Recently, cupcakes have become wildly popular for the sweet tooth everywhere. From cupcake bakeries to cupcake trucks, these delicious little pastries are popping up where you'd least expect them. These aren't your momma's cupcakes, either; the unique flavors - like red velvet or maple brown sugar with bacon - will have your mouth watering for more. It is no surprise, then, that the Food Network would create a cupcake competition show that pits bakers against one another to see who can create the best cupcakes. Cupcake Wars is that show, and it has become wildly popular among the Food Network audience.
Cupcake Wars is like any other competition show. Four cupcake bakers come on the show, each with an assistant and special equipment and ingredients in tow, and they compete in three rounds to win exposure at a specific event as well as $10,000. Each show has the bakers competing to have their cupcakes showcased at a different event, and the events are as varied as the pastries themselves. Sometimes it is for an awards show, sometimes it's for a sporting event, and sometimes it is for a party. Whatever the event, the bakers are charged with making a unique set of cupcakes and a display to hold them. In the first round, the bakers are given a list of strange ingredients that has to do with the theme - and event - of the day and they need to create three cupcakes - one for each judge - showcasing a number of those ingredients. In the first round, they are judged on taste. In the second round, they must create three unique cupcakes for each judge, and they are also judged on presentation. In the third round, they must bake 1,000 cupcakes (with three different varieties) and put them all on a display they design themselves, which is built by a resident carpenter. In this round, they are judged on taste, creativity, and design.
Judges and Host
Justin Willman, who is known for his silly puns throughout the show, hosts the show. There are also three judges, two of whom are the same in every show and the third is a rotating judge that is related in some way to the event for which the bakers are competing. The two permanent judges are Florian Bellanger and Candace Nelson. Bellanger is a world-renowned French pastry chef and currently the owner and co-founder of MadMac Macarons, which is a French cookie and pastry company. Nelson opened the world's first cupcake bakery in 2005 called Sprinkles Cupcakes.
The bakers are as unique as the cupcakes they make. The bakers come from all over the United States. Some have unique cupcake bakeries such as a gluten free bakery or a vegan bakery. Others are caterers looking to open a shop of their own, or well-established cupcake bakers in their areas. Whatever their reason for being there, all of the contestants are working against the clock to produce memorable cupcakes and win money and exposure.
The cupcakes themselves always look delicious and delectable. Sometimes, the bakers try to strut their stuff by developing a savory cupcake. Other times, the cakes are sweet and sour. Almost every time, though, the bakers pull from what they know to create the best cakes possible. It is fascinating to watch the bakers who come from a specialty shop try to stick to their values. When the judges are looking for a particular type of cupcake, making it gluten free or vegan can be a difficult task, but it can be done. Whether specialty or standard, may the best cupcake win!