Homeschooled Siblings Win TV’s Cupcake Wars

Homeschooled Siblings Win TV’s Cupcake Wars | HSLDA Blog

What began as a rivalry between two homeschooled siblings culminated in a sweet team triumph for themselves, their family, and cooking show aficionados across the nation.

Joshua Guthrie (13) and his sister Rachael (15) paired up to win the inaugural episode of Cupcake Wars Kids, a new television series that first aired last December on the Food Network.

In addition to sharing the national spotlight, Joshua and Rachael brought home prizes, a trophy, and something their mother, Claire Guthrie, valued even more: deeper relationships and a greater appreciation of their own potential.

“The Lord has opened so many doors because of this,” explained Claire. She said that participating in the show has built a closer bond between Joshua and Rachael, introduced them to lots of new friends, and given them a success that both siblings hope to build upon.

Homeschooled Siblings Win TV’s Cupcake Wars | HSLDA Blog


As longtime HSLDA members, the Guthries are no strangers to homeschooling or camera crews. The family was one of several featured in an HSLDA video produced several years ago to promote home education.

Their journey into the world of baking and television started a few years ago, when Joshua asked his mom for cooking classes. He found he enjoyed the craft so much that he wanted to compete in it. This led to Joshua to audition for TV, which Rachael admits made her “a little jealous.” So Rachael asked for cooking classes too, and auditioned on her own for Cupcake Wars Kids. The outcome was something neither of them had anticipated.

Homeschooled Siblings Win TVs Cupcake Wars 4 - HSLDA Blog

Joshua Guthrie looks the part of a baking entrepreneur in an apron he made.

“For whatever reason,” said Claire, “(the show’s producers) decided to put them together as a pair.”

The actual process of taping the show on the production company’s set was, for a time, “all-consuming,” added Claire. And the competition was daunting. One young competitor had designed recipes used at the White House. Another had already appeared on television with celebrity chef Rachael Ray. Yet another was the child of a Los Angeles actress.

Claire said her initial thought was: “We’re up against some serious people here. They had a lot of experience we didn’t have.”

But anxiety soon gave way to simply enjoying the moment. As Joshua puts it, “Most of the time I enjoyed making friends.”

In between all the baking, that is.


For the final round of competition alone, Joshua and Rachael had to concoct 1,000 cupcakes in four different flavors. Presentation mattered, too: All those cupcakes were artfully arranged in a custom display that the siblings designed to look like the Scooby Doo gang’s Mystery Machine van.

Homeschooled Siblings Win TVs Cupcake Wars 3 - HSLDA Blog

Joshua and Rachael designed this Scooby Doo-themed display for the final round of Cupcake Wars Kids.

Accounting for why her kids wowed the judges, Claire said part of it probably had to do with their top-quality ingredients. Joshua and Rachael bake all their cupcakes from scratch, using non-GMO whole foods.

Even so, Rachael wasn’t able to sample her own prize-winning pastries. Because she battles Crohn’s Disease, her dietary restrictions mean the only baked goods she can eat are made of almond flour sweetened with honey.

Homeschooled Siblings Win TV’s Cupcake Wars | HSLDA BlogOverall, said Claire, homeschooling has given Rachael the flexibility to develop and maintain a healthy regimen. “I think it’s helped her to have her own schedule,” she added, explaining that Rachael seems to stick to her diet and get rest more easily than some of her friends with Crohn’s.

Looking to the future, nothing appears to dampen Rachael or Joshua’s enthusiasm. The siblings have already capitalized on their celebrity status by baking for others. Notable cupcake orders filled so far include a batch decorated in a Star Wars theme, and an order for some Denver Broncos fans—complete with tiny footballs.

Should cooking show lovers expect to see Rachael and Joshua on television again anytime soon? The best answer the Guthries can give to that question is: Stay tuned!

-Dave Dentel

Photo Credit: First image graphic design by Charity Klicka; All other photos courtesy of Claire Guthrie.

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