RE:Framed: Comradeship, of the Cupcake Wars Variety

Cupcake Wars is a sweet genius that’s one of my favorite T.V. shows.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, it’s a cupcake competition on Food Network.  The show is hosted by Justin William and is judged by Candace Nelson, owner of Sprinkle’s Cupcakes, Florian Bellanger, executive French Pastry Chef.

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Contestants must send audition videos to enter to compete in the Cupcake Arena.  A 3rd judge judge is a guest rotated through each episode, and is associated with the event where the winning cupcakes will be served.  Each team consists of a cupcake chef, and an assistant sous chef.  Winners receive 10,000 dollars and trip to the event where the winning cupcakes are displayed.  

Usually, contestants are top-notch bakers who either own a bakery, or sell cupcakes in other forms.  (Online bakeries, catering, etc) Once chosen, 4 bakers bake in 3 rounds to win.  The first round is taste.  According to the theme of that day’s competition, bakers have to pick from wild ingredients to include in their competition.  They have 45 minutes to bake 3 different types of cupcakes.  After, the judges pick and eliminate one baker.  The 2nd round depends on both taste and design.  This time, the bakers don’t have to work from a specific set of ingredients, but they must coordinate the cupcakes relating to the event where the cupcakes will be displayed.   This time, they have 75 minutes.  In the 3rd round, the top 2 bakers must bake a display of 1,000 cupcakes in 2 hours.  Each team receives 4 additional baking assistants and 1 carpenter to create the display.  The cupcakes in this round must be improved versions of 3 of the cupcakes in the first 2 rounds.  

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I love this show.  Why?  Because just like any other cooking competition, you get the sassy or annoying competitors, critical judges, and the amazing innovation of sweets.  Seeing bakers scramble to create wonderful cupcakes with crazy environments and pressures is so entertaining.

Teamwork is so critical in this show.  Beforehand, the chef and sous-chef have already established a great relationship.  But in the kitchen, sometimes, things can go wrong and they must rely on each other to put out the best product.  In war, comrades rely on each other for their lives.  In the book, All Quiet on the Western Front, main character Paul Baumer risks his life in a bombardment to save a new recruit from getting his head blasted off by flying bombs. The novel is set in the World War 1 era, centering the plot around a group of close comrades.  Comradeship is so important, even in a cupcake war.  In Cupcake Wars, contestants have to rely on their teammates to make a cupcake.  1 person bakes the cake, another works on frosting.  In the final round, the chef and sous chef have to work with the assistant bakers to bake cupcakes, decorate cupcakes, prep the decorations, and decorate the cupcakes.  In comradeship, there is a bond between the army mates that can’t be described.  With the cupcake chef and the sous chef, they work simultaneously and sometimes, they know what their partner is going to do next without asking. 

Movie Poster of All Quiet on the Western Front
Movie Poster of All Quiet on the Western Front

At the end of the day, the team is not upset that they did not win.  Although it is a little disappointing, they are always amazed at how their team worked together to create the cupcakes.  I mean, I can’t even bake 1 set of cupcakes in 45 minutes let alone 3.  And the team relies on each other for the cupcake ideas.  One person can’t generate 6 stunning flavors of cupcakes that will work, it’s impossible.  Comradeship works through the pressure and the heat of the competition.  Comeradeship works through the life and death situation of the war.Cupcake-Wars-Event-016

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