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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Yumi’s Bakery Potential Contender on Cupcake Wars

Can cupcakes be truly worth $10,000? Grinnell’s own Yumi’s Bakery and Deli might be if they are selected to compete on the Food Network’s popular show “Cupcake Wars.”

Yumi’s owner Heidi Rockwell has been asked to audition twice. If selected as a competitor on the show, she and her assistant Micheal Rittle will battle three other teams for a grand prize of $10,000 and the chance to display Yumi’s cupcakes at a major event.

Yummy cupcakes at Yumi's. Photograph contributed.

Contestants on “Cupcake Wars” must survive three rounds based on a theme chosen for each episode. In the first round, teams are judged on the taste of a single cupcake, which must include a special ingredient pertinent to the theme—past ingredients have included basil, hazelnuts and oysters. In the second round, contestants are judged on presentation and taste and must bake three different cupcakes. The final two teams then compete in a battle that could feed an army. Each team must bake 1,000 cupcakes and present them in a pleasing, thematic display. The winning team receives the opportunity to take their display and 1,000 cupcakes to a star-studded event.

Due to the challenge of creating a thematic cupcake on the spot and the intense pressure of the time limit, “Cupcake Wars” competitors must be flexible and quick-witted with their recipes to make it through the three rounds. Rockwell believes that she and her assistant Rittle are good at “winging it” and is confident that they will make great contenders on the show if selected.
“I’m pretty good at creative, spur of the moment things,” Rockwell said.

Rockwell started Yumi’s Bakery three and a half years ago. It offers a wide variety of cupcake flavors, such as Reese’s Peanut Butter cupcake and Raspberry Swirl. College students and Grinnell residents frequent the store for its delicious sweets.

Rockwell intends to make Yumi’s the best establishment that it can be.

“[In a small business] you have to be in it 150 percent,” Rockwell explained. “When you’re tired, you still have to push it an extra inch.”

Rockwell runs an active Facebook page for the shop and is constantly trying new methods to improve the cupcake experience for her customers, such as custom baking cupcakes, creating an outtake-like meal option for busy students and teaching baking classes. She is also hoping to expand the store to a second level that will serve as a spot for private dinners, birthday parties and larger baking classes.

“We always like trying to do something new with thecupcakes,” Rockwell said.

The Food Network is currently reviewing Yumi’s audition tape and Rockwell expects to know whether she will compete in a few weeks. Those interested in the bakery’s progress as a competitor in the Cupcake Wars can check out its Facebook page and follow the link to help Yumi’s win.

Yumi’s will host Cupcake Happy Hours, starting Monday Sept. 19 from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. and all flavors of cupcakes will be only $1.

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