The first Halloween Baking Championship has come to an end and we have our dark horse champion.
Going into the finale, Ashlee, Scott, Rudy, and Jason were the last bakers standing. Per usual, they were given a pre-heat challenge, which was to create a dessert that looks like a haunted house character they drew out of a jar, however, this challenge was turned into an elimination round.
Ashlee created a mummy-themed crepe cake with bloody buttermilk syrup. She struggled to get the crepes perfect, but the judges loved their crispiness in the end. The cake didn’t look much like a mummy, however, which was a big hit to her chances of making it to the final round.
Scott made a super gross-looking zombie head pastry deconstructed with a brain Bavarian cream. While this was super stimulating visually, the judges weren’t thrilled with the deconstructed take of the pastry and cream.
Weird, lovable Rudy made an amazing vampire asleep on her tomb out of brownie and dulce de leche filling; the brownies were overcooked and ended up being a little dry and crispy, but his amazing sculpture was definitely his saving grace.
Jason tried his hand at a skeleton chocolate tart, again, after last week’s disaster. This week, the judges really loved his crust, which led to him winning the pre-heat challenge.
Unfortunately, Ashlee couldn’t get her decor together, which was ultimately her demise in this show. So, this left us with the three gentlemen moving on to the final challenge: create a haunted house-themed cake.
This was by far my favorite challenge of the season, and brought out the best in all the remaining contestants, which made for an exciting finale.
Scott created a three-tier vanilla chiffon cake with grapefruit and pink peppercorn curd filling. Due to his fear of haunted houses, Scott went a little safe on the decor. It was a beautiful cake fit for a child’s birthday, but, as the judges pointed out, the point of this show is to make something gross, creepy, and horrific, so he failed the judges' expectations, especially after his disgusting zombie dessert in the pre-heat.
Jason made a chocolate (big surprise) cake with hazelnut, vanilla, and cookies-n-cream fillings. The judges loved the filling, but were displeased with the density of the cake. However, Jason’s attention to decor detail was out of this world. He is so incredibly talented, I couldn’t believe he made the cake he did in just 5 hours.
Rudy made a three-tiered cinnamon cake with fig buttercream icing. He went with more of a haunted New York apartment, and it totally paid off: He created a graffiti-ridden building with zombie body parts and green moss, which was a re-purpose of the fig filling. The judges loved the taste and the decor, but, like with Jason’s, they wished the cake wasn’t so dense.
In the end, despite a rocky start to the season, Rudy, a home-baker who was up against two professionally trained chefs – took the cake and won $25,000 and the title of the first Halloween baking champion.
Don’t miss the Holiday Baking Championship premiere 9pm ET Sunday, November 1 on Food Network.