Cupcake Wars debuted on The Food Network on June 13, 2010. Thousands of cupcakes later, the show continues to inspire home bakers while providing a venue for cupcake creators to compete against each other. Some of the bakers own bakeries while others run online bakeries or work out of their home filling cupcake and baked goods orders for their local area. The competition always is tough and there is only one winner each week.
Each week Cupcake Wars adheres to the same general format. A theme is presented and four bakers begin a set of challenges. Each baker can bring a partner to help with the creation of original, amazing cupcakes. The show competition is divided into three elimination rounds. All four bakers compete in the first, which lasts 45 minutes and is a Taste Challenge based upon one cupcake. One contestant is eliminated and sent home after this round.
The second round allows the three remaining bakers seventy-five minutes to create three cupcakes that are judged on both taste and presentation. At the end of the second round, another competitor is eliminated.
The final two bakers must face off in a final winner-take-all challenge. The final challenge requires the bakers to make 1,000 cupcakes plus create a concept design for a display stand for the cupcakes. The bakers collaborate with a carpenter who takes their design and builds it while the cupcake madness is underway in the kitchens. In the final round, the bakers have an additional four assistants to help make the 1,000 cupcakes in two hours.
Winning Cupcake Wars
The final two bakers must present their display and 1,000 cupcakes to a panel of three judges. Their fate is in the judges' hands. The winner receives $10,000 and the opportunity to present their display presentation and cupcakes at a VIP event. The event and theme change each week. Some of the past events include new movie release parties, special events at museums, and special events for television shows such as Glee and Ace of Cakes.
The show is hosted by Justin Willman and features two regular judges. The first judge is Candace Nelson, founder of Sprinkles Cupcakes-the world's first cupcake bakery, according to The Food Network. She opened Sprinkles in 2005 and has served cupcakes to celebrities including Oprah Winfrey, Barbra Streisand and Ryan Seacrest. You can find Sprinkles' cupcake mixes at Williams-Sonoma stores. Candace Nelson also has been seen on The Best Thing I Ever Ate and Cupcake Throwdown with Chef Bobby Flay.
Florian Bellanger is Cupcake Wars second regular judge. He is the chef and co-owner of MadMac, an online bakery specializing in French macaroons and Madeleines. He founded the online company in 2006, but had already enjoyed success as the executive pastry chef for Fauchon's in the U.S. as well as working with the internationally renowned Pastry Chef Pierre Herme at the Paris Fauchon's.
The third judge each week on Cupcake Wars varies. This judge is a guest judge, who typically is connected to the VIP event that inspires that week's theme. Guest judges have included actor/comedian George Lopez, celebrity baker Duff Goldman and country singer Jennette McCurdy.
Cupcake Wars is an hour long show filmed in Los Angeles, California.