Egg Harbor City bakers Jacquelin and Gina Ciaburri, owners of Simply Sweet Cupcakes on Philadelphia Avenue, were in California filming The Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars” in October. Hurricane Sandy was hitting at home, where their husbands and kids were.

The combination of worry for family and the intense, timed bakery competition was “the most stressful situation I have ever been in,” said Jacquelin, 43. There were three rounds, and Gina, 38, acted as the lead baker, since Jacquelin admits she can get a little emotional.

Usually when they work, they do a lot of friendly arguing. But during the taping, they had to be more focused. They can’t disclose how they did until after the show airs tonight at 8 p.m.

Once the competition was over, and they heard everyone was OK, it took days to get a flight home.

“We thought we’d be gone three days, and ended up being gone eight,” Jacquelin said. “We ran out of clothes.”

Both came home to only minor damage. Jacquelin lives in Bayville, is married to Michael and has a daughter, Grace, 7. Gina lives in the Forked River section of Lacey Township, is married to Joseph and has a son, Nicholas, 7, and a daughter, Alaina, 4.

They opened their first store in Egg Harbor City because they fell in love with the downtown and felt welcomed by other business owners, Jacquelin said.

Cupcakes the sisters-in-law made on the show will be for sale Memorial Day from about 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The shop is usually closed Mondays, but it will open for the town’s Memorial Day Parade and other festivities, Jacquelin said.

If You Go: “Cupcake Wars” Viewing Party, 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., Avenue Café in Egg Harbor City

Leadership awards

Christopher W. Baumgartel Jr., of Egg Harbor Township High School, and Marianna Naples, of Pinelands Regional High School, are among 25 high school seniors statewide awarded a $2,000 Student Leadership Scholarship by the New Jersey Principals and Supervisors Association.

Southern’s Learning Lab

Teachers Catherine Latshaw and Rosemarie Tamarato run Southern Regional High School’s Child Development Learning Lab, which provides preschool education to 25 children, ages 3-5, while giving high school students a chance to work with kids.

The cost for the year is $50. Apply for next year at

under “Community Resources.”

More than 30 years’ experience reporting and editing for newspapers and magazines in Illinois, Colorado, Texas and New Jersey and 1985 winner of the Texas Daily Newspaper Association’s John Murphy Award for copy editing.