I am back from my trip to Seattle and I had such an amazing time on my Cinnabon Sweet Retreat* that it will be hard to put it into words. It's amazing how much fun we managed to cram into one day! It definitely took me a few days to get myself back together, but it was so worth it to go on this fantastic trip!
I arrived in Seattle on Tuesday evening and was greeted by Cathy from Gastronomy Blog and Sarah, the PR Rep who works with Cinnabon. We had a lively chat on the way to the hotel and I instantly liked these girls. In fact, once we checked into the hotel, all of the bloggers invited to the event met up for cocktails and appetizers and everyone was so nice and friendly. Seriously, a great group, and zero drama. I finally met Mommy Perks, Mommy Mandy, Mommy Goggles, and the food bloggers from Cupcakes Take the Cake, Gigachef, Serious Eats and Savory Sweet Life in person and all of the ladies were fantastic. Unfortunately, since I was on east coast time and ready to collapse, I had to call it a night pretty early. I didn't mind retreating to my room, though. The hotel we were in was fantastic and each room had its own fireplace, controlled by a switch on the wall. Sweet.
The next day after a quick breakfast we were off to take the ferry to Bainbridge Island. Once we arrived on the island, we immediately headed to Cafe Nola for lunch (this day was ALL about delicious food!) and then headed over to the home of the "Cinnamom," Jerilyn Brusseau. Jerilyn lives in an adorable little cottage home that she describes as "a kitchen with a bed." It's true, her home was about 700 square feet and most of it was in the kitchen, which included two ovens and a giant island in the center that was covered in Cinnabon's new product........cupcakes!
The four new flavors are Cinnacake (literally a Cinnabon in cupcake form!), 24-Carrot Cake, Chocolate Passion and Vanilla Bliss. They were all delectable, but I'd have to say my favorite was the Vanilla Bliss, a moist vanilla cupcake topped with creamy vanilla frosting. The Cinnacake was a close second.
If you are a chocoholic you'll love the Chocolate Passion and fans of Carrot Cake should definitely try the 24 Carrot (the carrot cake cupcakes don't contain any raisins or nuts, which is either a good or bad thing depending on your tastes.) The Cinnabon Cupcakes are available in many markets already and will be available everywhere by mid-March.
In addition to getting to taste the new product line, we also got the chance to decorate our own cupcakes (I sucked at this but it was fun! I'm OK with the fact that I'll never have a career in cupcake decorating!) Jerilyn also shared with us her amazing recipe for coconut cream cupcakes and we all baked a batch together. Jerilyn gave us some cooking tips (add your vanilla in when you cream together your butter and sugar, regardless of when the recipe tells you to add it, and dissolve your salt in your milk or cream when baking, rather than adding them in separately.)
Jerilyn also shared with us the story of how Cinnabon came to be. Jerilyn owned her own bakery and cafe in the 80s when she was approached to create the "world's greatest cinnamon bun." She created the Cinnabon we know and love today and also created this new line of cupcakes. In addition to being a mom, business woman and baker, Jerilyn is also a humanitarian whose organization Peace Trees Vietnam works to remove land mines in Vietnam and replace them with new trees. What a woman! So now you can feel free to run to your local mall and enjoy these Cinnabons and cupcakes, knowing that they're not only delicious, but that they're produced by a company you can get behind.
Cinnabon has also been great enough to offer TWO of my readers a $20 gift certificate to use at their local Cinnabon! Be the office hero by bringing in warm Cinnabons to your next meeting or bring some cupcakes for the office party or your kid's birthday. All you have to do to enter is tell me which cupcake flavor you think will be your favorite.
You can earn four extra entries by 1) Following @soulparents on Twitter and 2) Tweeting about this giveaway, 3)Becoming a fan of Soul Parents on Facebook and 4) following Soul Parents through Google Friend Connect. Please leave a separate comment for each entry and a link if applicable or the entry will NOT count. This giveaway will end on Wednesday, February 24th at 11:59 PM EST. Winners will be notified via email and will have 48 hours to respond, or another winner may be chosen. Good luck!
*My trip was sponsored by Cinnabon, as were the two $20 gift certificates.