In our travels through downtown Ann Arbor this week, we saw a cupcake-shaped sign outside Cake Nouveau on Fourth Avenue, urging passers-by to cheer for Courtney Clark on Food Network this Sunday. Being the curious sort, we popped inside to see what there was to cheer.
Turns out it’s been a busy week for the owner of Cake Nouveau. On Wednesday, Clark appeared on ABC’s The View, one of three bakers who made birthday cakes for co-host Sherry Shepherd. (Shepherd picked Clark’s cake as her favorite.)
And on Sunday, Clark will be a finalist on Food Network’s Last Cake Standing – the winner of that competition gets a $50,000 prize. Sarah Mayfield, who works in the shop, told us the Food Network show had been taped in January. They know the outcome, of course, but are sworn to secrecy.
Cake Nouveau is used to brushes with fame, and Clark has seen success in other high-profile competitions. A monster-sized check hangs on the shop’s wall, a testament to another Food Network competition for Disney Pixar in 2008 – Clark’s winning cake, which won her the $10,000 prize, was a design based on the film “Finding Nemo.”
She also won the National Capital Area Cake Show in March, winning both the show’s gold medal as well as a people’s choice award based on votes from those who attended.
While Clark’s competition-level cakes are art forms – you can order one that looks like a hamburger – Cake Nouveau’s cupcakes look pretty much like cupcakes. The shop sells four different flavors each week, though you can place orders for other flavors if you’re buying in large enough quantity. This past week, the flavors were chocolate kalhua, key lime pie, vanilla beany and chocolate truffle. Next week’s flavors will be posted Monday online. Will there be a flavor based on celebratory champagne? We’ll have to wait and see.