|This article relies too much on references to primary sources. (October 2013)|
|Presented by||Justin Willman|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||9|
|No. of episodes||114 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||1 hour|
|Original network||Food Network|
|Original release||December 27, 2009 – December 28, 2013|
Cupcake Wars is an American reality competition series which premiered on December 27, 2009 and concluded on December 28, 2013 and aired on the cable television network Food Network. The cooking show is hosted by Justin Willman and based on creating unique and professional-style cupcakes.
The show is similar to successful Chopped cooking show aired on the same network, in that it starts with four contestants who are eliminated one-by-one in three rounds, with the winning team receiving $10,000 and the opportunity to be featured in an upcoming event. Each team consists of a chef and a sous-chef.
Each round takes about a third of the completed episode.
The first round lasts 45 minutes in competition and is focused around taste. Contestants must create a cupcake with unusual ingredients related to a theme – for example, a date-night theme might require contestants to incorporate various aphrodisiacs, such as oysters, basil, dark chocolate or champagne.
The second round lasts 75 minutes in competition and is based on both taste and presentation. Contestants must make three different types of cupcakes of their own choice with a unique presentation that relates to the theme.
The third and final round is the most challenging, with the remaining two teams having two hours to make 1,000 cupcakes. This round lasts 2 hours in competition. Each team must feature improved versions of all four cupcakes they made in the first two rounds, and then showcase them on an elaborately constructed display connected to that episode's theme. Each team receives the assistance of four baking assistants and one carpenter in completing the round. This is the only round that the judges did not taste the cupcakes at the judges table, instead the judges tastes the cupcakes at the display. Both the cupcakes and the display must relate to the theme and they must be new and improved.
The show invites cupcake bakers from all over the United States to compete. Each episode is centered on a theme or event; past themes include a Seaworld birthday party for an orca, a "match-making" aphrodisiac party, an Ace of Cakes 100th episode celebration, "Survival of the Fittest" theme, an autistic charity event, a golf tournament, and a film festival.
There are three judges in the series, with two of them serving as permanent judges:
- Candace Nelson, founder of Sprinkles Cupcakes, the world's first cupcake bakery (in episode 7 of season 7, Bobbie Lloyd, Chief Baking Officer of Magnolia Bakery filled in for Nelson)
- Florian Bellanger, executive French pastry chef
- The third, rotating judge, is a special guest and is associated with the event in which that episode's winning cupcakes are to be served.
Nelson and Bellanger usually give the bakers technical critiques on the methods, amounts, and ingredients they use, while the guest judge's critiques are usually much more subjective, based on whether or not they liked the cupcakes.
|Season||Episodes||Season Premiere||Season Finale|
|1||9||December 27, 2009||August 3, 2010|
|2||13||December 7, 2010||March 8, 2011|
|3||13||June 14, 2011||September 11, 2011|
|4||13||December 4, 2011||March 4, 2012|
|5||13||March 11, 2012||June 24, 2012|
|6||14||May 13, 2012||September 23, 2012|
|7||13||October 7, 2012||March 24, 2013|
|8||13||April 7, 2013||July 7, 2013|
|9||13||September 7, 2013||December 28, 2013|