So after all that build-up, how did Hialeah's own 2 Girls and a Cupcake fare on last night's episode of Cupcake Wars? We know, we know - the State of the Union was on the same time. Luckily, we shirked our civic responsibilities (that's what DVRs are for) to catch the live broadcast of the sugary competition. Here's how it went down.
The Challenge: Every episode of Cupcake Wars centers around a particular high-profile event for which the contenders have to design cupcakes. The overall winner gets $10,000 and the opportunity to display his or her contest-created cupcakes at the event. This time around, it was the rim-tastic L.A. Auto Show.
The Other Contestants: First, we had self-taught Kory Davidson from Sugar Daddy Cupcakes, a high-traffic mall store in Glendale, Arizona. Then, there was Kim Thurman, owner of a cupcake delivery company in Valencia, California called Bake You Happy. (Fun fact: her baking assistant was also named Kim.) Rounding out the West Coast competitiors was Glenn Sturgis, an entertainment-industry layoff casualty who then started his own company, Glenn the Baker.
And, finally, our girls from Miami: Evelyn Dieppa, working here as the "master baker," with business partner Lorena Castro as her assistant. "I'm very, very inspired by my Cuban heritage," Evelyn explained in the opening intro segment, "so our cupcakes are very, very Hispanic with a lot of flavor and Cuban flair." Yes, this was accompanied by the requisite generic TV salsa music playing in the background.
The First Challenge: Riffing off the L.A. auto thing, the theme for the first, shortest challenge was "road trip." Contestants were given 45 minutes to make a cupcake incorporating rest-stop fare. Some of the ingredients were mildly acceptable -- licorice, yogurt-covered pretzels. Others were downright disgusting -- beef jerky, nacho cheese, hot dogs.
2 Girls decided to go with the Cuban theme again, using Cuban coffee (looked like our beloved Bustelo) to make a cinnamon-coffee cupcake, filled with strawberry/red licorice filling, topped with coffee buttercream and yogurt-covered pretzels.
The Judging: Super-francais judge Florian Bellanger liked this, we think -- we're not entirely sure what he said but Evelyn smiled, so that was good. Judge Candace Nelson used a bunch of painful driving metaphors to come down in the middle of the fence. We didn't hear from the guest judge, someone from the L.A. Auto Show; not sure why.
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The Second Round: This is when things got serious -- each of the remaining three baking teams were to present a set of three cupcakes themed to the L.A. Auto show. Half the judging was based on taste, and half on presentation.
Would this be an issue for the 2 Girls? "We don't know anything about cars. I mean, I don't even know how to put gas," Dieppa said in a between-scene interview. "But, I'm not worried because my cupcakes are the best. I mean, that's what my mom says!"
As she mentioned in a previous interview here on Short Order, 2 Girls use a master cupcake recipe and riff on it to come up with various flavors. To focus more time on decorating, they decided to use the same base, with different fillings and frosting.
This meant a guava cupcake with cream cheese frosting, a dulce de leche cupcake with dulce de leche filling and dulce de leche buttercream, and a cookies and cream cupcake with cookies and cream filling. For decorations, they created cute car-themed fondant toppings: hot rod flames, purple glittered fuzzy dice, and in a particularly Miami touch, white wall tires.
The Judging: Unfortunately, the same-batter-for-each-cupcake backfired. Candace Nelson said, "I felt like I was eating the same cake each time!" Oops.
Meanwhile, Bellanger was more frank. Though he gave them points for using dulce de leche, he said, "Dulce de leche is super sweet, so you have to find a way of balancing it." (It sounded more like "ba-LONS-ing eet!") "Sorry, but I don't like it." Ouch.
Finally, the L.A. Auto show guy said the decorations were probably a little too kitschy for car enthusiasts... but dammit, they're cupcakes, which are kitschy by nature!
Unfortunately, at the end of this round, it was curtains for our girls from Miami, but Dieppa bowed out with grace. "Cupcake Wars is the challenge of a lifetime," she said. "This takes the cupcake!"
The Final Results: Do we care? No, seriously, the California native competitors did their home state proud. Kim of Bake You Happy made these awesome chrome-colored cupcakes, and displayed them on a po-mo acrylic light-up structure that balanced on a series of shiny rims. Glenn the Baker, meanwhile, went for a more retro, Route 66 theme, with cupcakes decorates like surfboard-toting Woodies arranged in a filling station-type display.
Kim took the grand cupcake thanks to her futuristic sensibility --- woo, shiny!
Meanwhile, 2 Girls are gonna keep on keeping on here in Hialeah. Their new limited edition T-shirts sold out yesterday, and they plan to open their space up for retail sales on weekends. Follow them on Twitter and Facebook for updates.