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