Tag Archives: Food network

Sifting Through Cupcake Wars

23 Jan

The fabulous Food Network show Cupcake Wars has started again and is as wonderful as last season if not better.

Just the other week, the episode culminated in what is officially my favorite final cupcake arrangement. Winners, Sift Cupcake & Dessert Bar created a rustic display perfect for a fall wedding or one set in wine country (where their business resides). I stumbled upon a quick interview of theirs with Cupcakes Take the Cake giving some insight to one of my favorite shows and desserts. I’m hoping they won’t mind me reposting their interview here, it’s too good to pass up!

Photo Credit: Sift Cupcake & Dessert

How did you decide to appear on Cupcake Wars? Did you create a video application?

We created three audition videos! We never heard back, so we would just make a new one and keep calling the producers to see if they watched it. By the end, I’m sure they only said yes to make us stop calling. 😉

What was the filming/taping like?

It was incredibly intense. The crew on the set was amazing…I don’t know how they are even standing at the end of the show…we were only still standing because we won $10,000!! Everyone worked so hard, it was a very looooong process. I remember begging the producer to let me change my shoes…my feet were killing me! Corey was a natural, she helped keep us grounded and calm (or so it seemed).

What was it like behind-the-scenes?

It’s so sureal actually being on the set that you’ve only watched on TV. It’s also a little intimidating being in someone else’s kitchen and having four or five cameras running after your every move. Many times we were like, “Woah! Watch out for the cameraman!” as we’re running with a hot pan.

How different were your experiences than what we saw on TV?

It’s really amazing how long you film for versus how LITTLE of it actually makes it in the 30-minute show. We tried giving Justin some of the wine we were using…that didn’t make the cut. Ha!

Were you given guidance by the Food Network? Were there things you wanted to do but were unable to?

Take my shoes off, sit down, and enjoy a glass of wine. They didn’t allow that…

How did you choose your winning cupcakes?

We decided on our Samoa and Pink Champagne, which is one of our best sellers (and perfect for weddings!). Then we decided to bring in a little wine country with our Zinger (Zinfandel Ginger). We could have used our Ooh La La (top-selling red velvet), but we just felt that flavor was a little played out.

What was the competition like?

Competition was tough. Lucy & Leo’s gave us a run for our money. And at the end we really had no idea which way the judges would go. We had two completely different wedding looks and themes. We called them on the air date to congratulate them on a great show. They were good competition!

How has winning affected your business, if at all?

Wow. We imagined business would increase…we just had no idea by how much. Let’s just say that we took in extra money in sales that week…and paid for it in overtime! Ha!

In all seriousness, our Sift family has worked so hard, they are simply amazing and we couldn’t be more grateful. They must love what they do because they keep sticking around.

What are you planning on doing with your winnings?

We are launching a Wine Country Cupcake Truck! We’ll roam the valley and vineyards and pass cupcakes to the wine-weary…or wine-happy. Follow us on Twitter @Sifted.

Is there anything else you want to share with our readers?

We just received our first Food Network order for Guy Fieri’s birthday cupcakes! We’re doing sushi, burgers, bbq, pizza, and Jack Daniels-themed cupcakes. We’ll send pics when they’re done

Be sure to check out Cupcakes Take the Cake for other little cupcake gems like this!

Cupcakes Deserving of an Emmy

1 Aug

Photo Credit: NY Daily News

It’s not just Food Network having cupcake bakers battle it out for a grand prize. Now, Duncan Hines has joined the war.

The Cupcake Cafe in New York City hosted the competition where ten amateur bakers fought for the chance to serve their cupcakes at a pre-Emmy gala.  So, what was the winning flavor?

Red velvet cupcake with chocolate ganache filling and vanilla bean frosting, topped off with a fresh raspberry. Wow, we’d love to try these.

“I’ve never baked many cupcakes before, but in my head, I wanted a cupcake that had the glamour for the Emmy Awards,” winner Katie Rousonelos said.

Looks like her glamorous cake landed her a trip for two to LA for the award show as well as the chance to serve her cupcakes to more than a few celebrities.

Nashville Goes to War

29 Jul

Don’t get your panties in a wad, Nashville is obviously not going to war. However, one Nashville cupcakery, The Painted Cupcake, is hoping to battle it out in Food Network’s Cupcake Wars.

We’ve already fallen in love with their cupcakes, and this video just made us love them even more. Tracey Davenport, owner of the bakery, managed to open the shop in just three weeks! That’s right, she signed the lease to a picturesque location in historic Nashville and received rave reviews from the moment doors opened for business, all in three weeks.

If you only watched the beginning of their video then you missed the best part. At the end, Tracy informs us The Painted Cupcake plans snag the $10,000 prize from Cupcake Wars and give all of it to Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital.

There’s only one thing we love more than a good dessert and that’s some philanthropic action. Personally, we think seeing The Painted Cupcake take it all at Cupcake Wars would be thrilling.

Photo Credit: The Painted Cupcake

Food Network Looks for Fresh Bakers

11 Jul

Food Network

Lately, I’ve been watching Food Network‘s show Cupcake Wars. It’s a good show and a great way to get your name out there as an up-and-coming cupcake baker. Plus, I’ve seen some pretty inspiring (and not-so-inspring, like tobacco) flavored cupcakes.

As the first season comes to a close, it’s time to find the stars for next season and it could be you! Food Network is holding a national casting call for next season’s bakers. Here’s what you need to know:


We are casting bakers (store owners, caterers, pastry chefs, new bakers…)

NATIONWIDE, so get in touch with us ASAP to apply for the show.

If you think you and your cupcakes have what it takes to compete against the best bakers in the country, then we want to hear from YOU! The winner of the show will have their cupcakes featured at a HOLLYWOOD EVENT and receive WORLDWIDE PRESS!  The winner of each episode also wins $10,000!!!

We’re looking for great bakers with AMAZING personalities in every city.

To be considered for the show, please e-mail us your name, phone number, photo (and website if available!) to: CupcakeWarsCasting@gmail.com

Be sure to tell us what makes you the perfect candidate for “Cupcake Wars”!

Perfecting a Basic Yellow Cake

9 Jul

My first attempt at the yellow cake was an epic fail. I found a pretty general recipe that had five stars and basically followed it to a tee. The end result was a very dense, very dry yellow cupcake. I’m wondering how it had five stars, but I guess we’ll never know. The bright side here was that the flavor was good.

A yellow cake can’t be that hard!

I’m a Food Network junkie and have always heard cooks whine about how detailed baking is. I guess I never really understood what they were complaining about until this dry cupcake entered my life. After a little research I realized the actual importance of the way you beat the butter and sugar mixture as well as the flour, how sifting can change a cake and a secret ingredient that did miracles.

Thanks to Google, my second attempt was a complete success.

Yellow Cupcakes (makes one dozen)

  • 1/2 cup of unsalted butter
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 package vanilla pudding
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups of sifted flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup of milk

As a beginner to this whole baking thing, I like to get all my ingredients set out before I begin baking. It just makes the whole experience less stressful. Plus, the butter and eggs need to be room temperature so you’ve got to be prepared! This is one of those little details in baking that can make a big difference. Who knew.

Start by creaming the butter in an electric mixer. Once it looks nice and fluffy go ahead and add your sugar. Okay, now this is important, take the time to beat this mixture now because once you add the dry ingredients you want to beat it as little as possible. Add the eggs one by one as well as the vanilla and beat well.

Now, add the flour, baking powder, pudding and salt mixture. Like I said, my first attempt was super dry so I found that many people made a moister cake with a package of pudding. This I had to try! To my surprise it worked very well!

Important: Add 1/3 of the dry ingredients followed by 1/2 of the milk and so on and so on. Also, be sure you scrape the sides and bottom of your bowl, you don’t want flour stuck to the sides when you think you’re finished. Pour batter into cupcake paper-lined muffin tins filling them 3/4 full.

Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes. My current oven cooks super hot so be sure you get to know your oven.

I had a little extra batter and naively added more to a few of the tins. This resulted in a slight overflow and some edges to be a little overcooked. Don’t do this! If you have extra batter take the time and make the few extra cupcakes!

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

  • 1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter room temperature
  • 1/4 cup sifted unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk (substituting one tablespoon of whipping cream makes for a fluffier frosting)

Beat the shortening, butter and vanilla together. Add sifted sugar and cocoa one cup at a time. You should now have a dry mixture, so scrape the sides and add the milk as you continue to beat. As listed in the recipe, adding whipping cream makes for a fluffier frosting which makes it just that much better!

(Typically I’ll be posting pictures of the good, the bad and the ugly, but the first failure and success weren’t documented.)