Terry Collins can't put any crowns on her cupcakes just yet, but she established her place in the royal court of pastries.
For the second time in as many years, the local dessert maker has finished in the upper ranks of the Cupcake Crown competition hosted by the celebrations.com website, a site dedicated to party planning, entertaining and kitchen pizzazz.
In 2012 she finished in the Top 20 and this year was 21st out of more than 130 competitors mostly from Canada and the U.S.
Some of the competitors in the online event were food bloggers, some were bakers or cake decorators by trade, some were hobbyists who just love the cupcake. Collins is a hybrid of those. She has her own home-based business - Cupcakery by TLC - but it is part time and in between the obligations of her primary full-time job and family duties. She has also written some blogs about the art of cupcakes, but not on a regular basis.
"In the perfect world I would open my own cupcake shop," she said. "I had been talking with [other local businesses about supplying a line of cupcakes] but it was just too much of a commitment."
The online competition required participants to submit a photo of the finished cupcake product, the recipe, decorating instructions, and a bit about the dessert artist.
Collins named her submission "Tutu Cute" because of the ballet theme for her creations. She described them as "vanilla cupcakes with vanilla and strawberry buttercream...mmmmmm...decorated with fondant ballerina shoes, crowns and of course tutus."
Many of the other competitors offered basic cupcake styles, while others conjured up complex confections.
"Some look like you can't even eat them. It was all about the presentation, not edibility," she said. Hers, she said, were built to be eaten, with a smile.
"I love making people happy with my cupcakes, and being creative. Anything can be done. It's like my obsession, my challenge," she said. "I grew up with aunts and my mom being crafters of every type. We never sat still. I started doing this for my family, my friends, their kids, then I started getting people asking me to do them for their families and special occasions, and it just grew."
To make contact, she has a "Cupcakery By TLC ~ Prince George" page on Facebook and her phone number is 250-561-2453.
To see 2013's winning cupcakes in the international online competition, log on to www.celebrations.com and click the Cupcake Crown link.