agreed that the cake on its own is okay, if lacking in some moisture, but it's the cream-cheese frosting that knocks it out of the park, even for me; great compatibility with the cake and no aftertaste, and perfect non-suffocaty amount. Except Rami Jamal. Rami didn't like it.

Pink Lemonade

Flavor Ratings (out of 25):

Noor: 16.5

Ali: 16

Reem: 16

Nawaf: 13.5

Aziz: 16.3

Noer: 14

Rami: 15

Zahraa: 13

Asma: 15.5

Average: 15/25

A very strong hit of lemon with this cupcake, no surprise, I suppose. It leaves with a great sweet aftertaste. It smacks you at first but eventually feels refreshing. Now the lemony-ness is all good, but where's the pink, you know? It's only slightly less intense than the lemon poppyseed cupcake we tried in the previous round, so it IS palpably different, but not different enough. MORE PINK. Probably needed in the frosting, as the cake on its own was a very intense lemon, rendering the frosting almost unnecessary. Otherwise, a pretty good cupcake overall, and the change in scoring between judges comes down to personal taste as opposed to clear-cut flaws in the cupcake. Perhaps its initial shock-value gave it a lower score than the immediately pleasant chocolate bottom (well, immediately pleasant for most of us).


Clever Cupcakes

Extremely Chocolate

Flavor Ratings (out of 25):

Noor: 14.5

Ali: 15

Reem: 17

Nawaf: 10

Aziz: 13.9

Noer: 16.5

Rami: 13

Zahraa: 20

Asma: 15.5

Average: 15/25

This was generally an underwhelming experience, especially since we were expecting EXTREME chocolate. The cake itself had a pretty good cakey texture but wasn't very chocolatey, the frosting tasted like it was pretty much all Nutella, which is undoubtedly delicious but was SO intense, making it difficult to take another bite because everything gets stuck in your teeth in that Nutella way. Was it really frosting? The cupcake didn't really come together as a whole, but the frosting was the delicious element that really pumped it up, despite its impracticality. That being said, the two who disliked the chocolate bottom (Rami + Zahraa) enjoyed this cake more than the rest of us, except it seems Rami got angry at the frosting, because he'd given the cake itself great scores. Debates debates!



Flavor Ratings (out of 25):

Noor: 15.5

Ali: 13

Reem: 6

Nawaf: 20

Aziz: 14.9

Noer: 10

Rami: 17

Zahraa: 9.5

Asma: 10.7

Average: 12.95/25

There's no hiding the fact that this cupcake did significantly lower than the rest. We were taken aback by this cupcake too, but not for the right reasons. We were taken aback because it seemed that the cake they used in Extremely Chocolate is the same cake they used for this Snickers cupcake. So, there's that. I guess it's no surprise considering Clever Cupcakes offer 30000000 different flavors, so they'll obviously be interchanging some. Still, it was a disappointment. The oomph in this cupcake is the peanut butter hint in the cake (or was it in the frosting?), so there is that difference. They didn't just pop a Snickers on top of the cupcake, they made sure you tasted it with every bite. A few of us generally don't like peanut butter, so that accounts for the differences in scoring between Extreme Chocolate and Snickers, because they were essentially the same except for that hint of peanut butter. Try to guess which one of us hates peanut butter the most.



Semi-Final1 Judging Form: Retromama VS Clever Cupcakes


Congratulations: RETROMAMA

TL;DR A pretty close call at first, with Retromama oomphing their way out with in-your-face flavors, while Clever Cupcakes stayed timid and seemed to have used the same formulas for both cupcakes. Oomph wins in the end! Unless it's bad oomph. Not all oomph is good, you guys.

Photography by: Ali Haji (Check out his Instagram @AliHajiPhotography)

Follow @Shda3wa on Instagram too!


Clever Cupcakes: @CleverCups

Retromama: @Retromama_bh



Sf1 Cupcake War


 Thanks for reading!


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