Spring Baking Championship recap: Picnic basket surprises cause stumbles


The flowers have blossomed and the bakers are ready to head outside. Mini pies and picnic baskets are featured on this Spring Baking Championship recap.

In this week’s Spring Baking Championship recap, the bakers teamed up to tackle mini pies and unusual picnic baskets. Could ingredients cause a favorite to stumble? Maybe challenging ingredients could use a new star baker to emerge.

In the first two episodes the bakers’ sweet treats were stunning bursts of color. From ombre cakes to floral infused delights, the bakers are starting to find their stride. Still, each week has seen different bakers in the top bakes. Can a leader emerge in this Spring Baking Championship recap?

Host Ali Kahn, as seen on Spring Baking Championship, Season 4.

With eight bakers in the kitchen, the pre-heat was a great time for a team challenge. The pre-heat challenge had teams of two create mini pies. The teams were determined by like pie styles. Some pie styles/flavors seemed a little easier than others.

Looking at this challenge, creating a great pie crust in this limited time challenge was impressive. A buttery, flakey pie dough needs time to rest and bake. Overall, these bakers did well in this challenge. Although, one or two had a few hiccups.

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Winning the pre-heat were Nacho and Ruby. Their dulce de leche banana cream pie was divine. For this mini pie, the key was for it to be fluffy. The layers of flavors impressed the judges. The crème was still fluffy and light, but the flavor was rich. It was a delicate balance that they hit on the mark.

While the other mini pies weren’t bad, those pies didn’t impress as much. The peanuts and cherry cola pie lacked bold cherry flavor, the stone fruit pie had an unbaked crust and the lemoncello custard pie didn’t need the honeycomb.

Host Ali Kahn with Baker Ruby Bloch and Ignacio Nacho Aguirre’s banana dulce de leche cream pie with buttermilk crust, as seen on Spring Baking Championship, Season 4.

Truthfully, the most interesting mini pie was the peanuts and cherry cola pie. I had never heard of that combination. It sounds like a great Southern pie, especially for someone who doesn’t like pecan pie. The saltiness of the peanuts with the sweetness of the cherry cola sounds like a great combination. If Heather and Caleb had executed better, this mini pie could have won.

With the pre-heat completed, the bakers had another surprise. The teams stayed together for the main challenge. While the challenge didn’t present a head to head battle, the bakers had to work together yet still execute their own dish.

The theme for the main challenge was a picnic basket. Each team received a mystery picnic basket with three must use ingredients. The three ingredients weren’t common baking ingredients. More concerning was finding a way to make the three ingredients go together. If you think this challenge sounds a lot like Chopped, you’re right.

Host Ali Kahn, as seen on Spring Baking Championship, Season 4.

For this challenge, each team member had to create her own dessert and not make the same dessert as her partner. While this challenge seemed daunting, Spring Baking Championship recap always has a twist. In addition to the main baked item, the bakers had to make an ice cream that goes with both dishes.

Looking at the picnic basket ingredients, these ingredients seem quite unusual for a baking challenge. The combination could put fear into a novice baker. But, this is Spring Baking Championship. These bakers needed to be ready for these type of crazy challenges.

Looking at the ingredient combinations, the more unusual combinations seemed to be the most successful. It seemed that those bakers seemed to push themselves, which got the reward from the judges.

The oddest ingredient picnic basket was goat cheese, mushrooms and breadsticks. Mushrooms are so earthy that this ingredient in a sweet dish is strange. I give Cristina and Aaron a lot of credit in this challenge. Finding a way to make mushroom work is insanely difficult.

Although both of these dishes weren’t top choices, the creativity earned both bakers spots in next week’s round. Also, kudos to the judges who had to eat a mushroom dessert. While crazy flavor combinations are popping up everywhere, mushroom dessert shouldn’t be on anyone’s tasting menu.

One of the easier combinations was potato chips, salami and peaches. Who hasn’t put potato chips in a dessert these days? Granted, the salami could have been a slight twist, but it wasn’t impossible. Both Ruby and Nacho, especially with their advantage, should have done well.

Judges Nancy Fuller, Duff Goldman, and Lorraine Pascale with baker Ignacio Nacho Aguirre’s potato chip and pecan sponge cake with fresh peaches, white chocolate whipped cream, candied salami, and potato chip and pecan ice cream, as seen on Spring Baking Championship, Season 4.

Nacho stumbled because he overbaked his first cake. Having to make a second cake rattled him some. His flavors weren’t bold enough. The salami was too subtle. Also, his cake needed to be finished better with the decorations. Unfortunately, Nacho was a bottom baker.

The most surprising baking duo was Heather and Caleb. Their picnic basket ingredients were all over the map. Combining red pepper, cucumber and yogurt dip into a yummy treat is a tough one. Still, their desserts were both visually impressive and on point with flavor.

Caleb’s dessert, a dill cream corn cake with red pepper relish was a perfect Southern/farm inspired dish. The flavors were balanced and each component stood on its own. Nothing was hidden but at the same time, no flavor was overpowering. The presentation in the cast iron pan was smart too.

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Heather’s cream puff was a smart choice. While the dessert was slightly savory, the cucumber was the star of the dish. Using a cream puff to showcase the flavors was a smart decision. Also, the dish’s presentation was stunning. The bright colors epitomized Spring.

Both Heather and Caleb were top bakers in this Spring Baking Championship recap. Only one baker could win. Caleb just edged out Heather in this challenge. But, winning a challenge may not be a good thing. Sometimes, winning challenges can cause a stumble in the next challenge. Fans will have to wait and see what happens in next week’s Spring Baking Championship recap.

Host Ali Kahn and bakers Caleb Fischer and Heather Wong with their peanut and cherry cola pie with whipped cherry mascarpone and peanut powder, as seen on Spring Baking Championship, Season 4.

The bottom two bakers were Deepal and Nacho. Deepal knew that her dessert had issues. Her ingredients, olives, prosciutto and watermelon really stumped her. At first glance, these ingredients shouldn’t have been too difficult. Melon and prosciutto are a classic combination. Branching out to watermelon wasn’t that out of the box.

Deepal’s mistake came from her watermelon gelee. The watermelon didn’t set correctly and melted all over her olive oil cake. Additionally, using olives in an olive oil cake made sense, but her olive pieces were too large. Instead of a hint of brine from the olive it was a huge chunk.

Overall, Deepal didn’t incorporate all the ingredients well. Her flavors seemed disjointed. Adding to that situation a problem in execution, Deepal was sent home.

Truthfully, I would have chosen a different dessert to go home. I give Deepal credit for trying something creative. Some of the other desserts were too simple.

Also, I’m happy that Nacho stayed. Who can’t help but smile when he starts talking about fluffy desserts? If he makes a unicorn dessert, I won’t be able to stop laughing.

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Another Spring Baking Championship recap has come to a close. Do you agree with the baker voted out? Would you be able to create a yummy dessert with these picnic basket ingredients? Share your thoughts with us.