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I was definitely the minority in the Q&A conference call this afternoon with Cupcake Wars judge Candace Nelson, who is also the owner of the popular Sprinkles Cupcakes bakeries. Surrounded by cupcake bloggers and bakers, I was humbled to have the opportunity to ask a couple questions about ideas for baking more healthful cupcakes and getting the kids involved. I am all about indulgences in moderation, but why not sneak in some healthier ingredients for both you and your kids if you can?
The first question I had the chance to ask was “Do you have any ideas or recommendations to incorporate healthier ingredients (like vegetable purees) into cupcakes and getting children involved in the kitchen?”
Candace, who is also a mom, shared that the “challenge is keeping their hands out of the batter with the raw egg, but definitely get them involved.” Vegetable and fruit purees may substitute for oil and other ingredients and will also add a lot of moisture to the cupcakes, which is always a good thing. Chocolate is typically a better “masking” flavor, but I would imagine that citrus cupcakes may pair well with ingredients like spinach (maybe that’s just me, but I had a delicious orange spinach cookie once!) . You will need to do a little trial and error to get the perfect ratio if substituting the puree for another ingredient, but you can definitely incorporate healthful ingredients and get the children involved in the baking process!
She also answered many questions about the Cupcake Wars, her business and cupcakes in general, and in addition to cupcake bakeries, it seems like savory cupcakes are definitely a rising trend. She did not give a lot away about the new series, but we do know from the sneak peek last night that many of the secret ingredients in the Cupcake Wars are savory ingredients. I can’t wait to see how the contestants incorporate them and what may be surprisingly delicious. After hanging up the phone I’ve had cupcakes on the brain and I think that both savory and sweet cupcakes would be great bite-sized appetizers as well.
The second question I had the opportunity to ask in the time we had remaining was ” I am the minority here as a hobby baker and cook, but would love to tackle many of the “out of the box” recipes and flavor combinations. Seeing shows like the Cupcake Wars on Food Network inspires me to want to move away from just the typical flavors and decorations. What cookbooks and resources would you recommend aspiring gourmet bakers to use?”
To start Candance flat out stated she could spend a day listing all the great cookbooks, resources and pastry chefs that would be great resources and serve as inspiration, but go ahead and start with books by Martha Stewart, pastry chefs, and of course, visit some cupcake and food blogs! There were many cupcake bloggers on the conference call and I look forward to peeking at many of their blogs, and trying my hand at some fun and fabulous cupcakes! Now, I just keep to get a handy cupcake carrier
So be sure to tune in tomorrow night for the start of this fun and exciting new series on the Food Network and check out the trailer below.
Cupcake Wars Synopsis:
It’s cupcake vs. cupcake in Food Network’s tastiest competition yet! Each week, four of the country’s top cupcake bakers face off in three elimination challenges until only one decorator remains. The sweet prize: $10,000 and the opportunity to showcase their cupcakes at the winning gig.