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Food Network’s Cupcake Wars – My Reaction

Food Network’s Cupcake Wars started this week with two episodes.  Sunday’s was the George Lopez celebrity golf tournament episode and Tuesday was the SeaWorld episode.  I wasn’t able to catch Sunday’s episode, but I did see the SeaWorld episode… and let me tell you right off the bat, I was NOT impressed.

Granted this is a new series and they are still working out all the kinks… but COME ON Food Network!!!  To me, it seemed as though Cupcakes Wars was just like any other food competition show with cupcakes tossed in as the main attraction.  You could have substituted any novelty food in this show and it wouldn’t have made any difference.  There was nothing special about having cupcakes as the center piece of this show!  I expected spectacular challenges and even more spectacular cupcakes!  What we got were cupcakes that (no offense to any of the participants) could have been created in my home kitchen.

Now… I do understand that they had limited time to prep and bake… but as professional cupcake bakers, I just expected more.  More cupcake, more elaborate decorating, more pizazz in presentation.  For example, during the decorating challenge of the SeaWorld episode, the bakers (oh by the way, they called them cupcake makers, instead of what they are… bakers! That errked me!) needed to include an element of SeaWorld into their cupcakes.  Two of the bakers produced cupcakes with the whale from SeaWorld on top… but, they were very poorly made, elementary looking, and lacked in detail.  (I’m sorry I can’t produce pictures of these whales… I’ve searched the internet looking for pictures or video from last night’s episode, but can’t find any.  If they ever turn up, I’ll update this post.)  Now, if it were me…. I would have produced a cupcake with a whale that looked like this cupcake by New York Cupcakes in Bellevue, WA.

Another thing I didn’t really like with the show was the unreasonable expectations the bakers faced in regards to time.  The final challenge had them create 1000 cupcakes, build a display and put it all together in 2 hours.  Is that really even physically possible?? The time factor may be the biggest reason I was disappointed with the cupcakes… there wasn’t enough time to create those “WOW” cupcakes I was looking for.  *sigh*

I’m going to give the show a chance… I really am.  I will keep watching it and keep hoping that it improves.  Maybe by the time Season 2 rolls around (if there is a season 2) they’ll have gotten a clue and changed up the format.

From the Food Network Website:

It’s cupcake vs. cupcake in Food Network’s tastiest competition yet! Each week onCupcake Wars, four of the country’s top cupcake bakers face off in three elimination challenges until only one decorator remains. The sweet prize: $10,000 and the opportunity to showcase their cupcakes at the winning gig. Whether a special Ace of Cakes anniversary celebration, a star-studded magazine party or an A-list celebrity golf tournament, these Cupcakes Wars really heat up. Candace Nelson (owner of Sprinkles Cupcakes) and Florian Bellanger (chef and co-owner of online macaroon company MadMac) serve as permanent judges with a third rotating judge each week, and Justin Willman hosts.

June 13 9:00pm ET/PT  (Season Premiere) “George and Ann Lopez Charity Golf Tournament

Sweet! (WINNER!) (Orlando, FL)

Sugar Cupcakery (Milford, OH)

Southern Girls Desserts (Los Angeles, CA)

Becker’s Bakery (Manhattan Beach, CA)

June 15 9:00pm ET/PT  “SeaWorld Birthday Bash

Dollhouse Bake Shoppe (WINNER!) (Santa Monica, CA)

Milk (Los Angeles, CA)

Daddy Cakes (Topeka, KS)

Sweet Bakery & Cafe (Ellicot City, MD)

June 22 at 9:00pm ET/PT “Match Making Party”

Chef Chloe Coscarelli (Los Angeles, CA)

Crushcakes Cupcakery (Santa Barbara, CA)

Cupcake Nouveau (Coral Gables, FL)

Cups (La Jolla, CA)

June 29th, 9:00pm ET/PT “Ace of Cakes 100th Episode Celebration”

The Coffee Shop (Gilbert, AZ)

Cupcake Charlies (Mashpee, MA)

The Perfect Circle Cupcakery (Orange, CA)

Sweet E’s Bake Shop (Los Angeles, CA)

July 6th, 9:00pm ET/PT “Survival of the Fittest”

Lulu’s Cupcakes (Scotsdale, AZ)

Whodidly Cupcakes (Santa Barbara, CA)

Cupcakes & Co (Burbank, CA)

Smallcakes (Overland Park, KS)

July 20th, 9:00pm ET/PT “Cupcakes for a Cause”

Suite 106 Cupcakery (Rancho Cucamonga, CA)

Kara’s Cupcakes (San Francisco, CA)

Ivey Cake (Franklin, TN)

For Heavens Cakes (Thousand Oaks, CA)

July 27th, 9:00 pm ET/PT “Film Festival Face-Off”

Sweet Arleen’s (Westlake Village, CA)

Red Velvet Stefanie (Los Angeles, CA)

Bee Sweet Bakery Cupcakes (New Orleans, LA)

Mr. Cupcakes (Clifton, NJ)

August 3rd, 9:00pn ET/PT “Classic Cupcake Challenge”

Molly’s Cupcakes (Chicago, IL)

La Provence Patisserie Cafe (Beverly Hills, CA)

Cupcakes (Scotsdale, AZ)

Jazzy Cakes (Sherman Oaks, CA)


Sunday 13th of October 2013

I enjoy cupcake wars with all the unusual flavors. But I really hate really really hate almost to the point where I can't watch the show is these women with their long hair hanging down In front of their faces. I'm watching one now la bridal bash With a redhead that has a blue headband it's really grossing me out

Betsy Eves

Sunday 13th of October 2013

Good point, Gwen! Put on a hat or get a hair tie!


Wednesday 14th of March 2012

This is the "worst" show of its genre on the foodnetwork. The presenter is "super nasty" and so are the judges that NEVER change (Why not? What makes them so invisible?) I feel really sorry for the participants. They put everything they have out there. But they are faced with "super super NASTY" judging.

Compare this with a much tougher show "chopped". Judges change and are very tough, but participants interact at a table and, often, they congratulate each other or even (very rarely) get offered the "measurable" present of 10000. NEVER on cupcake wars!

I have noticed that sometimes some "losers" congratulate the "winners" but are totally ignored by them. How "disgusting"!

The judges on Cupcake Wars are "EXTREMELY nasty" and ESPECIALLY the presenter (Does he know anything about baking? I don't think so!.) There don't display an ounce of "human-ness", It's all about the "winner and the loser". What a pity! How "pathetic" and "depressing"!

It is designed that way because of the judges and the even more "pompously negative" presenter!


Thursday 17th of June 2010

I don't think I agree, only because I thought the show did pose a lot of challenges. Maybe I'm just too newb of a baker, but creating a cupcake flavor with seaweed and sea salt seems difficult to me. Plus I had no idea they got knocked out in rounds, which to me was also pretty competition based. The judging was way harsher then the other cake competition shows I've seen so titling the show "wars" seems very appropriate. Time is a factor in every food competition show, which is much of the point. If you had a day to create a cupcake display they would probably range pretty close in comparison. Didn't think both sets of whales looked bad, but again that's the time constraint I thought they were under. Good review though, and glad others are watching from a baker perspective!


Thursday 17th of June 2010

This program hasn't aired yet in the uk but when it does I'll be watching. Then I'll be able to give my opinion for what it's worth lol. I don't see how anyone can make,decorate and present 1000 cupcakes without alot of help and only 1 oven.

Sabrina Argyle

Wednesday 16th of June 2010

To me the perfect cupcake is one that is perfect cake and frosting wise. I'm not one for fireworks or elaborate displays on cupcakes. Simple,clean & classic in look and a KNOCK YOU OUT flavor!That was what I was hoping to see on Cupcake Wars. While I will agree 1k cupcakes in 2hrs seems more towards the Cake challenge they do on Food Network, what we don't see is how many helpers or ovens they also have lurking in places we're not accessible to. I am a lone baker, just me, no helpers or aids in any way. I'd love to go on here and give it all I've got. Knowing my luck it would be the day they wanted fireworks and crazy decorating, not flavor ;-)