LO pastry chef wins 'Cupcake Wars' for third time

by: SUBMITTED - Kyra Bussanich, right, and her assistant Jackie Eizik were visions of pink in their display at the Food Network's 'Cupcake Wars' in Chicago. Judges were dazzled by their showmanship.When it comes to cupcakes, Kyra Bussanich is fully entitled to go out on A Avenue, raise her arms in triumph and yell, “I am the greatest!”

That is not her style at all, but the Lake Oswego woman is truly the greatest when it comes to making cupcakes and even making cupcake history.

On Nov. 7 in Chicago, Bussanich won the 'Cupcake Wars' on the Food Network for the third time, an accomplishment that surely assures her of baking immortality. She was assigned a Barbie theme by the network, and her four Barbie-themed cupcakes were fantasias of flavor, and they all featured Bussanich’s trademark of being gluten-free. Her recipes included: Barbie’s Caramallow Fluff Moving Day Cupcake; Malibu Barbie’s California Sunset Cupcake; Fashionista Barbie’s Fresh and Flirty New York City Night Out; Pastry Chef Barbie’s Welcome Home Florida Key Lime pie-cupcake.

It is hard to be humble when you are as great as Bussanich, but she manages.

“I think what sets us apart is our creative approach to combining flavors. Coming up with new ideas is by far my favorite part of being a pastry chef, and I’m lucky that I think quickly, a necessary trait when competing on ‘Cupcake Wars,’” she said. “All that, combined with our classical French training, abhorrence for artificial flavors and restrained use of sugar, take us to the final round each time.”

Bussanich was nicely rewarded for her win, receiving $10,000 and receiving the catering job for a major event.

Being Cupcake Queen is also an excellent promotion for her business, Kyra’s Bake Shop in Lake Oswego. Bussanich’s exposure on TV makes viewers want to come to her little shop with the big flavor.

Also, as Cupcake Queen times three, Bussanich has more credibility, especially with people dubious about whether gluten-free baked goods can taste so good.

“Having three ‘Cupcake Wars’ wins under our belt gives us a degree of authority and credibility and helps people be more open-minded about giving our products a try,” Bussanich said. “And once they taste, they are usually hooked.”

Jackie Eizik, Bussanich’s assistant and longtime baking buddy, got a lot of credit for the triumph.

“Jackie is amazing. I wouldn’t be able to win without her,” Bussanich said. “Whereas my strength is in flavor combinations, Jackie’s talent lies in creating clean, beautiful and artistic designs that capture the theme of the challenge and the judges’ eyes.”

Being queen for the third straight time may leave Bussanich with no cupcake worlds to conquer. But she never stops thinking about how to expand her business.

“Each of the five times we’ve been on the show we’ve said it was our last and that we wouldn’t come back, so you never know,” Bussanich said. “But frankly, we’d rather have our own show now!”

Local customers are invited to come taste the creations that so impressed the Food Network’s judges, and so Kyra’s Bake Shop is offering one special flavor each week for the next month, minus the extensive decorations.

For more about Kyra’s Bake Shop, go to the website, The shop is located at 460 Fifth St. in Lake Oswego.

Bussanich’s appearance on the Food Network is playing throughout the week. It is also available on demand on cable television or online at (type Bussanich in the search box).

Cliff Newell can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and 503-636-1281, ext. 105.

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