For Pleasant Grove baker, winning 'Wars' takes the cupcake

Thursday , March 06, 2014 - 11:26 AM

Cathy Allred

PLEASANT GROVE — A modest cupcake shop sandwiched between two boutiques on Pleasant Grove’s Historic Main Street is about to get crazy busy.

On the March 10 broadcast, Alisha Nuttall, of Cravings — Alisha’s Cupcakes, won the redemption episode of Food Network’s fifth season of “Cupcake Wars.”

She said when she realized she won she was excited. Then she gave a little giggle.

“I was so wiped out. I accomplished what every cupcake maker wants to accomplish — to win ‘Cupcake Wars,’ ” Nuttall said.

Another cupcake chef and the first Utah resident on “Cupcake Wars” to take home the prize championship for an episode, Megan Brown knows what Nuttall is going through today.

“That next day was so busy with people coming in. It was definitely great for our business,” said the Sweet Tooth Fairy business owner.

Brown has 10 stores and is offering business franchises. She said the day after her winning episode ran, business was insane, busier than on Valentine’s Day.

“Enjoy your busy Monday of business,” Brown said.

Nuttall’s assistant in the competition was her identical twin, Angela Wilson, who owns Cravings Bistro, a gourmet grilled cheese sandwich cafe fronting American Fork’s Main Street.

“You Imagine It, We’ll Create It!” has become their Cravings Twin Company business slogan. As sisters, they have imagined it not only for others but for themselves.

“The cupcake business opened first. We did it at our house, and then she got a storefront first,” Nuttall said. The cupcake chef opened her shop on Nov. 15 after working from home for nearly four years and using other venues such as Wilson’s bistro to sell her cupcakes.

Click here for another 'Cupcake Wars' story

Nuttall realized her business needed a storefront, but finding the courage to make the move took having an “aha” moment — she won Cupcake Wars.

“I was actually the only one at the time who didn’t own a storefront,” Nuttall said.

The $10,000 prize money and recognition for being a winning combination of creativity, organization, delegation and passion also was a motivator to market her product.

The sisters thought they were done with the TV program after the third season, but the network invited them back for “Cupcake Wars — Redemption” filmed in July. The invitation was a surprise, Nuttall said.

“Because we did so bad,” she said and gave a soft chuckle. “We did a really bad flavor.”

It wasn’t her popular fruit pizza cupcake she sells, but her real pizza cupcake with pepperoni that received the judges’ ire.

Back on the set to redeem themselves, the sisters succeeded in going on to the third round.

Nuttall’s cupcake display in the Redemption episode for the theme “All American Rejects” got accolades — and it didn’t hurt that her Carrot Cake, Fruit Pizza and Better Than What! cupcakes were winners, too. Her Better Than What! creation is a chocolate cupcake with caramel sauce inside topped with whipped cream frosting and toffee.

“It is actually the most popular flavor,” Nuttall said.

Other Cravings cupcake flavors are Ultimate Banana Pudding, Chocolate Covered Strawberry, Coconut Tres Leches, Peanut Butter Cup, Lemon Raspberry, Very Vanilla and White Chocolate Caramel.

“All my recipes are mine. I never copycat anyone,” Nuttall said.

Each cupcake is personally made by her and is nested in a fluted liner. Like a tiny bird getting ready for flight, the wings of the tissue rise up above the cupcake, partially hiding its sweet delicacies from view.

At Cravings — Alisha’s Cupcakes, sofas, dinette sets, a children’s play corner, pastels and soft chandelier lighting welcomes customers to her shop and to stay and relax a while. A sign posted in another corner of the shop, “Children left unattended will be given espresso and a free kitten,” lets her customers know the owner has a sense of humor.

Compared to the “Cupcake Wars” competition, Nuttall’s Cravings — Alisha’s Cupcakes is home.

“Oh my gosh, it was the most stressful thing I have ever done,” Nuttall said of the show.

“It’s like a pressure cooker for sure,” Brown said. “You know, it’s funny. After the competition, I drove away and I thought, ‘I will never do that again,’ but later I thought, ‘I totally would.’ It’s really exciting and really cool.”

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