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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Last Time On Cupcake Wars . . .

This weeks episode revolved around the 100th episode of Ace of Cakes.

The taste challenge was to make a cupcake that not only would Ace of Cakes, cupcake-hating Duff Goldman like but one that would contain some of his favourite food stuffs: pulled pork, gummy bears, goat cheese, jalapeno jelly, bacon crunchy, and crunchy peanut butter.

It seemed as if for this particular challenge a lot of the contestants had the same idea in mind which reminded me of a previous episode that left me sick of seeing lemon cupcakes and fondant decorations.

Alyssa Magliato's (The Perfect Circle Cupcakery) assistant, Jeff , suggested a pulled pork and jalapeno jelly cupcake that I wouldn't have minded see become a reality but somewhat understandably Alyssa worried this was too far out of the box and wanted to play it safer. Her ultimate choice to make a dark chocolate cake peanut butter chocolate inside was "a little caramel surprise" yielded a very nice looking confection.

Poor Erica Tucker (Sweet E’s Bake Shop) was up next and this woman underwent a real struggle in the kitchen. After overcoming a heating issue while cooking her cupcakes she came to the challenges end and realize she'd forgotten to fill her cupcakes!

Michael Centimore (Cupcake Charlies) made a cinnamon velvet cupcake that contained a goat cheese and jalapeno jelly mousse center which he then iced with a maple butter-cream frosting that he topped with bacon. I must admit when I heard him working up his cupcake idea in the kitchen I wasn't sure how behind it I was but I think his ultimate choice was daring, creative, and inspired.

Taste and presentation brought back more of those familiar red velvet cupcakes and fondant toppers a Cupcake Wars viewer may be getting very used to seeing. However, because Ace of Cakes desserts are always draped in fondant this may be the week to go ahead and make that move.

Everything that Alyssa quite literally brought to the table was beautiful and sounded fantastic but she had me with her banana bomb; which was "a banana, cream cheese, pecan, caramel topped cupcake." Even hard to please Florian Bellanger (formerly) of Fauchon (a favourite of mine) was able to enjoy it. All of this made it a shock to me to see her go.

Mike's choice to utilize his cell phone camera in conjunction with an available edible printer to make Duff toppers was once again, a unique move. I. Loved it. The finished product was a chocolate cupcake filled with chocolate peanut butter ganache, iced with a peanut butter butter-cream with full peanut butter cup adorned with "Duff's mug."

When it came down to the final presentation challenge I was feeling totally on board with team Mike. He'd proven himself to be a creative baker who consistently brought something tasty to the table. But what really seemed unique was how incredibly thoughtful he was in all of his preparations. With every challenge he kept who he was baking for in mind and it always showed through. Apparently his final presentation just did not quite bridge the gap between thoughtful and event appropriate.

In all honesty this is where the show ended for me. Tuesday's winner, Jessica Cuff (The Coffee Shop), was the contestant I had pegged to win from the moment I saw her in the introductions. What bothers me most is that of the four episodes that have aired I have been able to pick the winner this way for the last three. In some cases, the winner was someone who totally deserved it. I just did not feel this was the reason this week. I felt a face that popular opinion considers pretty won with the added help of shameless, open flirting.