Bel Air’s Flavor Cupcakery wins The Food Network’s Cupcake Wars

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Bel Air’s Flavor Cupcakery won The Food Network’s Cupcake Wars Sunday night, battling another Maryland cupcake bakery to take the top prize: $10,000 and a visit to the New York City Ballet’s performance of The Nutcracker.

Flavor Cupcakery’s Jason Hisley and Shelley Stannard took on three other cupcake bakers to go three rounds tackling the challenge of creating cupcake flavors and designs that fit The Nutcracker theme.

Dressed in their store’s signature blue and brown colors, Jason and Shelley survived the first round with a chocolate cupcake filled with orange oil and chocolate ganache and a Chinese orange tea frosting. All three judges raved about their cupcake. A New York City ballerina who joined in the judging to keep with the Nutcracker theme, commented that the smoothness of Jason’s ganache reminded her of a ballerina.

For round two, they had to make three different cupcakes with the Nutcracker theme and were judged on both taste and presentation. Jason and Shelley made a chococlate cherry wassail cupcake, a peppermint  maccaroon cupcake garnished with coconut and a five spice cupcake. This time, the judges were a little tougher on them, offering a couple criticisms and telling Jason he took too many risks with flavors. But judge Candace Nelson told Jason, ” I think your buttercreams are the bomb.”

Both Flavor Cupcakery and the other Maryland team, Flavors in Bloom, survived the first two elimination rounds to make it to round three where they had to make 1,000 cupcakes and designed a display to present them at opening night of the New York City Ballet’s performance of The Nutcracker. Jason and Shelley topped their display with spinning versions of Clara and The Nutcracker while their challengers presented theirs on tiered shelves resembling the show’s magically-growing tree. While the judges appreciated the warmth of Cupcakes in Bloom’s tree theme, the were dazzled by Jason and Shelley’s version. “It literally is a dance,” judge Nelson told them. “You gave us an actual ballet.”

Flavor Cupcakery’s staff gathered with friends and supporters at the Dark Horse Saloon in downtown Bel Air to watch the show Sunday.