Two local bakers recently made Atlanta proud by winning “Cupcake Wars,” a competitive baking show on Food Network.
Candi Pittman and Lorre Jacobs-Daniel met while working together at Blue Eyed Daisy Bakeshop, located in southwest Fulton county’s Serenbe community. Neither have formal training, both come from a line of home bakers and both say they try to recreate heirloom or vintage recipes.
Once these bakers saw a casting call for “Cupcake Wars” on a baking blog, they decided to go for it. They received permission from the Blue Eyed Daisy’s owners to apply and produced an audition tape (see below). Once selected, Pittman and Jacobs-Daniel paid their own travel expenses and headed to California to compete.
Due to confidentiality agreements designed to protect the “magic” of the show, neither could provide much of a behind-the-scenes perspective. I hoped to find out if contestants know the theme prior to their arrival on the set. If you watch the show, you’ll see that somehow they arrive with items perfectly suited to the theme of the challenge. Jacobs-Daniel could only say that they bring as many items with them to the show as they can, though they have to get them approved first. Pittman tells me that they have an enormous pantry available.
Whatever the process, it worked for Pittman and Jacobs-Daniel, who won the $10,000 prize with their banana oatmeal cupcake with peanut butter frosting, spiced espresso cupcake with cinnamon frosting, orange-scented cupcake with cream cheese frosting and a chocolate fudge cupcake with chocolate-beer frosting. They have yet to receive the cash, which can take up to a year to arrive, but will split the winnings.
Jacobs-Daniel will use her share to help fund her new business. She is no longer baking for Blue Eyed Daisy, having ventured out on her own with Southern Cosmopolitan Baking Co. Her new bakery’s sales are currently web-based only. She continues to make her vintage specialty cupcakes and additional items, such as her signature sweet potato cheesecake with a pecan crust.
Pittman still shares her talents with Blue Eyed Daisy as its head baker. She says that normally weekdays are slower and sales average about 200 cupcakes Mondays through Thursdays. Immediately following the show last week, however, the shop sold 400 cupcakes on Monday and Tuesday alone.
Pittman graciously shared the recipe for their winning Banana Oatmeal cupcake from the show.
Banana Oatmeal Cupcake filled with Caramelized Bananas topped with Peanut Butter Swiss Meringue Frosting and sprinkled with Peanut Butter Granola
Courtesy of Candice Pittman, Blue Eyed Daisy Bakeshop
Banana Oatmeal Cupcake
Mix dry ingredients in mixing bowl, whisk to combine. Add eggs, bananas, milk and vanilla. Mix well to combine. Scoop into liners, about 3/4 full. Makes approximately 12-15 cupcakes. Bake at 325 for 18-24 minutes or until toothpick tests done.
Peanut butter frosting (revised for more Peanut Butter flavor)
In double boiler, whisk egg whites and sugar until opaque and mixture is no longer gritty, about 10 minutes. In stand mixer, beat egg mixture with whisk attachment until stiff peaks form. With flat beater attachment on medium speed, drop in cubed butter. Finish by mixing in peanut butter.
In small saucepan, melt butter and add brown sugar over medium heat. Cook for two minutes. Add salt and whisk cream into sugar mixture, one tablespoon at a time. Remove from heat and add bananas. Carefully toss bananas in caramel sauce. Set aside.
Peanut butter granola
Heat butter, peanut butter and corn syrup in small saucepan until boiling. Add oats stir to coat well. Pour onto small cookie sheet. Spread out evenly. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes tossing and turning every five minutes. Remove and cool completely.
Congrats to these two bakers!
–by Jenny Turknett, Food and More blog