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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 this week’s episode.
I can’t think of anything more exotic than the flavors of India. It’s not every day that those flavors make their way into a classic American dessert, the cupcake. With such inspired ingredients as mango chutney, coriander and curry, Florian and my taste buds were doing a Bollywood dance all day long.
Lily’s cupcake in round one was memorable: a delicious pound cake filled with mango chutney topped with coriander and a condensed-milk whipped cream. Kevin had a clever idea to give a traditional American carrot cake an Indian makeover with curry, golden raisins and chickpeas, but missed the execution texturally. While Sheryl incorporated all 12 ingredients into her cupcake, the final result was a thick, savory stew in the middle of a very sweet cupcake. She was ambitious, but missed the mark when her 12 ingredients failed to create an appetizing balance. The biggest takeaway from round one is that the cupcake has to be delicious.
Round two brought out a medley of Bollywood flavors and Indian themes with one exception: Darlene’s plate. With marzipan and glazed fruits, this cupcake felt like an homage to Europe instead of India. Lily and Kevin sailed through to round three where Kevin created a clean and elegant display, but his deities were confusing. Lily used the iconic elephant to honor the film festival, and with her clever display and amazing cupcakes, Lily headed home with $10,000.