Gourmet Foods Students Launch Cupcake Wars

Kitchen competes against kitchen for show-stopping confections.


Sherrie Soos

A Herculean feat: Soos’ third period students collaborated with Guginno’s STEM students.

Rehan Chaudhry, Staff Writer

This February, Lee’s Gourmet Foods class, taught by FACS teacher Sherrie Soos, held its annual Cupcake Wars. Kitchens competed to win two awards per class, and over fifty students won awards.

Three years ago, Soos and her students started the Cupcake Wars after deciding that Cake Wars would be more exciting if the cakes themselves were tiny.

The Cupcake Wars competition begins with six teams of competitors, or “Kitchens,” designing the taste and theme of their cupcake creations.

“You can do whatever theme your heart desires,” Soos said.

Students in Soos’ Gourmet Foods classes compete in Cupcake Wars by class period. Each class period has the opportunity to compete in two cupcake categories: taste and creativity. This year, the judges panel included teachers from multiple departments.

The competition lasts over the course of three class periods. In that time, students plan out their ideas, bake their tasty treats, and finally decorate their creations. They are also tasked with planning how their cupcakes will be presented to the judges.

Some student contestants had the opportunity to work with the students in Technology and Engineering teacher Beth Gugino’s STEM classes to create presentation components such as cake stands and display cases. These STEM students would come to Soos’ classroom to help the competitors build their cupcake displays.

In Soos’ fifth period class, the prize for “Most Creative Cupcake” was awarded to Kitchen Team Two which included seniors Ashley Lacy, Meriem Idris, Kennedi Roland, Kim Pham, Eldana Derese, and Amanda Cohen. Seniors Gray Sansom, Alexandra Vargas, John Stanis, and Lesly Acosta of Kitchen Team One won the award for “Best Tasting Cupcake.”

“Most Creative” winners in Kitchen Two drew their inspiration from a the classic Starbucks Caramel Frappuccino.

“We were trying to recreate a caramel frap from Starbucks. We made our own chocolate batter, and we soaked it with caramel frap drink. And then we created a whipped cream frosting just like the whipped cream on top and drizzled it with caramel. We made a little coffee cup out of fondant and put it on top of the cupcake with a little cookie straw,” Lacy said.

Lacy explained that the task was not difficult. “It was just difficult [for my group] to agree on everything,” Lacy said.

Idris was happy with her group’s victory. “We fought well and worked good as a team. I’m really proud of how our cupcakes turned out,” Idris said.

In first period, sophomores Diego Cuestas and Benny Mei and seniors Srey Pouk, Mariam Sabir, and Kawaun Wanzer won “Best Tasting Cupcakes” with their delicious S’mores and Oreo flavored cupcakes. A decorative Oreo cookie topped off each cupcake.

Cuestas and his kitchen did not experience conflict deciding on a flavor while preparing for Cupcake Wars. “Not really. I know, on the top of my head, that I’m competitive like that,” Cuestas said.

In third period, seniors Vanessa Hindle, Biruk Solomon, Tuji Abera, Franccesca Paniagua Suxe, and Isis Pavon Bernal won the “Best Tasting” category with a strawberry flavor confection.

“The cupcake was dark chocolate with strawberry mousse in the middle, strawberry buttercream on top, and I made strawberry macarons at home. And then there was a strawberry puree on top, and there were strawberries also on top,” Hindle said.

With students embracing their creativity and serving up some delicious cupcakes, Soos was pleased by this years Cupcake Wars.

“To see the effort kids put into pull off their idea makes my heart so happy,” Soos said.

Clearly, this year’s Cupcake Wars was a great success. Congratulations to all the winners on your hard work, creativity, and collaboration. If you are interested in letting your inner baker out in future Cupcake Wars, make sure to sign up for the Gourmet Foods class next year.

Winning cupcakes in creative: designed by Biruk Solomon, Tuji Abera, Vanessa Villarroel-Bustamante, Franccesca Paniagua Suxe, and Isis Pavon Bernal.