The mere fact that there's a popular reality television show that pits cupcake bakers against one another is indication that sugary treats are serious business in which taste, creativity and aesthetics matter.
A bakery in Friendswood is hoping to rise to the occasion when it's featured on the Food Network's Cupcake Wars, set to air Saturday at 7 p.m. Rise Cupcakes, an almost two-year-old venture helmed by Friendswood native Brittany Todd, was picked for the themed, hour-long competition that tests the speed and inventiveness of chefs. The winner is featured in a big hoopla of a fancy event — with plenty of publicity.
In the third round, entrants are asked to complete 1,000 cupcakes in two hours.
"It all happened so fast," Todd tells CultureMap. "Encouraged by numerous clients, we sent an audition tape in the beginning of May. Two weeks later we received a phone call. Less than one month after that we were filming here and then in Los Angeles over the summer."
"It was a lot of hard work, very long hours — filming Cupcake Wars was one of those experiences you'll never forget."
The bakery was chosen because of her small batch, specialty approach to crafting flavors, Todd says. Everything is from scratch, the focus is on locally sourced ingredients, there are no fake additives in the recipes and many of her creations are seasonal. Among Rise Cupcakes' signature goodies are Mexican churro cupcakes; chocolate sundae cupcakes filled with caramel, chocolate ganache and topped with cherries; and blueberry cheesecake cupcakes. Custom cakes and cookies are also in demand.
"It was a lot of hard work, very long hours — filming Cupcake Wars was one of those experiences you'll never forget," she adds. "I met so many cool bakers from all over the country. Outside of the competition, we were able to share many ideas to help each other out in business. I definitely made good friends out of this ordeal."
Todd opened the doors to Rise Cupcakes in 2011 after returning home from London, where she worked as an investment banker for UBS. With her French international relations degree from Austin College in Sherman, the 28-year-old was intending to stay overseas to climb the ladder of the financial institution. But sitting behind a desk wasn't for this friendly foodie.
"There was a need in Friendswood," she explains. "If locals here wanted cupcakes, they had to drive 35 minutes into Houston. I wanted to create a small town bakery but with a big city sophisticated feel."
Todd is hosting a Cupcake Wars viewing party for loyal supporters at 7:45 p.m. Saturday at the bakery. Guests can partake in the excitement in a pop-up outdoor theater while enjoying mini-cupcakes.