It’s time again to launch British Baker’s annual National Cupcake Championships, in a bid to find the UK’s best professional cupcake maker for 2011. Will it be you?As the third annual National Cupcake Week – which takes place from 12-18 September – draws nearer, we are again giving you the chance to prove you are the cupcake king or queen of the UK. Today we kick off the highlight of every cupcaker’s calendar: the annual National Cupcake Championships.Cake specialists, craft bakeries, manufacturers and retailers across the UK are invited to enter the National Cupcake Championships, to find the nation’s most outstanding cupcake baker.Awards will be presented to winners in each of the following six categories; the baker with the best overall cupcake will be crowned National Cupcake Champion 2011 at a special event to be held at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London, 15 August.The cream of UK cake baking will be on the judging panel, including celebrated cake decorator and author Peggy Porschen, author and co-owner of Cox Cookies & Cakes, Eric Lanlard, and Tarek Malouf, founder of the UK’s top destination cupcake shop, The Hummingbird Bakery.All entries will be considered for the following categories:Best Decorated Cupcake of the Year – sponsored by RenshawThis is all about the topping and decoration. Cakes with an instant wow factor that encourage customers to buy with their eyes will win the prize. Best Presented Cupcake of the Year – sponsored by ChevlerFor bakers who take care to impress their customers with top notch presentation in-store or through delivered packaging. All packaging and presentation materials must be commercially viable and used within your business. Most Innovative Cupcake of the Year – sponsored by FDQWhether it’s unexpected flavour combinations, quirky surprises, high concepts or outstanding displays of skill that take cupcake making to a new level, this is the category that recognises the most creative bakers. Best Cupcakes Crafted for Multiple OutletsFor manufacturers, multiple retailers and craft bakery and coffee shop chains with 10+ outlets. This is the category that recognises the expertise that goes into making cupcakes at a sizeable volume whilst staying true to customer demands for great-tasting, good-looking, great value cupcakes.Free-from Cupcake of the YearIf your cake caters for wheat-, gluten- or dairy-free customers, or other special dietary requirements such as vegan or diabetes, then you will be eligible for this category.Best Tasting Cupcake of the Year – sponsored by PuratosAll cakes that make the above shortlists will be put forward for the ‘Best Tasting’ category and judged on 15 August. For full details visit www.nationalcupcakeweek.co.uk. Complete the application process online to enterIf you are unable to enter online, call Rachael Cannon on 01293 610433 or email [email protected] for an application form.Deadline for entries is 15 July.