North Texas Daily

UNT alumnus judges teen cupcake challenge

UNT alumnus judges teen cupcake challenge

March 18
20:50 2013

Melissa Wylie / Senior Staff Writer

Sprinkles, icing and fondant acted as weapons of warfare during the Denton North Branch Library’s teen cupcake battle.

The springtime-themed competition took place on Saturday and was modeled after Food Network’s TV show Cupcake Wars, public services librarian Juli Gonzalez said.

Eight teams presented an assortment of cupcakes to a three-judge panel in front of an audience of family and friends.

Van Nguyen, UNT alumnus and owner of NV Cupcakes, appeared on Cupcake Wars in October and was asked to provide insight and act as a judge, Gonzalez said.

“I want to be able to see the vision in their head on a cupcake,” Nguyen said. “I just want them to have fun and use their imagination.”

Judges Rebecca Ivey and Kerol Harrod both work for the Denton Public Library and said choosing a winner was a challenge.

Harrod said the cupcakes were judged on creativity, taste, decor and relation to the theme.

“It came down to how they tasted,” he said.

Sixteen-year-old Ryan High School student Laura Davis took first place for her Reese’s Pieces-filled vanilla cupcake and received a baking book, baking supplies and a gift certificate to NV Cupcakes.

“My aunt is actually a pastry chef and she helped me find the recipe,” Davis said.

Davis said the competition was nerve-wracking but fun, and she enjoyed seeing the cupcakes made by the other teams.

A peanut butter and jelly inspired cupcake received second place. Pineapple carrot cake and strawberry surprise tied for third.

The cupcake competition was inspired by a previous event at the library where teens decorated plain cookies, Gonzalez said.

An informational meeting held on March 6 provided participants with the contest guidelines.

Nguyen also shared her experience representing NV Cupcakes with her sister Ngoc Nguyen on Cupcake Wars.

“We’ve only been open a few years, and to be contacted by Food Network was amazing,” Van Nguyen said.

The one-week filming process was “fun and very, very stressful,” she said.

Although she and her sister were eliminated from Food Network’s TV show in the first round, Van Nguyen described what makes a winning cupcake.

“Fresh fruits and fresh ingredients are always better,” Nguyen said. “A lot of cupcakes are inspired by real food we eat on a regular basis.”

Nguyen also suggested using an ice cream scoop to determine the right amount of batter for each cupcake and baking with a variety of ingredients.

“Just experiment,” she said. “It might sound nasty, but it might turn out really good.”

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