Two nights ago, we met several of our pals downtown at Bliss Bakery / Aroma’s Coffeehouse to watch Autumn (owner, proprietor & all around amazing person) & Kacie (baker extradonnaire) compete on Cupcake Wars, a reality program on the Food Network.
It was a fun-filled, armpit-to-armpit crowd downtown. (Well, maybe not THAT crowded, but pretty close.) Several large TVs and a huge screen with projector aided us all in watching our favorite hometown bakers work their magic.
Having never watched the show before, I didn’t really know what to expect, other than from some snippets I’d heard here & there. So I knew Miss USA was going to be a guest judge and that the contest was geared in that general direction. Apparently our reigning Miss USA is from Middle Eastern descent, so the first round was a challenge to make a cupcake that included at least 3 of a variety of ingredients hailing from that region: honey, cloves, orange, pistachios, rosewater, etc. (Let’s be honest – I wasn’t intent on memorizing all those ingredients. I was focused on more important matters, like how beautiful my two gals looked!) The four challengers and their assistants took off, having a limited amount of time to create a fabulous cupcake.
Autumn & Kacie owned that challenge! Their cupcake was a pistachio cupcake with a honey cream cheese frosting and topped with sugared orange zest and a sliver of pistachio brittle. Some of the others succeeded as well, though I’d have to say Autumn’s was on top. One of the contestants was eliminated, and it wasn’t Autumn!
2nd Round: create 3 cupcakes with the “classic Americana” or “pageant” theme. Autumn & Kacie came up with a lemonade cupcake filled with lemon curd & topped with a super cute straw, a chocolate beer cupcake topped with salted peanut butter frosting and caramel corn reminiscent of American’s favorite pastime (baseball, for those of you who are sports-challenged like myself), and an apple pie cupcake topped with a dried apple slice and a cheddar cheese crisp to represent how it is served in the south (the cheese creates a yummy chewiness that’s perfection!).
Unfortunately, our girls didn’t pass the 2nd round. (There are 3 rounds.) Autumn and Kacie exhibited amazing grace under pressure, whereas I’m sure I would have been alternately sweating, swearing and crying! Watching the show with a crowd of supporters was definitely the way to go – lots of cheering and booing, in all the appropriate places.
They sold boxes of the 4 cupcakes they made on the show for $13 after the viewing, which was a perfect treat for those of us who had watched. The cupcakes were all amazing, but my favorite was definitely the pistachio one from the first round. I hope they make that a regular menu item!