Bak­ers go dark with spooky Hal­loween con­fec­tions on ‘Freak­show Cakes’

The Fresno Bee (Sunday) - - All About -

Any­one need­ing in­spi­ra­tion for cre­at­ing a Hal­loween cake your friends will marvel at might do well to check out “Freak­show Cakes.”

Pre­mier­ing Fri­day, Oct. 4, on Cook­ing Chan­nel, the four-episode se­ries finds three teams of cake artists squar­ing off in a sideshow tent to see who can make the most imag­i­na­tive and sin­is­ter-look­ing Hal­loween cake, as de­ter­mined by hosts and judges Zac Young (“Unique Sweets”) and Vivian Chan, a dig­i­tal culi­nary pro­ducer at Dis­cov­ery Chan­nel. The win­ner re­ceives a $10,000 grand prize and the ti­tle Freak­show Cham­pion.

The cakes the con­tes­tants are tasked with mak­ing are based on iconic sideshow acts, and for this, says Young, the bak­ers went dark.

“So with the for­tune teller,” he says, “we ac­tu­ally called her the ‘Mis­for­tune Teller,’ so not giv­ing good news. Or with the ‘Snake Charmer,’ we wanted to see what would hap­pen if the snakes re­belled and the ta­bles turned. So there was al­ways an ad­di­tional kind of story el­e­ment to it. And then the bak­ers re­ally took th­ese themes and ran with it. You know, they weren’t just serv­ing cake. They were serv­ing a story. And I love that, I love get­ting in their heads. Some of them re­ally went dark.

“And you know,” he adds with a laugh. “I am not re­spon­si­ble for their ther­apy bills but I feel like maybe they should be talk­ing to some­one about their is­sues.”

The bak­ers’ darker cre­ative ten­den­cies, ac­cord­ing to Young, were cer­tainly ev­i­dent in the open­ing episode ti­tled “Creepy Clowns,” which re­quired them to sculpt you-know-what.

“Sculpt­ing peo­ple is hard, right?,” Young says. “Ei­ther it has to be in­cred­i­bly de­tailed and re­al­is­tic or it can be car­toon-y. But you know, clowns are peo­ple, too, so on the clown episode I was blown away by the de­tails that all three of the teams gave their clowns and they all pre­sented some­thing dif­fer­ent. You know, two of them did a mul­ti­ple clown sce­nario. One of them just fo­cused on mak­ing one re­ally creepy clown.”

Also part of the com­pe­ti­tion is a tast­ing el­e­ment in the Sideshow Suite, where the teams must pre­pare a con­fec­tion that com­ple­ments their themed cake.

“That was kind of a fun twist,” Young says. “As op­posed to just, ‘Oh, let’s eat this cake,’ it was, ‘Let’s also see your craft as a pas­try chef and not just the dec­o­ra­tion of the cake.’ So for me, it was fun to see them cre­ate de­li­cious treats . ... Be­cause it’s not enough to see them make a cake in un­der four hours.”

Zac Young and Vivian Chan

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