Best Baker in America recap: Apple cheesecake is a New York state of mind


In this week’s Best Baker in America recap, apple New York cheesecake proved tricky for some of the competition’s favorite bakers.

As the season starts to come to a close, this week’s Best Baker in America recap took on two East Coast favorite desserts. Apple New York cheesecake, not a traditional flavor combination, saw a few favorite bakers stumble. Could a skill challenge win save a popular baker from elimination?

In this week’s skills challenge, the bakers take on Boston cream pies. This dessert is a little confusing, since it is cake, not a pie. The bakers needed to create six Boston cream pies with a decorative element. The dessert must have the correct texture and be flavorful. It was a tall challenge to tackle in just 90 minutes.

Host Scott Conant presents the Skills Challenge, Mini Boston Cream Pie, East Coast Classics, as seen on Best Baker in America, Season 2. photo provided by Food Network

Two bakers had a little mis-step with the cake portion. Unfortunately Leigh and Becca had a sponge to filling ratio issue. With there being too much cake, the delicate pastry creams got lost. It was disappointing to see those two bakers struggle. The flavors of their Boston cream pies sounded quite good. Unfortunately, the ratio issues were a technical flaw.

It wasn’t surprising to see Adam again in the top position in a Skills Challenge. Adam excels in the skills challenges. His Boston cream pie was a lovely, upscale dessert. The flavors were on point and it was beautiful. It was clear that he won the Skills Challenge.

In last week’s Best Baker in America recap, winning the Skills Challenge saved Lasheeda from elimination. Although winning the Skills Challenge doesn’t mean that one baker is safe, it can help keep that baker in the competition.

Still, Adam is on quite a roll. He has won several Skills Challenges and last week’s Master Challenge. Is he steamrolling the competition to the finale or could a simple mistake get him eliminated?

In this week’s Best Baker in America recap Master Challenge, the bakers had to create a New York cheesecake that features apple as a flavor. With only three hours to cook and decorate a New York style cheesecake, the bakers were definitely concerned with time management.

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New York style cheesecake has a quite distinct texture and flavor. Since this version uses sour cream, the flavor has a tangy quality. Also, the texture is quite smooth and creamy. If either of these qualities are missing, that baker might out of the running for a Master Challenge win.

Apple and cheesecake was a curious combination. While apples and cheese are a common pairing, this dessert flavor combination needs a delicate balance. The apples need to be featured but they shouldn’t overpower the cheesecake itself. If the bakers can find that key balance, the dessert will surely impress the judges.

After an up and down challenge in last week’s Best Baker in America recap, Lasheeda surged to the top of the Master Challenge. Her approach of an apple and blueberry cheesecake was creative. Even with the two distinct flavors, the blueberries didn’t overpower the apples nor the tang of the cheesecake.

Equally impressive was her luster dust blueberries. The dessert looked polished. It was definitely a top dessert and won over the judges.

The other top baker was equally surprising. Becca surged to the top with her apple bourbon cheesecake. Although her garnishes were a little monochromatic, her flavor combinations won over the judges. Plus, her apple skin garnish was compared to an apple bacon. What isn’t better with bacon?

Judges Joshua John Russell, Jason Smith, and Marcela Valladolid with Host Scott Conant during the judging of Master Challenge, The Ultimate New York Cheesecake, East Coast Classics, as seen on Best Baker in America, Season 2. photo provided by Food Network

The classic combination of apples, bourbon and a flakey crust earned Becca the win. More importantly, her dessert brought the best line of the night from Jason Smith. He said after eating her dessert, slap the hog and put her in the books. Maybe it was the bourbon, but Smith got a great line for this Best Baker in America episode.

Two bakers were in the middle. While their cheesecakes weren’t great, their decorative elements kept them away from the danger zone. Jean Francois had an abstract cheesecake with lots of chocolate work. Although his cheesecake was a little grainy, his presentation was successful.

Max impressed the bakers with his blown sugar apple. That decoration showed skill and creativity. But, his cheesecake texture was off. It wasn’t creamy enough. Still, these two baker survived for another week.

Unfortunately, two bakers were in the bottom. Adam and Leigh were up for elimination. Adam fell hard after winning the Skills Challenge. His two cheesecake dessert wasn’t a smart choice. After his cylinder fell, he should have ditched the no-bake cheesecake element.

Adam suffered from a mistake that many Iron Chefs make. A duo can be a chef’s downfall. One amazing element can be canceled out by the sub-par element. It is better to make one dessert extremely well.

In this dessert, Adam had a big presentation. It was over the top. While his New York style cheesecake was quite good, his no bake cheesecake was bad. It brought the whole dessert down.

Leigh suffered a major technical flaw. The middle of her cheesecake wasn’t set. I’m not sure if her cheesecake was a tad too thick, which caused the baking issue. It seemed that other bakers made thinner cheesecakes to ensure that the dessert was cooked and rested.

Although Leigh’s cheesecake had a technical flaw, her flavors were quite interesting. The crust featured caraway seeds. The creative nod to New York was unique. That flavor with the apples and cheesecake sound the most innovative of the bunch.

Unfortunately, Leigh’s technical mistake caused her to be eliminated from Best Baker in America. I am sad that Leigh is gone. If you have a chance to dine at Nico Osteria in Chicago, don’t miss that opportunity. Her desserts are a highlight of that dining experience.

What did this Best Baker in America recap show fans? Any baker can go from the top to the bottom of the competition. Any mistake, even a little one, could get a baker sent home. Could Adam rebound or will this week’s mistake have him rattled? Can Jean-Francois take over the competition? Will an underdog take the title?

Next: Incredibles 2 themed recipes: Dole powers the hero within

Be sure to come back next week to see which bakers are still in the Best Baker in America competition. Who are you routing for this season?