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Piece of cake: Local couple to appear on 'Cupcake Wars'

Staff Photo: Jason Braverman. Tara Tomlinson, front right, owner of Sugar Kneads Cakery, works on a wedding cake at her shop Thursday as decorator Stephanie Meyers, back, also works on a cake. Tomlinson will be on the third season premiere of the Food Network show "Cupcake Wars" on Tuesday.

Staff Photo: Jason Braverman. Tara Tomlinson, front right, owner of Sugar Kneads Cakery, works on a wedding cake at her shop Thursday as decorator Stephanie Meyers, back, also works on a cake. Tomlinson will be on the third season premiere of the Food Network show "Cupcake Wars" on Tuesday.

LOGANVILLE -- On Tuesday night, Tara Tomlinson will curl up on the couch with her family to watch the third season premiere of "Cupcake Wars."

Tomlinson has watched the show in the past, but Tuesday's viewing will be particularly special. She and her husband, Brad, who own Sugar Kneads Cakery in Loganville, will be featured as contestants on the Food Network competition. The episode airs at 8 p.m.

"I'm a big couch screamer for 'Cupcake Wars,'" Tomlinson said. "I see so many people making stupid mistakes on the show ... (such as) delivering raw cupcakes to the judges. I would rather go home than give someone less than our best product.

"We planned and timed and tested and tasted in hopes that we wouldn't be one of those stupid people."

Tomlinson said the experience was different than what she expected.

"I thought, 'I got this knocked,'" she said. "But it was way more stressful than I anticipated, but it's an experience that I wouldn't ever take back."

In "Cupcake Wars," four bakers face off in three elimination challenges until only one decorator remains. In the first round, cupcakes are judged for taste, and in the second, taste and presentation. In the final found, the final two bakers battle to create a themed display of 1,000 cupcakes.

The prize for winning is $10,000 and the opportunity to showcase their cupcakes at the episode's winning gig.

Tomlinson, who took her husband with her as her baking partner, said she can't reveal the results of the show because of a lengthy confidentiality agreement she signed. The couple didn't even tell their three girls they would be on the show until producers gave them the OK earlier this week to spread the word about their appearance.

Tomlinson said she was invited to audition for the show after several customers submitted the bakery. Since she wasn't aware of the submissions, Tomlinson said she was shocked when producers called to ask her to submit an audition video.

The couple sent in an audition video and made the cut. Brad Tomlinson said theirs is the first bakery from the Atlanta area to be featured on the show.

The Tomlinsons opened the bakery in 2008 after purchasing Sugar Kneads from its previous owner. At that time, the store was a gift and novelty shop, but Tomlinson said loved the name.

"My grandmother was a huge baker and the light of my eyes, and I wanted to do everything just like her," she said. "I get a lot of inspiration and courage from the strong women in my family."

Brad Tomlinson used to work in construction, but he started spending more time in the bakery as the industry tanked. Now he works at the store full time.

His construction skills came in handy when Sugar Kneads outgrew its previous store and moved into its current location at the Sizemore Plaza at 150 U.S. Highway 78, Suite 700, in Loganville. The Tomlinsons designed and built out the new store themselves.

Sugar Kneads Cakery will have a grand opening celebration for its new location at 11 a.m. June 18, featuring a cupcake eating contest and community bake sale. Proceeds from the event will be donated to Loganville Fire Department, Loganville Police Department and Walton County EMS.

The bakery serves up cakes of all kinds, with at least 20 different flavors of cupcakes available daily. Sugar Kneads has 68 cupcake flavor combinations and is constantly adding new ones, Tomlinson said.

For more information about Sugar Kneads, visit www.sugarkneads.com. For more information about "Cupcake Wars," visit www.foodnetwork.com/cupcake-wars.