Okay, so I’ve learned so much about making cupcakes from Cupcake Wars after only a few episodes!!! So I’m sharing my knowledge with everyone. For when you make cupcakes. Or want to be a crazy person.
1-For best results, be blonde and a little insane and a little controlling. For some reason, a lot of little blondes seem to make it to the big time! They have their cute little cupcake shops and their cute little assistants and this evil glint in their twitchy little eyes when people don’t do what they want. For some reason, this works for them! So bleach your hair and I expect the desire to make cupcakes will come naturally!
2-On Cupcake Wars, you get to bring an assistant. This is a huge deal. Your assistant is going to help your creative juices flow, help you fix mistakes, help you create great cupcakes. But your assistant is there to help YOU. Please, oh please, DO NOT BRING YOUR MOM. YOU are the one who is competing in the competition so it is YOU who is making all of the decisions. Do not bring an assistant who is going to create a power struggle or any kind of bad tension. There isn’t time for it. Bring a high level employee. Bring someone who is going to take orders from you without question. Bring someone you can yell at. Someone who isn’t going to bring up “that time you yelled at me on Cupcake Wars” constantly for the rest of your life. These petty arguments make it harder for you to work, and frankly, they’re uncomfortable for me to watch.
3-For the love of the sweet baby flying spaghetti monster, don’t make nasty cupcakes. There IS indeed such a thing as your cupcakes being too simple. YOU’RE ON CUPCAKE WARS! If you’re on this show, the judges don’t want to see you make a chocolate peanut butter cupcake in the first round! It’ll be good (or you’ll be delusional and think you make a great chocolate peanut butter cupcake and the judges will actually hate it) but it won’t set you appart and it’s very unlikely that it’ll win you the war. The first round is about creating something that should be–go figure–challenging! Yes a salmon cupcake with goat cheese frosting SOUNDS disgusting but the judges will EAT THAT SHIT UP! As long as it tastes good. If you want to make a stuffed, rubbed, and scented cupcake with peanut brittle, carmel corn, and a cherry candy on top, you better make it taste like heaven in a cupcake or your ass is grass. The first round is really about fucking up the least. Very few people make worthwhile cupcakes out of surprise ingredients. Which brings me to my next point…
4-Don’t fold under the pressure because if you do…you’ll forget ingredients! Seriously, don’t forget ingredients. DON’T FORGET TO PUT PUMPKIN IN YOUR PUMPKIN CUPCAKES! And if you do forget, if you fuck up, you don’t need to talk about it. Hopefully you realized you forgot baking soda in time to re-make your batter and hope to god they’re finished in time, but having a conversation about what you’re going to do is completely ridiculous. You’re going to go back to the mixer, you’re going to mash up those ingredients, you’re going to put them in the oven. Talk about how you’re an idiot later. I know that panicked feeling when you’re afraid you left the stove on and even though you’re about to fall asleep, you have to get up and check. JUST TO MAKE SURE. Okay, maybe I only do that because I’m crazy, but if you’re on Cupcake Wars and you have a nagging feeling you forgot something, double check. TRIPLE CHECK. Take the two minutes to look for the egg shells to make sure those are in. It may seem like two minutes you don’t have, but when you have some perfect cupcakes coming out of the oven, you’ll be so glad you did.
5-1,000 cupcakes. Your eventual goal in this game is to make 1,000 cupcakes. That is a damn lot of cupcakes. Remember this. ALWAYS remember this. In the second round (judged on taste and design) some people like to hand pipe perfect little hearts out of chocolate and perfectly stick it the perfectly piped buttercream on their perfectly filled cupcakes. I do not think some of these people realize they’re going to have to make 250 perfectly piped hearts. On the other end of this, making a chocolate, vanilla, and red velvet cupcake with only a cute little candy on top for decoration is not going to cut it. Sure they look cute and uniform, but they’re boring. The judges will think they’re boring. Go one step further to make your cupcakes a little more memorable, but be sure to rein yourself in.
6-Speaking of red velvet…I don’t know what the most popular cupcake flavor is in America, but if I had to make a guess, I would guess red velvet with cream cheese icing. SERIOUSLY. Every episode at LEAST 1, usually 2, bakers make a red velvet cupcake. They make it because it’s a crowd pleaser, because their customers love it, because they make THE BEST RED VELVET CUPCAKE ANYONE HAS EVER TASTED EVER! Well, I have news for you–you DON’T make the best red velvet cupcakes ever and your amazing red velvet cupcakes is not going to guarantee you the win. IF you have to make red velvet, perhaps try a twist! For example, one contestant added red licorice to her red velvet and the judges loved it! Lots of red foods taste good with chocolate. LOTS. Go nuts, and you’re welcome.
7- In the final round of craziness, you have to make a really huge display. REALLY huge. Also, really awesome. To help you make these displays, Cupcake Wars supplies some really huge and awesome bearded flanneled men. It’s my favorite part of the show. These men aren’t miracle workers, though they may seem like it. If you get to the final round, BE READY! Don’t give them anything that is completely unrealistic. Also, I’ve noticed this trend of contestants going out to check on their carpenters and I don’t like it. It wastes time, plain and simple. Stay in your kitchen, do your job, and let the flannel man do his.
8-Last pro tip-CATER TO THE CLIENT! The judge can bash you all to hell but never mistake the fact that you are making these cupcakes and this display for a client, not the judges. Worry about what he/she says. Listen to your client. Create something that you think will match their vision. If they love you and they love your cupcakes, and think your final product is exactly what they were looking for, it won’t matter that your cupcakes aren’t as fancy and well liked as your opponents.
So what have we learned today? Being on Cupcake Wars is really very simple!
Also, I watch this show and think about this show way too much!
Watch it with me!
Food Network-New episodes Tuesdays at 9:00/8:00pm central
(btw, the BITCHIN’ photo deal up top is c/o @geeksoap and her way better than mine computer skills)
I was recently asked by a non-geek friend why I sometimes wear what I like to call the “death eye.” I tried to explain to them but-meh. No dice. So I shall thrill the internet with the not so thrilling take instead! The first time I ever used liquid eyeliner, I was 14. I bought it at Target when I was using my 8th grade graduation as an excuse to spend money of cosmetics I didn’t need and probably wouldn’t ever use. Among them some very glittery dusty stuff and waterproof mascara a “friend” convinced me I needed(in case I cried at graduation!), despite the fact that the only tears likely to be rolling down these cheeks were tears of laughter when I saw every other girl in church crying (church-I went to a Catholic grade school and when I graduated, I was anything but a compliantly pure Catholic girl).
So I got home from Target in a small tizzy, practically shaking with the excitement of playing with my eye-liner. [side-bar:While I’m not a make up person, mostly because I refuse to put it on and take it off every day, I do sometimes get VERY VERY bored and do wacky things with the make up. Once, I spent an hour creating and applying a beautiful and pristine geisha face. Because it was 2am and I had nothing else to do…] I took the plastic off, unscrewed the cap, and pulled out the thin brush covered in inky black goodness. I opened my eye, and slowly and carefully moved it along my bottom lash line. It was perfect! Black! Rich! Totally awesome! And then…I blinked.
You see, you’re not SUPPOSED to put liquid eye liner on your lower lash line because… When I blinked and opened my eye, I COULDN’T SEE! And what my other eye saw in the mirror was not unlike wide doe-eyed stare found on many an anime character. My entire eyeball was black. My eyes began to compulsively blink and water and the whole bit. Half watery eye/half real black tears rolled down my cheek and I began trying (and failing) to flush my eyes with water. 15 minutes later I was laying in my bed, washcloth over my eye, moaning, and the eyeliner was in the trash. I WASN’T GONNA FALL FOR THAT SHIT AGAIN!
Cut to: I’m going to say I was 16. I’m probably wrong. It was probably more like 17. Anyway, whatever age I was, I started reading Sandman for the first time. The first book is kind of hard to get through if you’re a lil’ bit of a comic n00b (like I was) and by the end I was almost ready to give up, but then–Death. Probably my favorite character of all time and the reason I kept reading. Because by the end of book 1, I wasn’t thrilled with Morpheus as a person, and I’m a character gal. The less I care about the character, the less I care about the story, the more I lose interest all together. But with those brief scenes, Death captured my imagination and made me hang on long enough to fall in love with each and every character(including Morpheus). I love everything about Sandman, but Death is my own personal -I don’t know what to call her but she means a lot to me.
In fact, Death meant so much to me and was so influential, I started toying with the idea of rockin’ the whole swirly eye thing. Simple, classic, easy to get on, easy to get off. I wouldn’t do it all the time, just those days I needed a little oomf of comfort and smidge of the happys. First, I tried it with my regular black eye-liner. No dice. The pencil smudged very easily and seamed to turn from clean line darkener of the under eye bags in about an hour. This left me with one other option-THE LIQUID EYELINER! duh-dun-DUH.
In the name of geek obsession I drove to Sephora, talked to the salespeople in my nice I’m-talking-to-sales-people voice and got eyeliner recommendations. AND-BEST OF ALL-tips on how to do what I wanted to do! Turns out the trick is in the steady hand and patience. And a q-tip. Don’t forget the q-tip! I went home with my eyeliner, this time prepared, and spent about a half an hour practicing over and over until I was ready to go out into the world! And now I am. Most days. =)
And all of that was a fancy way of saying I love Death and I like to make with the fancy eyeliner sometimes. Any questions?
Well, tonight I was watching Cupcake Wars with Lesley (@geeksoap). Or, at least we started watching. Food Network had other plans-namely, they wanted to air a repeat! NOOOO! Not just any repeat, but the PILOT repeat. This show had one cocky bastard who got kicked off in the first round, one normal sassy black woman who might have won if she didn’t listen to her partner, and two CRAZY blondes (one tall, one tiny and organic) who ended up going to the last round. Lesley and I half-heartedly tweeted about it but it was the most annoying re-run on the planet.
So now, it’s 1 o’clock in the morning and Food Network just re-ran the episode AGAIN. And I watched it AGAIN. I’ve now seen the episode three times and a lot of stuff annoys me about the people on this show but I have one REALLY huge and lingering question–
What the FUCK is a scented cupcake?
I literally have NO idea. I believe during the first viewing someone tweeted something along the lines of “I do not think that means what you think it means.” Pretty much. Are the cupcake wrappers scented? Are they misting the cake with body splash? Throwing some essential oils in the batter? I. Don’t. Know. And when I don’t know something, I Google it. Google doesn’t help! GOOGLE DIDN’T TELL ME ANYTHING! I’ve been using Google practically since Google existed and it has NEVER failed me this way! There’s recipes, there’s things scented like cupcake, but no explanation on what it MEANS!
Frustrated by Google, I half-heartedly took the conversation to a Facebook friend (Ha! Friend. Right?).
Katie- Okay. WTF is a SCENTED cupcake? REALLY! I want to know.
Katie’s Friend- it’s like a lemon cupcake that smells like vanilla instead
Katie- …are you making that up?
Katie’s Friend- yeah
Failure. And taunting me with the promise of knowledge I’m desperate for. Too mean, Katie’s friend. TOO MEAN!
And all of this anectodal mess leads back to my original point-WHAT IS A SCENTED CUPCAKE!?