Meet Baker Juliana Evans, Competing in Spring Baking Championship
Eight bakers have entered the Spring Baking Championship for a chance to win the title and earn $50,000 in prize money. Each one brings a unique talent to the competition. Some are professional pastry chefs, while others are culinary arts instructors, competitive bakers or self-trained bakers. This new series gives them the opportunity to show their skills on national television.
Before tuning in for the premiere on Sunday, April 26 at 9|8c, get to know the bakers. Every day leading up to the first episode we'll be revealing a Q&A with one of the eight.
Even as a homemaker and stay-at-home mom, Juliana Evans (Orlando, Fla.) finds time to spare for her passion, baking. She loves teaching her four daughters how to bake, and enjoys sharing her treats with family and friends, which led to the opening of her own food truck, Graciously Sweet. She also has competed in many baking contests and runs her own blog.
My first memory of baking was in my mom's early 1982 orange kitchen, and we were making a cake for my grandpa's birthday. I can remember cake batter flying all over the bright orange walls and cabinets because she accidentally turned the mixer on high.
What's the first thing you learned to bake really well? Do you still make it today?
My first really successful baked good was chocolate chip cookies. This recipe is amazing, and I still bake it today. There is nothing like a warm and soft oozy-gooey cookie.
What would you say is your signature baked item, one that everyone knows you for?
I would say I am known for my cupcakes. I had a cupcake truck and a short-lived boutique in Orlando. Everyone really loves my cupcakes.
If you could bake only one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Almond poppy seed cake. Not only does this remind me of my gramma and my heritage, but it is to die for.
What's your favorite ingredient or item to use in your baking?
What's your favorite holiday to bake for? What do you typically make?
Christmas is my favorite baking holiday. I love all the spices and warm flavors. I usually make gingerbreads, spice cakes and red velvet.
Who is (or was) your baking mentor? What's the No. 1 thing that person taught you?
My mom. She taught me to keep experimenting and fighting to get that recipe right.
When it comes to baking, how would you describe your style, your mentality?
I absolutely love baking and being in the kitchen. I am happy and in my zone. I feel that I am a rustic home baker.
If you could bake a cake for anyone (alive or dead), who would it be and what would you make?
What's the biggest baking fail you've ever had that you're willing to admit to? Were you able to rescue it, or did you have to start from scratch?
Pineapple upside-down cake. Let's just say I should've started from scratch.
In your opinion, what's the No. 1 mistake that most home bakers make?
Hurrying the measuring process and over-mixing. People think beating the batter to death is good, but it creates so much gluten, the cake is tough and falls.
What are five or so tips or words of advice you'd give to beginner bakers to improve on their baking?
1. Don't give up.
2. Pay attention to measurements.
3. You can't always just double ingredients to make a bigger batch.
4. How you mix batters does make a difference.
5. Buttermilk is an amazing alternative to regular milk.
Cake/cupcake: Lemon curd-filled lemon cupcake with cream cheese frosting and raspberry puree
Keep coming back to FN Dish for more on the bakers, and visit the Spring Baking Championship page for more on the new series, including behind-the-scenes galleries, episode recaps, video highlights and baking tips.