A Sweet Retreat to Cupcake Wars

Local shop Sweet Retreat battles it out on Food Network show Cupcake Wars.
Robin Johnson, owner of Sweet Retreat, took her cupcake baking talents to the Food Network show Cupcake Wars last fall.

All’s fair in love and cupcake wars. Such is the case for Edina’s Sweet Retreat Cupcake Boutique, which was recently showcased on Food Network’s popular series Cupcake Wars, where four bakers face off throughout three elimination challenges until only the top treat is left standing. 

The prize for the sugary smack down? $10,000 and the chance for the cupcake connoisseurs to showcase their work at an A-List event. Sweet Retreat’s owner Robin Johnson, along with her assistant Cynthia Wheeler, were selected to appear on the show, the theme of their episode being “The World Series of Poker,” the event where the winner’s cupcakes would be featured.

In the first round, Johnson explains that she had to select from “a group of black and red ingredients to include in their cupcakes, such as red wine, radishes and truffle oil.” The duo decided on a strawberry balsamic cupcake with balsamic vinegar drizzle, which the judges adored. Sweet Retreat made it to the last round of competition, and constructed a poker-table inspired display, complete with playing cards, poker chips, and of course, cupcakes.

Despite the “blood, sweat, and tears” they put into their work, Johnson laments that Sweet Retreat did not prevail. The reason for their second place finish? “It’s because we used $50 bills on the display, which are notoriously bad luck in the poker world,” says Johnson.

Johnson has no regrets about the competition though, and says she “wouldn’t have changed a thing.” Win or lose, Lady Luck is on Edina’s side, because Sweet Retreat has offered all of the flavors baked in the competition, including a homemade caramel pecan cupcake topped with chocolate ganache, the famous white-chocolate raspberry, and chocolate cake infused with cayenne and cinnamon. –Mary McGuire


Sweet Retreat Cupcake Boutique, 5013 France Ave. S.; 612.353.6230