UF vet student shares recipes
on Martha Stewart Show

 By Sarah Carey


Nicki Puza and Martha  Stewart.

Nicki Puza and Martha Stewart on the set of the Martha Stewart Show on April 10.

When veterinary student Nicki Puza baked her now-famous “turkey cupcakes” last Thanksgiving to cheer up her busy classmates, who were in the middle of taking their national licensure examinations, little did she know the sweet, freeform birds would end up flying her to New York for an appearance on the  Martha Stewart Show on April 10.

After sharing the cupcakes with her class, Puza’s classmate, Stacey West, had sent a photo to her uncle, an executive with Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, who in turn shared the photo with Martha herself.

“She fell in love with them,” said Puza, adding that West then forwarded additional photos of all of Puza’s unique cupcakes, which are baked to resemble everything from rubber ducks to blood cells.

Turkey cupcakes

Puza's turkey cupcakes are difficult to make since they must be created "freehand" as they don't have special molds.

“They offered me tickets to see the show, but when Martha found out I would be in the New York City area, she requested that I be a guest on the show instead,” Puza said. “The whole process from there was surreal and a blur. I spent the next afternoon, just five days before the show, on the phone with various producers and assistants. I was immediately blown away by how kind and energetic and outgoing they all were.”

Puza said after her arrival in New York, she was made to feel “right at home.” She was escorted to her dressing room and the producer soon met her there. A quick rehearsal ensued, with the producer standing in as Martha, and then she was brought out to the stage, where she met the baker who had pre-baked all of her cupcakes as well as her brownies.

Puza then went to the studio kitchen and dyed all of her frosting and prepared a model cupcake for the baker to follow. She was then quickly whisked away to hair and make-up.

“That was when it finally hit me,” Puza said. “I realized I would soon be on stage baking with THE Martha Stewart. Who can say that?”

She met Martha on stage in the commercial break before her segment.

“She was lovely, so calm and kind,” Puza said. “She complimented my cupcakes and said she was so glad to finally meet me.”

The two chatted about the potential for Puza writing a cupcake book or magazine article with the show and then they were guided to their positions for the beginning of the segment.

Cheeseburger cupcakes

These cheeseburger cupcakes are what Puza made on the show with Martha Stewart. Among the ingredients: pound cake, butter cream and brownies.

“I had no script and had never practiced exactly what to say,” Puza said. “I had a few pointers on things to mention, like the recipes being on Martha’s website and the brownies being easiest to cut when cold.”

The cupcakes featured specifically on the show were baked in the shape of cheeseburgers.

“The six minutes on camera were the fastest of my life,” Puza said.

After the show, Puza and her family were given a tour of the Creative Headquarters, which houses “everything Martha,” from her personal office, Emeril Ligassi’s office, all of the inner workings of her four magazines to the rest of the TV team.

Puza said she had received many emails from people associated with the show, thanking her for coming and suggesting the possibility of future appearances.

“I’m sure now I’ll have more requests for cupcakes, and I know there is a potential to make it go further than just a hobby, but for now I need to focus on my veterinary career,” Puza said. “I’ll be starting in June as a small animal medicine/surgery rotating intern at the University of Missouri, where I’ll have lots of unsuspecting new guinea pigs to try out new cupcakes on.”

Share this article with others:
  • E-mail this story to a friend!
  • Facebook
  • Digg
  • Twitter

...also in this issue



Around the College