Spring Baking Championship: Spring berries have bakers on a sweet roll


Spring berries are adding some big sweetness to this week’s Spring Baking Championship. Which baker was on a sweet roll and who saw the cookie crumble?

Finally all the Easter eggs have been eaten and the bakers are ready to tackle other Spring Baking Championship sweet treats. This week, spring berries take center stage. Unfortunately, those delicious berries don’t always bring the sweet ending. In this week’s episode, some bakers were on a sweet roll and others just saw their baking dreams crumble.

This week’s Spring Baking Championship opened with a picture of the berry tiny bake shop. Filled with tiny treats, the bakers should have guessed that the pre-heat challenge would involve both berries and tiny desserts. Each baker had to create a tiny dessert with a spring berry flavor.

A Berry Tiny Bake Shop on the set of Spring Baking Championship for the pre-heat challenge, as seen on Food Network’s Spring Baking Championship Season 4

First, who doesn’t love tiny desserts? Those picture perfect tiny treats on a plate are just adorable. Maybe the small size appeals to our desire to indulge without feeling overindulgent. One tiny treat can satisfy that sweet tooth, but who eats just one tiny dessert?

The bakers felt pressure not only to incorporate their specific spring berry but also to create pretty, tiny desserts. Who didn’t feel for Caleb in this challenge? He doesn’t exactly personify tiny dessert master.

Looking at these desserts, it was surprising which bakers seemed to perform well. At first glance, I would have guessed that Cristina and Aaron would have been the top pre-heat bakers. I was definitely wrong. While their desserts were nice, other bakers did much better.

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Heather had adorable mini desserts. The burnt meringue was a beautiful touch. More importantly, her flavors were on point.

Surprising everyone was the winner of the pre-heat, Ruby. After being criticized for disappointing decorating, Ruby knocked it out of the kitchen. Her huckleberry cakes were visually pretty and decorated well. Ruby earned a main heat advantage for her pre-heat win.

In the main heat, the bakers had to take on a difficult task, a patterned roll cake using spring berries. The decoration had to be baked into the roll cake; it looked like the cake had a pattern baked into it. First, making a good roll cake is hard; making a patterned roll cake was just cruel.

Truthfully, I wasn’t expecting the bakers to succeed. I was willing to bet that the patterns would have been more abstract than recognizable, the pattern would have been a swirled mess and baking disasters would be plentiful. I am excited to say that I was wrong.

The judges at the judges table for the pre-heat, as seen on Food Network’s Spring Baking Championship Season 4

For the most part, these sweet roll cakes were both pretty and tasty. Congrats to all the bakers on this week’s episode. Making one of these cakes in such a short period of time shows a lot of baking skill.
I will say that it would have been nice for Food Network to add a few more tips on making a roll cake.

The biggest take away tip from this challenge was to roll the cake while it is warm. If you don’t roll the cake when it is warm, the cake won’t roll correctly.

While I understand that many fans might not be making these patterned roll cakes at home, a few more tips could have been helpful. For example, why did Caleb use cake flour? Why did other bakers choose a particular style of cake? I don’t think that I would attempt a patterned spring roll cake without a lot of research (especially after watching this episode).

In addition to the patterned roll cake, the bakers had to create decorative patterned cookies. With the difficulty of the main challenge, bakers couldn’t let the challenge twist become an afterthought. Luckily a few bakers took the twist seriously.

Still, only one baker could win the main heat challenge. While I assumed that the judges would lean toward the prettiest spring roll cake, flavor prevailed. Looking at the top two bakers, both of them succeeded in all aspects, taste, decoration and the challenge twist.

Heather was a top baker this week. Her California poppy cake with strawberry was a pink delight. Also, her cookies mimicked the patterned roll cake. It was a smart choice. Even though she was panicked, Heather did extremely well.

Looking at Heather’s cake, I loved the idea that she used freeze dried strawberries in her treats. It is such a good idea that isn’t often used. I wonder what other freeze dried fruits could be used in this way.

Winning this week’s main heat challenge is the baker emerging as a fan favorite. Who doesn’t smile when he says it’s so fluffy? Somehow he just makes people smile.

Contestant Nacho discusses his dish plans with host Ali Khan in the main heat challenge, as seen on Food Network’s Spring Baking Championship Season 4

Nacho’s cake was pretty, but more importantly it was smart. Both the cookies and the cake paired together well. Also, who wouldn’t want a little ducle de leche flavor to balance the tartness of the lemon curd. I am definitely borrowing this flavor combination.

Looking at the main heat, one baker avoided the bottom by a cookie save. Aaron’s special cookie wowed the judges. Somehow this cookie melts in your mouth. The recipe has cornstarch, which creates the effect. This cookie sounds like something Aaron should definitely market.

Unfortunately one baker does have to leave the kitchen. This episode’s two bottom bakers were Cristina and Ruby. In this challenge, I would have thought that Cristina would have excelled. Decorating is her sweet spot.

The judges examine contestant Ruby’s completed dish from the pre-heat challenge, as seen on Food Network’s Spring Baking Championship Season 4

Cristina’s two mistakes could have been avoided. First, she added too much gelatin to her patterned roll cake mousse. Mousse shouldn’t jiggle like jello. Also, she made the same cookies from the pre-heat for the twist. This choice was poor. The judges want to see more. Her cookies were a cop out.

Ruby fell hard after winning the pre-heat. First, she didn’t use her advantage well. With the help of last year’s Spring Baking Championship winner, she should have had him make her cookies. He only did decorations, which was a waste of her advantage.

Also, Ruby’s flavors were off. The golden berries are sour, not sweet spring berries. She needed to balance the sour with something else. Ruby didn’t find the right flavor balance in her dessert. Unfortunately, Ruby was sent home this week.

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Did spring berries inspire you to bake up some sweet treats this week? Looks like the week ahead is looking very berry good.