“Cupcake War” Inspired Lesson

cupcake-wars-4fac6002be1a0 (2)Students love the variety of food related shows that are on TV. One of the most requested is the Food Network show, “Cupcake Wars.” I personally don’t like to have competitions be graded but rather to be fun and to win bragging rights or a prize.

Objectives

8.3 Demonstrate industry standards in selecting, using, and maintaining food production and food service equipment.

8.5.10 Prepare breads, baked goods and desserts using safe handling and professional preparation techniques.

Set

  • Watch cupcake wars a class or two before your scheduled competition. ¬†Episodes are available on YouTube and Amazon; just search for your favorite.

Materials

  • Sprinkles, food coloring, piping bags
  • Fruits: strawberries, lemons, raspberries, bananas
  • Spices: cinnamon, cardamon, nutmeg, cloves, apple pie spice
  • Canned goods: pumpkin, honey, jams, preserves
  • Candy: chocolate chips, white chocolate, Andes candies
  • Dried fruits: dates, raisins, craisins, dried blueberries, dried bananas
  • Nuts: peanuts, macadamia nuts, pecans

Background for Teachers

  • Judging
    • I never like to personally judge culinary competitions because this is a great way to get other teachers and community members into your classroom to promote culinary arts! So I float around going from group to group helping out slightly and/or answering questions. I also like to
  • Time considerations:¬† In my mind there are three scenarios you could do depending on the time you have for the competition.
    • Boxed cupcake mixes (choice of flavors, students could mix things in)
    • Students bring in their own homemade cupcakes, unfrosted
    • Students make everything in class
      • 60 minutes for competing 1/2 hour for judging & clean up
      • Highly recommend students work in groups 2-4 especially if you expect them to clean up as they go.
  • Variations:
    • Mystery ingredient that students need to include in their cupcakes (my favorite mystery ingredient is avocado)
    • Theme inspired e.g. wildlife, romance, healthy, beach themed
    • Several “rounds” or “face-offs” like class winner against another class winner
    • Presentation: offer a selection of plates, platters, and doilies
  • Other
    • Some students get really stressed about competitions so I don’t like the added pressure of the competition being graded. I have never had a problem with students not rising to the occasion and giving it their best.

Instructions

  • Explain that students will be judged on taste, texture, presentation, creativity.
  • Students need to make 3 cupcakes (one for each judge)
  • Suggest that students plan out on paper what they are making before they start and assign roles to each person.

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