ROYAL OAK (WWJ) – It’s a sweet victory for a Royal Oak cupcake store, which just celebrated its first anniversary and topped if off by winning the Food Network’s latest installment of Cupcake Wars.

Talking to WWJ Newsradio 950, Taste Love Cupcakes co-owner Michelle Brown said the competition where cupcake makers battle to develop the most unique flavors and designs is just as wacky as it looks on TV.

“You go in and you’re given crazy ingredients and you have to come up with some awesome flavors, awesome cupcakes that the judges will love,” said Brown. “And then you’ve gotta build that 1,000 cupcake display.”

She said the win is already generating a lot of excitement.

Our Facebook page has just gone crazy. Our voicemail on our phone is just full, so it’s just been great,” Brown said. “We hope that it means nothing but growth for our business.”

The icing on the cake: Taste Love takes home a $10,000 prize.

Brown said they’re hoping to open up a second location within the next year — possibly in downtown Detroit. Their original location is on Main Street at Third in downtown Royal Oak, next to the landmark Starbucks. The bake shop features unique flavors like bacon and French toast, sweet potato, key lime pie, caramel apple cider, cinnamon sugar, cookie dough, peanut butter and jelly, plus more traditional tastes like red velvet, double vanilla bean, double chocolate, and chocolate peanut butter.

Long-time close friends Brown and Yolanda Baston, co- owners of Taste Love Cupcakes, applied for Cupcake Wars in early September 2011 and shortly thereafter were chosen as one of the four finalists to be featured on the show.

“It is very exciting as new business owners to win such a nationally recognized contest,” said Brown.  “We’re proud to represent the state of Michigan and the Metro Detroit area with our cupcakes.”

Brown and Baston, former classmates at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, opened Taste Love Cupcakes on April 16, 2011, and funded it using only their own personal savings.

The business, which now has four employees and prides itself in using local and organic ingredients whenever possible, sells its entire inventory of cupcakes every day.  Nothing is frozen or pre-packaged.

“There is a hard-working quality to businesses in Detroit and Michigan that fuels our desire to reach and succeed.  As a community we have experienced challenges recently.  However, we are strong and resilient–determined to be part of the revitalization of our community,” said Baston.

In its fourth season, Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars” is a national, weekly show that features four of the country’s top cupcake bakers for a face off in three elimination challenges until only one decorator remains. Winners are given the cash prize and the opportunity to showcase their cupcakes at the winning gig, which have included events such as a star-studded magazine party and an A-list celebrity golf tournament.

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