Most of the shows on the Food Network are barely watchable, but I gotta say that Throwdown with Bobby Flay is damn fine television. Granted, I also think that The Hills is quality time spent in front of the telly, so do take what I write with a grain of pink salt from the copper mines of Montana.
During Episode 9 of Season 2, Flay challenged Terrie Wahl of Los Angeles’ Auntie Em’s Kitchen in a Cupcake Throwdown. He pitted his gingerbread cupcake with mango and vanilla buttercream frosting against her famous red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting.
Prior to the Throwdown, viewers at home watched Wahl prepare her highly-acclaimed sweets from scratch. I was appalled and intrigued as I witnessed her glugging dangerously liberal amounts of vegetable oil and red food coloring into the batter and frosting each cupcake with an ice cream scoop’s worth. At the end of the episode, Flay claimed victory over Wahl, most likely because one of the two judges was rival Candace Nelson of Sprinkles Cupcakes fame.
I finally tasted Auntie Em’s red velvet cupcake when my friend Carissa brought one into the office to share. Visually, it was a stunner. The cake was blindingly red—far and away the deepest-hued red velvet I’d ever encountered. The frosting was piled an inch high and dotted with cute red sprinkles.
Taste-wise, I was impressed with the cake’s moistness (vegetable oil sure does the trick nicely!) and the frosting’s sweet tang and smooth texture. There was a time in my cupcake eating career when red velvets made me swoon, but these days I find them simply too sweet. Plus, food coloring in large quantities is a definite deal-breaker. However, as far as classic red velvets go, Auntie Em’s creation is solid.
“So to all you cooks out there, keep doing what you do. But ask yourself this, are you ready for a Throwdown?” Ha!
Auntie Em’s Kitchen
4616 Eagle Rock Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90041