Ryan Scott Ottney
PDT Staff Writer
A mother-daughter cupcake duo with local ties was featured on Food Network’s competition series “Cupcake Wars” for the second time this week — this time taking home the sweet prize.
Alyssa Logan, of Dayton, and her mother Julie Blackburn, of Otway, together own ‘83 Sweets bakery in Dayton, and they were invited to appear on “Cupcake Wars” last summer.
According to the Food Network website, “each week on Cupcake Wars, four of the country’s top cupcake bakers face off in three elimination challenges until only one decorator remains. The sweet prize: $10,000 and the opportunity to showcase their cupcakes at the winning gig. Candace Nelson (owner of Sprinkles Cupcakes) and Florian Bellanger (chef and co-owner of online macaroon company MadMac) serve as permanent judges with a third rotating judge each week.”
The episode aired in July and their challenge was to promote the Tony Hawk Foundation Skate Park. Even though the judges enjoyed their carob cake with a sunflower butter frosting and a sweet avocado filling, the local team did not win. But that wasn’t the end for Blackburn and Logan. Just days before the episode aired, they were invited back to compete again.
“I had a feeling because although we worked really hard, we enjoyed ourselves too. The production crew was just so nice to us, and of course, we was nice to them. It was just, you know, when people like you. We were easy to get along with, so I told my daughter to get ready because they’ll probably call us back,” Blackburn said.
The featured guest on their return episode was pop singer Cody Simpson, and the challenge was to promote his new album.
“He’s just a doll, and awesome, and such a gentleman,” Blackburn said of the singer.
For the competition, Blackburn and Logan created an arrangement using native Australian ingredients. She said the judges were very complimentary of their cupcakes, but she believes it was their display they put them over the top.
“Being veterans of the show, we knew what to expect but that didn’t take away at all any of the nerves. Because it’s real. The timing is real. When you take your fingers off something at the last second, that is for real,” Blackburn said.
It all paid off this time, and mom and daughter won the $10,000 grand prize. The episode aired for the first time on Sunday and Blackburn and Logan hosted a watch party at Giovanni’s in Lucasville for all of their friends. None of them knew that they would win the show.
“We had to be so tight lipped, because we were under contract by the network,” Blackburn said.
The episode is expected to air again tonight on Food Network.
Blackburn said business at their mom-daughter bakery picked up immediately after the show aired in July, but they were out of town that week filming another episode and couldn’t tell anyone. Now having another appearance on the show, and having won, she expects business will be even brisker. Blackburn said they are looking for a new bakery location in Lucasville, to open in early 2013.
“We are still online and we still have delivery, and people really like that,” she said.
In the meantime, Blackburn and Logan will be selling cupcakes at a PTO-fundraiser at Northwest Elementary on Nov. 10. Blackburn hopes they will be called back to “Cupcake Wars” to participate in the Champion of Champions competition for a chance to win $50,000.
Ryan Scott Ottney can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 235, or at email@example.com.