Alex and Ivan Renteria, Berwyn residents and co-owners of Cake Bros Bakery, at 6737 W. 26th St., appeared on the North Pole-themed episode of “Sugar Rush Christmas” Season 2, a Netflix original series currently streaming on the platform.
The Renteria brothers have been in business for a decade and were taken by surprise when a casting director from the show reached out after reviewing their photographs on social media.
“I think they were looking for diversity of talent, and since we do a little bit of everything we were good fit for the show,” said Alex Renteria. “Honestly, I was a little nervous, but my brother loves the spotlight, so I did it for him.”
In early March 2020 – just pre-COVID — the duo packed their bags and headed to Los Angeles for their first-ever television filming experience. On each episode of “Sugar Rush Christmas” four teams compete in three rounds featuring cupcakes, confections, and cakes with judges eliminating a team after each round.
Additionally, time is a factor in the process — the faster a team completes each round the more time they reserve for the final.
In the cupcake round, bakers were required to produce a dozen North Pole-themed cupcakes decorated with an adorable Arctic critter. The Renteria brothers were born in Mexico and entered the competition with the intent of celebrating their culture.
They created chocolate Mexican spice cakes filled with white chocolate peppermint ganache topped Swiss meringue, cinnamon buttercream and garnished with a walrus macaron.
The Cake Bros were on track to complete the complex cakes quickly, but all that changed when Alex tasted a cake to determine if they had added enough chili powder and cayenne pepper. What seemed innocent proved problematic.
“They ate one of their cupcakes and they need 12 cupcakes,” said host Hunter March, during the show.
“I know the importance of a baker’s dozen, but my head wasn’t clear in the spotlight,” said Renteria. “We literally lost 20 minutes waiting for one cupcake to bake, but my brother was very nice about it.”
Though it took longer than intended, the judges loved their cupcake offering. They appreciated the cooling effect of the peppermint filling, complimented the adorable macron garnish and appreciated the cakes’ connection to the North Pole theme. Despite the cake-tasting catastrophe, the Cake Bros confidently advanced to round two.
Unfortunately, the time deficit caught up with Alex and Ivan in the confection round where they were tasked with creating desserts inspired by the northern lights. To save time the bakers added extra gelatin to their strawberry mousse and were eliminated because the texture suffered as a result.
“Overall, it was a pretty cut-throat and the team that won definitely came there to win,” said Renteria. “But I would absolutely do it again. It was incredibly fun and eating the cupcake was a really memorable part of the episode.”