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.
Pageantry was mixed with Middle Eastern tastes in this week’s Miss USA-themed Cupcake Wars episode. Paying homage to the Lebanese heritage of the reigning Miss USA, our contestants were faced with the challenge of incorporating Middle Eastern flavors into their cupcakes. Three of the four contestants chose pistachios as an ingredient, which at first seems like a great choice, but due to a time crunch, it’s not. Baking with pistachios is extremely difficult as their flavor is very delicate and tricky to emphasize. Both Autumn’s pistachio and orange marmalade cupcake and Teresa’s carrot cupcake blended with spiced pistachios had difficulty accenting the exotic flavors. Brady’s creation had all the makings of a great cupcake with a moist cake and creamy frosting, but he fell short bringing out the flavor of the most delicate ingredient, rosewater. Seda clearly had an advantage being familiar baking with rosewater and pistachios — her cupcake was perfect.