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Nickel City Cupcake Challenge: Meet the competitors

blog by Ben Tsujimoto  • 

If you’re familiar with the Food Network show “Cupcake Wars,” you’re already well aware that these little mounds of dessert are serious business, fostering intense—often feisty—competition between three teams of cupcake artists. Tears, shouting and messy frosting aren’t rare—they’re the norm.

Feed Your Soul presents Buffalo’s version, the Nickel City Cupcake Challenge, which runs from 1:30 to 4 p.m. Sunday at Artisan Kitchens and Baths, 200 Amherst St., Buffalo. Doors open at 1 p.m. and tickets are $29.

Separated into two heats, the showdown will first test the best “signature cupcake” of the competitors—both the judges and the audience will be allowed to try and vote on these. In the second heat, however, host Bert Gambini will unveil a secret ingredient that the pastry chefs must include in their cupcake, which will be baked onsite under time limitations. A total score will be determined from both heats to declare the winner.

If the intensity is too much for viewers at any point, there will be Lake Effect Ice Cream to cool down with and snacks available from Sample restaurant. Adam Goetz knows snacks.

The three local competitors sound both friendly and proud. But don’t let their cheery voices fool you—once the timer begins to tick, they don’t plan on letting anything stand in the way of victory. Let’s hear friendly trash talk from the trio:

Justina Adams, owner of the Buffalo Cakery:


Why Justina thinks Buffalo Cakery will reign supreme: “We have the best ingredients and the most creative ideas,” Adams said proudly.
How she handles pressure: “We’ve prepared desserts for huge weddings and handled some really big orders—similar pressure situations,” she explains. “We’ll be goofing off and having fun along the way, too.”
Justina’s ‘dream’ secret ingredient: “I’d like to have something delicious and seasonal. Let’s say pumpkins or apples.”

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Genevieve Perryman, owner of the Cupcake Orchard:


Why Genevieve thinks Cupcake Orchard will reign supreme: “We have the best cupcakes and the most unique frosting,” Perryman claims.
How she handles pressure: “Pretty well, actually. I have a five-year-old and a three-year-old, and my assistant baker has a three-year-old and a two-year-old. Our superior mother skills help us manage a lot under pressure,” Perryman explains.
Genevieve’s ‘dream’ secret ingredient: “Zucchini. We have a really cool recipe for it, and it’s not really traditional.”

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Kelly Audette, owner of Fairy Cakes:


Why Kelly thinks Fairy Cakes will reign supreme: “Everyone who tries the cupcakes says, ‘These are just like my grandmother’s.’ That’s what the customers are looking for when they come in, and our ingredients are top-of-the-line,” Audette says.
How she handles pressure: “I giggle a lot,” Audette admits. “It’s better than cursing and freaking out, right? Just opening the business in the last year, I’ve handled a lot of stress and pressure. And if we’re going down, we’re going down laughing.”
Kelly’s ‘dream’ secret ingredient: “Fresh cranberries, definitely.”

As a bonus, we checked in with one of the judges to find out her expectations. Here’s a few questions with Alli Suriani, part of the Buffalo Eats duo, who will be joined by Brian Donaghy from Criollo Group and Mark Mistriner from Niagara Culinary Center.

What’s more important to you, taste or creativity?: “Personally, I will be paying more attention to taste,” Suriani says. “All of the best tasting cupcakes I’ve ever had have normally been pretty simple in appearance. In my opinion, I couldn’t care less what it looks like as long as it’s delicious.”
What’s your ‘dream’ cupcake?: “This might sound weird but, you know the Hostess chocolate cream-filled cupcakes? I would love a cream-cheese-filled red velvet cupcake. Maybe with Kit Kat pieces on top for an extra kick.”
Do you think the three teams will be able to deal with the pressure?: “While bakers work just as hard as chefs in restaurants do, I don’t know if they are used to being under such short and pressure-filled time constraints, so I am really interested to see how they handle it,” Suriani explains. “If the cupcakes don’t rise or bake correctly or are under/over cooked, there probably won’t be time for them to fix it—which will make for a very entertaining show!


(Header photo courtesy of Flickr / lamantin).

TAGGED: cupcake orchard, fairy cakes, feed your soul, genevieve perryman, justina adams, kelly audette, nickel city chef, nickel city cupcake challenge

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