Now we all love a good cupcake, or even a good cupcake making session where you cover the kitchen in flour, icing and every other ingredient that was meant to go into the mixing bowl. This month has been particularly special for me as I broke my baking cherry and made my first ever cake (well brownie) and so I’m no longer a baking virgin.
To prepare myself for my baking challenge I decided to do some research and watch far too many shows on cooking channels in order to inspire me. While Man Vs. Food taught me the importance of portion control and Hairy Bakers taught me how to grow a spectacular beard, there’s one show which left a huge impression on me, and that’s Cupcake Wars on the Food Network.
This American show is easily the most intense cooking competition ever (yes, even more than British Bake-Off) and the best cake show I’ve seen (and believe me, I’ve seen a lot of them). Each episode sees three teams compete for a prize, sometimes the contestants own businesses, sometimes they’re just incredible cake makers, but it’s always awesome to watch.
Here are a just a few reasons why you should watch Cupcake Wars.
Ryan Seacrest must have been busy when this show was pitched because the host is not only a Seacrest wannabe in how he talks, but also he looks. The hair is perfect, the teeth whiter than a T-shirt in a Daz commercial and it’s all topped off with some amazing knitted jumpers.
The host is called Justin Willman and although he may look like a bit Seacrest, don’t be fooled, he doesn’t have Seacrest’s friendly tone towards contestants. He bark orders at them instead, taking all the warmth of what you imagine from a cake show away and replacing it with a man who could do with some anger management classes. Picture Alan Sugar in a cupcake-orientated show and you’ve basically got the idea of how this guy talks. It’s amazing and a little bit scary.
Over on UK judging shows, we tend to have experts on our panel. From Mary Berry on Bake Off, to Greg Wallace and his buttery biscuit base, we like to know that our judges know what they’re talking about (apart from Splash…to this day no one can understand why Jo Brand is there but she’s awesome so who cares).
However, on this show only two judges are experts in the field of cake making and give detailed analysis. The third judge never needs to be there. For instance, in the Christmas episode (which I watched in September…), the prize was a place on a Christmas parade, so the third judge was one of the organisers…he literally said a single sentence in the entire episode.
You’d think that for a show about cakes that the music would be fairly happy or upbeat, after all baking cakes is meant to be fun isn’t it? But of course it’s not on Cupcake Wars, and so all the joy must be sucked out immediately.
To reflect this, the music is intense, often orchestral and always a little bit scary. Basically the “war” element of this show is mainly created through its soundtrack.
Of course the show would be nothing without its contestants. It’s safe to say that they’re always incredibly talented and some of their creations baffle me because it’s not only creative but also truly incredible to look at, and it must taste of unicorns and rainbows.
While most of the contestants tend to be hard-working cake makers, in every episode there’s always the “one who takes it far too seriously”. They tend to be the most annoying contestant who bosses around any helpers she’s given, bitches about the competition and permanently has a smug look on their face. Every viewer probably hates them basically.
Annoyingly in every episode I’ve seen, the smug faced contestant tends to win.
And of course…the cakes
Of course the main reason you’d watch this show is for the cakes.
In every cookery show the early rounds are where you get to laugh at badly made dishes (dishes which we know we could never make, but still haha!). This stage doesn’t exist in Cupcake Wars, and from the first stage the cakes are beautiful and often decorated to perfection in minute detail. Basically don’t watch this show if you’re hungry.
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