Battered, Not Beaten, Haddonfield Bakers Compete in 'Cupcake Wars'
Haddonfield's Indulgence Cupcakery host a viewing party for their sweet Food Network TV debut.
The team of Theresa Hrivnak and Joseph Halloran, owners of and master bakers at Haddonfield’s Indulgence Cupcakery, might not have won the Food Network Cupcake Wars, but they brought their captivating cupcakes to national attention and they had “a blast”—which was just icing on the cake.
They hosted a party at P.J. Whelihan’s in Haddon Township Sunday for a more than 100 of their friends to watch the episode of Cupcake Wars on the cable network. They were also watching the show for the first time, although they certainly knew the outcome. The show was filmed earlier this year.
“While you’re doing the show, you run the whole gamut of emotions,” Halloran said. “You go from happiness to fear to panic"
"But it was fun. We had a blast,” Hrivnak said.
The fun continued at PJ Whelihan’s.
A crowd of people, many who learned about the event on Facebook, filled the bar to watch wrap-around flat-screens airing the show.
The mission was to create a series of cupcakes using “challenge ingredients.” These spices, fruits and even vegetables were indigenous to certain lands and environments where species like the tiger are threatened with extinction. The winner of the cupcake battle displayed and served their specialties at a celebrity benefit of Wild Aid, which works to save endangered species on land and sea.
Thus, hot red chili powder and green fondant became metaphors for fierce tigers and sea turtles. Hrivnak and Halloran created astounding little cakes out of strange combinations and they presented those cupcakes in amazing artistic detail. All this, while working under a clock that Halloran said seemed to be running way too fast. When the two advanced to the final round, the crowd at P.J. Whelihan’s responded with cheers fit for an Olympic gold medal performance.
Beneath Hrivnak and Halloran’s facility with jigsaw tigers, caramelized mango and chocolate paw prints, there are even deeper currents of ingenuity. The two now offer franchise opportunities for others who want to model the success of Indulgence Cupcakery. Hrivnak said there are three or four franchises in the process right now with potential locations in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. In addition, the company plans to expand their repertoire to other treats such as cookie sandwiches—spotted Sunday in the Haddonfield shop—or other interesting delicacies which will remain secret for now.
Despite the fact that the hometown favorites did not win the final round, they did receive high praise from the show’s judges. Their final presentation of a huge three-dimensional tiger’s head—open-mouthed and ready to devour an entire tray of cupcakes in one bite—caused Chef/Judge Florian Bellanger to tell the Indulgence team, “You really nailed it on the chocolate cupcakes. And we’ve never seen such a display as this on Cupcake Wars.”
Another bakery may have won the opportunity to cater the Wild Aid benefit. But Indulgence Cupcakery has shown the community and the nation that it will not just survive, it’ll thrive. Indulgence Cupcakery is anything but endangered.
For more information about Indulgence Cupcakery, located on 43 Kings Highway East in Haddonfield, near the dinosaur statue, visit their website at indulgencecupcakery.com or call 856-354-0400 for stores hours and catering information.
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