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, Valentine’s Day.
I love Valentine’s Day. A holiday devoted to love, wine, flowers and CHOCOLATE seems just too good to be true. And what could be sweeter than a Valentine’s Day episode of Cupcake Wars devoted to just those themes, plus a little cheese? Add Fabio as guest judge and you’ve got the perfect, romantic setting for our contestants to bake their hearts out!
And so they did. Both Marilyn and Bill impressed me from the start. Marilyn with her complex yet delicate cupcake of white wine, pineapple, ginger, goat cheese and sugared almonds… and Bill with his simple and yummy chocolate-Pinot Noir with goat cheese buttercream. But Krista ran into trouble in round one. She had trepidation about her cupcake because she doesn’t drink and was unfamiliar with the challenge ingredients, but what sent her home was a technical baking issue: The cake was missing body and literally sunk under the weight of the frosting.
In round two, Nicole also ran into baking issues with two out of three of her cupcakes. You could see on her face that she was not proud of her plate and it’s a shame. Bill impressed us yet again with simple perfection and Marilyn with her complex flavors — both sailed through to the final round. In round three, Marilyn made a “chocolate box” display complete with stenciled hearts and a display of wine glasses and cheese — a romantic and feminine display perfect for Valentine’s Day. Bill made a very clean and lovely display with a wine cork and shelves made of hearts, however the wine theme took center stage over the romance. It was a tight race but ultimately Marilyn nailed the theme in addition to baking exceptional cupcakes all day.
Bake up a batch of Marilyn’s winning Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Mascarpone Filling and Zinfandel Buttercream and check out FoodNetwork.com for more about Cupcake Wars, plus dozens of our best cupcake recipes.