Cupcake Wars: Bring on the Flavor

by in Shows, December 22nd, 2010

Victoria Donnelly's cute and flavor-packed cupcakes wowed Candace and her fellow Cupcake Wars judges.

Cupcake Wars judge Candace Nelson is the founder and pastry chef of Sprinkles Cupcakes, the world’s first cupcake bakery. She joins us on the FN Dish each week to recap all the sweet details of the competition from her seat at the judges’ table. Here’s what she had to say about last night’s episode, LA Kings.

It’s always difficult for us when a great baker has to go home too early. In round one, Michelle from Auntie Em’s presented us with a delicious olive oil, sweet potato cupcake topped with orange cream cheese frosting and garnished with a beautiful pine nut-and-rosemary brittle. But the orange in the frosting overwhelmed the subtle challenge flavors to the point where Florian and I couldn’t taste them. Though there were technical issues with Victoria’s wasabi cupcake, such as the unevenly baked cake, the primary task of the flavor round is to incorporate two ingredients in a compelling way. And, according to these rules, Michelle had to go, but it hurt us to see her leave so soon!

Michelle Risucci's sweet potato cupcake with pine nut-and-rosemary brittle was delicious, but the "overwhelming" orange frosting was her downfall.

Round two, Victoria got her baking act together and impressed us with her fresh mint flavor and how she incorporated the spirit of hockey into each cupcake flavor—not just on a superficial decorative level. Kasha went all out with “sugar” work, though she uses isomalt, a sugar substitute, which Florian finds to be a poor, inedible substitute for the real thing. But Brandon, for all his confidence, gave us a plate of cupcakes that are essentially decorated with food coloring and store-bought sprinkles. Florian and I were left wondering whether he knew round two was 50-percent based on decoration? Clearly, Brandon had to go.

Round three brought us two fantastic displays, but ultimately Victoria captured the win with her eye-catching display and clever, interactive element of fun! Air hockey, anyone??

Whip up a batch of Victoria’s winning Mint Chocolate Chip Cupcakes and check out for more about Cupcake Wars, plus dozens of our best cupcake recipes.

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