NORWALK, Conn. — Norwalk resident Renata Papadopoulos wasn’t expecting to take home the top prize on a recent episode of “Cake Wars.”
“I definitely expected to go through the first phase, but for the second challenge, I really didn’t know,” Papadopoulos told the Daily Voice. “At the end, when the judges said that it was going to be a tie, I said, ‘Oh my God’.”
But the tie was for second place. Papadopoulos took home the only first prize, which came as a welcome surprise. She said she wanted to do well in the competition, but winning wasn’t her sole motivation.
“Of course you enter a competition hoping to win, but my real goal when I entered ‘Cake Wars’ was to make a cake that represented my work well and that I would be proud of,” Papadopoulos said.
She appeared on a Valentine’s Day edition of the show. Hosted by Jonathan Bennett, the Food Network series features a “grueling competition where four expert bakers go toe-to-toe to see whose mind-blowing cake creation will be the star of a major event, earning them the $10,000 prize.”
For the first challenge, Papadopoulos had to incorporate spices such cayenne pepper and cinnamon in her cake. She prepared a chocolate cake with spicy ganache that used those ingredients, among others.
Her second cake had to tell a love story. She decided to make a chocolate cake that included a depiction of cupid holding a box of cards and chocolates because she once knew a man who gave those gifts to his wife.
But good cakes aren’t all about creative designs. In her baking on the show and in her daily life, Papadopoulos makes sure her cakes taste as good as they appear.
“Cake is food, and it has to be delicious,” she said. “I would say taste first and pretty second.”
Papadopoulos knows the cake business well. She owns Lovely Cakes in Stratford, which started out of her love of making birthday cakes for her kids.
She didn’t think of making them for others until someone asked her to make one. Her business has since grown of out her house and borrowed kitchen space into a dedicated Stratford location.
And if “Cake Wars” called her again, she would take her cake-creating skills back to the screen.
“If something like that happens, I would definitely go back,” she said.
For Papadopoulos' recipe, click here .
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