Holiday Baking Championship recap: Make fruitcake great again


As the bakers dream about making the finale, Holiday Baking Championship recap focuses on two traditional desserts. Which baker made fruitcake great again?

With only two episodes remaining in Holiday Baking Championship Season 4, the competition is getting heated. Only three bakers will make the finale. In this Holiday Baking Championship recap, the bakers feel the pressure in the kitchen.

This week’s Holiday Baking Championship recap is all about tradition. The bakers were tasked with making two traditional desserts. The pre-heat focuses on a traditional Hanukah dessert, a twist on a jelly donut. While making a donut shouldn’t be too difficult for these experienced bakers, the pre-heat was the challenge that everyone wanted to forget.

Holiday Baking Championship recap, photo from Food Network

During Hanukah, a dessert, a fried yeast dough filled with jelly, similar to a jelly donut is often served. Since these bakers are on Holiday Baking Championship, a plain jelly donut isn’t a tough enough challenge. The bakers had to create a filled yeast donut with a non-traditional filling.

The filling flavor combinations were a little unusual. Jelly donuts with blueberry/chili or pear/basil aren’t found in the local donut shop. Even so, these bakers should have been able to handle it. Unfortunately, technical issues were everywhere.

Making a yeast donut in a limited time is quite difficult. From getting the yeast to rise to not over frying the donuts, the bakers were melting on the pressure. As Josh said, maybe everyone could just forget this challenge.

Holiday Baking Championship recap, photo from Food Network

Josh’s donuts over proofed. Stephany over fried her donuts. Ian’s donuts were skinny. It isn’t often that the majority of the bakers had technical issues.

Only one baker didn’t make major technical flaws. Jennifer’s snowman donut won the pre-heat. Her donut was most successful of the bunch. Although her donut wasn’t Hanukah themed, it was the winning donut. Winning the pre-heat earned her a huge advantage in the main heat.

Luckily for the bakers, the Holiday Baking Championship recap doesn’t stop at the pre-heat. The main challenge had everyone tackling one of the most controversial holiday desserts, the fruitcake. Can these bakers make the fruitcake great again?

Jennifer, by winning the pre-heat, had a huge advantage. She was able to use select ingredients that other bakers could not use. When a fruitcake doesn’t have tons of fruit and nuts is it really a fruitcake? Jennifer was very fortunate with her special advantage.

Also, the main heat always has a special twist. This week’s twist was that each baker had to make butterscotch from scratch. While this task shouldn’t be too difficult for the bakers, it is just another hurdle for the bakers to overcome.

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Fruitcake, when made well, can be a delicious holiday dessert. The problem with fruitcake is that people think that it is a stale, flavorless brick of cake. Truthfully, a goof fruitcake is decadent, delicious holiday treat.

Looking at this challenge, these bakers should have had this challenge in the bag. If a baker wasn’t expecting a fruitcake challenge, they were dreaming. Fruitcake is a traditional holiday dessert. This is a holiday baking competition. Granted, the bakers wouldn’t be making a plain, old fashioned fruitcake. Still, this particular challenge shouldn’t have been a huge surprise.

Stephany was prepared for the fruitcake challenge. She had been preparing a non-traditional fruitcake recipe. It was smart planning on her part. The forest inspired fruitcake design was pretty, but it could have been a little more colorful.

Holiday Baking Championship recap, photo from Food Network

Josh wasn’t happy about the fruitcake challenge. Even though not his favorite choice for a dessert, his finished product was stunning. Josh knows how to plate a visually stunning dessert. The plate looked like Santa without being an actual Santa. Who wouldn’t want to eat this particular dessert?

Jennifer, with her huge advantage, added a personal story to her dessert. The barn decorations with her story made for a lovely holiday moment. A heartfelt story during the holidays always makes for a better dessert.

Ian’s dessert was a taste of the familiar. His homage to his heritage and childhood was charming. But, his decorations needed to be more elevated, especially at this point in the competition. His angel wasn’t quite as heavenly as he had hoped.

Even though presentation is key to a successful dessert, the flavor would make fruitcake great again. Two bakers excelled in the flavor category. The creativity and taste propelled them to the top.

Holiday Baking Championship recap, photo from Food Network

Josh and Jennifer were the two top bakers. While both of the fruitcake desserts were visually beautiful, both bakers successfully reinvented the fruitcake itself. Personally, Josh’s dessert is the one that I would want to eat. The bite seemed beautifully composed. Fruitcake flavor was balanced with the raspberry mousse. This dessert was a very elevated fruitcake.

Jennifer’s cake was a blonde fruitcake. The idea of a lighter fruitcake was nice. I didn’t understand all the buttercream icing, though. While the flavors would make it lighter, I don’t understand how it balances the fruit and spices in the fruitcake.

The judges picked Josh as the winning baker. Both he and Jennifer moved onto the finale. Stephany and Ian were left in the bottom.

The two bottom bakers had problems with the reinvention portion of the challenge. While the flavors of each dessert were strong, the judges questioned the desserts’ creativity.

The judges criticized Stephany for her fruitcake not having enough fruit. It was more of a chocolate cake with fruit versus a chocolate fruitcake. It wasn’t Stephany’s best day.

With Ian’s fruitcake, the judges wondered if he truly reinvented the fruitcake. While the flavors were good, the dessert didn’t really change the original recipe. With the creativity lacking and the unimpressive decoration, Ian was sent home.

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The three remaining bakers, Josh, Stephany and Jennifer, will battle in the finale. Who will win the title of Holiday Baking Championship? The competition seems rather even going into the finale. Technical flaws can’t happen. The one baker who excels in all aspects of creativity, technical skill and presentation will win.

Another Holiday Baking Championship recap comes to an end. Who will you be cheering on in the finale next week?