Lake Zurich pastry chef preps for ‘Cupcake Wars”
Lake Zurich resident Cathi Volante is preparing to represent her Kildeer-based Couture Cupcake Café on the Food Network’s popular Cupcake Wars television show. | Photo courtesy Cathi Volante
Updated: November 19, 2012 2:28PM
LAKE ZURICH — Lake Zurich resident Cathi Volante is slated to represent her Kildeer-based Couture Cupcake Café on the Food Network’s popular Cupcake Wars television show between mid-October and mid-November.
“The Cake Boss of Lake County,” as it was once dubbed by the Lake Zurich Area Chamber of Commerce, has only been open in Kildeer’s Quentin Collection for six months; however, Volante reported that the shop already boasts a growing fan base that extends beyond the Lake Zurich area.
Although her café has had much success since opening in April, Volante said she didn’t anticipate the phone call she received from the Cupcake Wars’ producer. She also didn’t expect to film an audition video and submit it to the network having only been given a few days notice.
“My daytime manager and pastry chef texted me that I had missed a call from Cupcake Wars, and I laughed because I thought she was kidding,” Volante said. “Then, I looked down at my phone and saw I had a missed call from L.A. ... we made a video three days later.”
During the first week of October, Volante said she produced, edited and submitted a three-minute video to the producer of the popular show. The video showcased her café’s diverse menu and creations, as well as her assistant pastry chef Dana Theel.
Volante hopes Theel can join her for the television competition.
“At the end, we get in the car and go ‘Cupcake Wars, here we go!’” Volante laughed.
If chosen to be part of the show’s list of competitors, Volante said the audition video will air on one of the first episodes.
Citing her continuous contact with the show’s producer, Volante is very confident she’ll be a contender on the show.
“We will be there for a week of filming and we can’t bring any of our ingredients with us, so it really is flying blind,” Volante said. “For example, I use all Belgian and French chocolate; since I can’t bring that, my chocolate cake is going to be very different.”
Volante integrates more than 115 different flavors into her menu, involving combinations of vanilla bean; Godiva milk chocolate; red velvet; chocolate truffle; buttercream; fudge; cannoli; espresso; chocolate chunk brownie; and Swiss milk chocolate.
In addition to her designer menu, she fulfills a variety of extreme cake requests — from elaborate to bizarre.
She’s created a pizza cake using actual pizza ingredients for a man’s 40th birthday party, as well as a life-sized Yoda cake for another.