TOPIC:  Cupcakes/Cake Baking

AUDIENCE:  9-12th grade Foods

TITLE:  Cupcake wars


This lesson is loosely inspired by the Food Network show, “Cupcake Wars”.  Full episodes of cupcake wars can be found on YouTube and shown in class to inspire creativity and help them avoid common pitfalls.  Depending on your school schedule, this version of cupcake wars often takes place over the course of 4 – 90 min class periods or 6 – 50 min class periods – adjust accordingly for your schools class length.


Typically one day is given to watching an episode of cupcake wars and reviewing basic cake baking procedures.  Additionally one day is given to brainstorming and filling out the cupcake planning guide.  (link to google doc below) .  Note that the cupcake planning guide states that certain staple ingredients are provided and additional/supplemental ingredients must be brought from home.   The cupcake planning guide also states that completed guides must be approved by the teacher to proceed.

Pending teacher approval of all planning guides, one class day is given for baking cupcakes.  Note baked cupcakes are labeled, left to cool and covered with plastic wrap.  The final and last day of cupcake wars allows students an allotted time frame to decorate and plate their cupcakes, at which point guest judges (usually staff/teachers on their prep period) join the class to sample/judge each groups cupcakes.  Judges are given a rubric packet and encouraged to ask questions, observe kitchen conditions etc… when making their final decisions.  Winners announced at teachers discretion.


  • Identify the purpose of consistent measuring techniques in baking (i.e.: leveling the top of measuring cups and spoons.
  • Identify the purpose of parchment liners in baking
  • Recognize the importance of sifting dry ingredients in baking
  • Recognize the purpose of scraping down the bowl when mixing wet/dry ingredients together
  • Differentiate between a cake that is done baking versus one that is not done, using the toothpick test.
  • Recognize the importance of letting baked goods cool before handling them.
  • Identify the importance of preheating an oven
  • Identify the importance of consistency in baking techniques for creating a professional product.


8.5.1 Demonstrate professional skills in safe handling of knives, tools, and equipment.
8.3.6 Identify a variety of types of equipment for food processing, cooking, holding, storing, and serving, including hand tools and small ware.
8.5.2 Demonstrate professional skill for a variety of cooking methods including roasting, broiling, smoking, grilling, sautéing, pan frying, deep frying, braising, stewing, poaching, steaming, and baking using professional equipment and current technologies.

8.5.10   Prepare breads, baked goods and desserts using safe handling and

professional preparation techniques

Cupcake wars planning guide

Cupcake wars judging packets


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