Cupcake Wars: Cupcake Champions 2012 continued May 27 on the Food Network with the third of four battles leading up to the $50,000 grand finale. The latest installment of the sweet baking competition featured four returning champs as they went head to head for continued life in the competition and an awesome reward.
Bakers included in the night's action were Kevin Vanderaa from Minneapolis' Cupcake, Victoria Donnelly of Cakeology, Michelle Spell from Ava's Cupcakes, and Bill Jones of Jones Bros. Cupcakes.
Host Justin Willman welcomed the hopefuls by revealing that the evening's winner would take their display to a party celebrating the popular show Glee. But getting the win wasn't going to be an easy task with school lunchroom favorites including fish sticks, sloppy joes, tater tots, tacos, macaroni and cheese, and pizza populating the ingredient table. They were told to choose a single ingredient as inspiration. As if the task wasn't difficult enough, they were also told that they'd be required to present their cupcakes to judges Candace Nelson and Florian Bellanger and guest judge and Glee co-creator Brad Falchuk in song.
Post baking, Michelle was up first to present. The judges liked her performance but were generally unimpressed by her actual cupcake; Candace deemed it not up to snuff. Bill's mac and cheese-inspired creation earned applause from Florian, and Brad gave him a Rachel Berry gold star. Victoria's lack of tomato and cilantro inside her taco-inspired cupcake earned criticism from Candace, and Florian said it didn't work. Kevin, who also created a taco-themed cupcake, earned praise from Florian for its quality and impressed Candace because it really tasted like a taco.
After deliberations, Victoria was eliminated first. The other three were off to work again, this time with 75 minutes to create three over-the-top, Glee-inspired creations. The bakers started preparations, but Justin added a twist: They were also required to make a slushie-inspired fourth cupcake.
Michelle presented her creations first. Florian thought she did "a good job" and called her blackberry cupcake "divine." Candace appreciated her decorations but didn't care for the "artificial" lemon flavor of her slushie cupcake. Bill followed with his four cupcakes. Candace liked his "glittery, shimmery" decorations but didn't care for his chocolate cupcake. Florian thought he should've done more as a returning champ. Finally, Kevin presented. Florian called his decorations "beautiful" but didn't enjoy his slushie cupcake, likening it to "cherry flavored cough syrup." Candace found the quality of his cupcakes inconsistent.
Moments later, Bill was dismissed, leaving Kevin and Michelle the last two standing. They faced the task of creating a 1,000 cupcake display for the Glee party. In addition to the usual carpenters and baking assistants, each contestant was also given four show choir members to accompany their displays with song and dance.
Michelle presented first, noting that she's wanted to represent various elements of Glee. She explained that she'd toned down the lemon in her cherry lemonade cupcake, per the judges' criticism. Kevin showed off his high school-themed display and explained the modifications he'd made to his cupcakes to please Candace, Florian, and Brad. Candace found Michelle display to be "really fun and colorful" and praised her "consistency" throughout the day. Brad appreciated "the sparkle" of the display but didn't think it was "bold" enough. Of Kevin's display, Brad was impressed by his fandom.
When all was said and done, Kevin Vanderaa was declared the winner of the third week of Cupcake Wars: Cupcake Champions 2012. Tune in June 3 to find out which contestant earns the last berth in the finale.