Holiday Baking Championship episode 4 recap: Holiday dessert redux


When a holiday dessert gets a makeover, the results are either picture perfect or utter disaster. This Holiday Baking Championship episode 4 recap has mixed results.

During the holiday season, everyone is in the kitchen. The delicious aromas from the oven can make anyone’s stomach grumble in anticipation. But, the bakers on Holiday Baking Championship episode 4 recap have difficult tasks ahead of them. From boxed cake mixes to holiday dessert redux, this episode finally separates the bakers from the fakers.

The pre-heat challenge had the bakers take on a baking hack. Sometimes a good baking hack can be a baker’s dream. But, a boxed cake mix isn’t necessarily the best option for these Food Network bakers. In the pre-heat the bakers had to use the boxed cake mix, but not make a cake.

The problem with a boxed cake mix is that the bakers have no control over the ingredients. Sure, some people love that cake flavor, but there is an unknown factor to the boxed cake mix. The bakers must carefully balance those unknowns.

Holiday Baking Championship episode 4 recap, photo from Food Network

A few bakers succeeded in creating a yummy, yet innovative dessert. Using the boxed cake mix as a crepe base gave Ian the winning pre-heat dessert. The idea made a lot of sense. The crepe was light, fluffy and flavorful. Plus, the crepes had bacon, too. It was a very smart choice.

Overall, most of the pre-heat desserts were successful. Bakers making cookies seemed like a cop-out. A cookie is really similar to a cake. Still, the desserts were overall pretty good. No major dessert fails in the pre-heat.

Holiday Baking Championship episode 4 recap, photo from Food Network

The judges’ biggest complaint focused on flavor. Many of the desserts needed a boost or two of holiday flavors. The ginger wasn’t predominate enough. The warm spices seemed to be a little too mellow. Maybe the bakers aren’t in the holiday spirit yet.

After winning the pre-heat, Ian got a big advantage. He received a 10-minute head start on the rest of the competition. It may not seem like a lot of time, but 10 minutes can make a huge difference. Especially if the bakers need to make a holiday dessert look festive.

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For the main heat on the Holiday Baking Championship episode 4 recap, the bakers had to take a traditional non-winter holiday dessert and put a holiday spin on it. The concept doesn’t seem too outlandish, but any baking challenge is never that simple.

Finally, the Holiday Baking Championship season 4 seems to have found some distance between the leaders and the lesser bakers. This week’s episode clearly showed a line in the flour. As the season heads toward the finish line, the bakers really need to set up their game. Luckily, a few bakers did exactly that.

The top bakers were Stephany, Joshua and Jennifer. These three bakers exceled in both flavor and decoration. Finally, some holiday desserts that are worthy of a Food Network competition show.

Stephany transformed strawberry shortcake into a festive scone. Snowman shaped scone with cream and fruit compote was a huge hit. Her plate looked festive. Based on combined flavor and presentation, Stephany won another challenge.

Stephany is definitely a front runner in this competition. With two wins in a row, Stephany could be paving a way to the title. While she may be a certified master baker, other bakers are nipping at her heals.

Holiday Baking Championship episode 4 recap, photo from Food Network

Joshua made a red velvet holiday Happy Birthday cake. Based on the visuals alone, Joshua’s cake was stunning. The sugar coated cherries were a smart choice.

Truthfully, Joshua had the hardest theme. Making a birthday cake in 80 minutes and adding a holiday theme was hard. He deserved more credit for this holiday dessert. Joshua has a strong chance of making it a long way in this competition.

Holiday Baking Championship episode 4 recap, photo from Food Network

Jennifer made a holiday fruit tart that was visually inspired by a candy cane. Even with a slight issue with her tart crust, Jennifer’s holiday dessert was on point both visually and flavor-wise. The pastry cream had holiday flavors while the presentation was quite smart. Jennifer is setting herself up for a strong showing in the Holiday Baking Championship season 4.

On the bottom were Andra, Amy and Ian. Ian’s fall from the pre-heat top position was disappointing. Unfortunately, he used flavor combinations that weren’t holiday centric. The coconut, eggnog and nutmeg flavors did not work well together. Overall, the dessert was a flavor disaster.

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More disappointing was his plate decoration. Granted, an edible orchid is very pretty on the plate. For the holiday season, orchids aren’t the traditional garnish. His plate looked more like a summer beach party than a holiday dessert.

Amy’s red, white and blue trifle was a little to summer-inspired for the judges. Of course, patriotic themes are appreciated any time of year, the flavor wasn’t holiday enough. If Amy had added some more spice, her dessert could have kept her from the bottom.

Andra was yet again on the bottom. Every week, Andra has been a bottom baker. Her desserts fail on so many levels. From flavor disasters to visual mistakes, no one could understand how she kept moving onto the next week.

This week Andra made her take on a banana pudding. The dessert wasn’t holiday inspired. It looked more like a birthday parfait. A simple Christmas tree cookie isn’t enough to make a holiday dessert.

More importantly, Andra’s flavors were off, again. Her holiday desserts don’t seem to measure up to some of the other bakers. The bakers don’t all have to be master bakers, but they do need to be better than a home baker.

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It was finally Andra’s week to be sent home. Hopefully, the next couple of challenges will be bigger and bolder. So far this season has been a little boring. Holiday dessert redux isn’t all that exciting. During the holidays, everything is about excess, over the top and extravagant. Those adjectives seem to be missing from Holiday Baking Championship Season 4.

What will next week’s episode of Holiday Baking Championship bring? Apparently, there might be a little fire in the kitchen. Check back to read more.