Holiday Baking Championship Season 5 winner unveiled the perfect holiday gift

The Holiday Baking Championship Season 5 winner delighted the judges with the perfect holiday gift. But, did you predict which baker was crowned champion?

Which baker earned the title Holiday Baking Championship Season 5 winner? The three finalists on last night’s finale all had impressed the judges throughout the season. From fabulous flavors to epic decorative pieces, these bakers are at the top of their game. Which baker earned the title and the baking glory?

Since this episode was the finale, Food Network fans expected the bakers to be visually creative and have delicious flavors. With all twists and unusual ingredients being pushed aside for the finale, the bakers got to concentrate on baking. The desserts in the finale were some of the best treats all season long.

In the pre-heat, the bakers had to create edible Christmas ornaments. Each baker had two-hours to make two dozen ornaments in a holiday display. With no flavor requirements, dessert requirements or other limitations, this pre-heat really showed how that bakers approach desserts.


Judges Nancy Fuller, Lorraine Pascale, and Duff Goldman exmaine contestant Lerome Campbell’s dish from the pre-heat, as seen on Holiday Baking Championship, Season 5. photo provided by Food Network


While each baker’s desserts had a personal connection, the flavors and approaches were very different. Douglas had more elevated, plated dessert vibe. His orbs were almost flawless. The unfortunate use of tin foil on top was a mistake. Still, the flavor of these desserts was on point.

Also, his cookies were quite tasty, but the décor was a little rushed. His piping work wasn’t his best. Maybe the judges should have eaten those sandwich cookies with their eyes closed.

Lerome make desserts that were inspired by his kids. The cookie with his daughter’s name was cute. The flavors were lovely.

More importantly, his tea cake was delicious. Although Nancy wanted a little more rum, it was both flavorful and festive.

Sarah stumbled a little in this challenge. Unfortunately, she didn’t make enough cookie dough to complete all her cookies. Having to make additional dough set her back.

Although the flavors of her cookie were impressive (who doesn’t love a spicy, chocolate ganache), her cookies were a lacking in appearance. Some of the poor gingerbread men looked like they were having a Christmas hangover.

The baker winning the pre-heat on the Holiday Baking Championship finale was Lerome. The judges appreciated his flavors and attention to detail. For winning the pre-heat, Lerome was able to choose his cake flavor in the finale challenge. Also, the other bakers couldn’t choose that flavor.

In the final main heat challenge, the bakers created a cake which had a surprise element inside. When the cake, which looked like a present, was cut, the inside revealed a surprise. With Lerome having chocolate cake, Douglas and Sarah had to choose their flavors wisely.


Contestant Lerome Campbell and host Jesse Palmer laugh while discussing Lerome’s dish for the pre-heat, as seen on Holiday Baking Championship, Season 5. photo provided by Food Network

This type of challenge can really push the bakers’ creativity. Throughout the season, the bakers had to make all type of desserts, but decorative cakes are very different. Some bakers can make perfectly plated desserts, but large, decorative cakes aren’t in the skill set. To be the Holiday Baking Championship Season 5 winner, this baker needs to show all types of baking skills.

The three finale cakes were very different. While the theme had to be a gift box, each baker had a very different interpretation. Douglas went for a wine gift box. Lerome chose a colorful, kid inspired motif. Sarah went bold red and a traditional gift box. The very different designs really captured the bakers’ personalities.

Sarah’s cake had the simplest design, but the boldest color. The red gift box with white ribbon made an impression. Since she went so simple, the tiny flaws were a little more apparent.

Her hidden element was an ornament. Unfortunately during the reveal, there was a little mistake. It was saved, but it lost the wow factor.

The judges appreciated her flavor and texture. Unfortunately, they didn’t like the overuse of red food coloring. The contrast between the bright red and the delicate cake was a little harsh.

Douglas employed some good and some clunky ideas on his cake. While the chocolate coating created a pristine finish to his cake, the painted candy cane strips were a little amateur. Those stripes were in direct contrast to the other beautiful elements.

When Douglas cut into his cake, there was a perfect little green Christmas tree. Although slightly pixel-like imagery, it really worked for the reveal. It was hard to believe that he had never tried this type of cake design.

More importantly, Douglas’ cake was delicious. While the orange flavor was a little muted, the sponge was moist. Douglas can definitely bake a tasty cake.

Lerome took the non-traditional approach to this challenge. Any parent knows that kid wrapped Christmas presents are about the effort, not the perfection. His colorful, very colorful cakes captured that idea. Although not immediately screaming holiday, the cakes were bright and cheerful.

Taking a different approach to the reveal challenge, Lerome hid a snowman in the middle of his cake. I don’t know if this choice really adhered to the challenge. If the cake was to reveal a design, this cake didn’t comply with the challenge. If the cake was to reveal a hidden element, then it did. The snowman element was cute, but it made the challenge confusing.

While the chocolate cake and buttercream were tasty, Lerome’s cake did have a mistake. He incorporated his slightly burnt hazelnuts. Duff could taste the slightly burnt flavor. Although not admitting to the error, there was an error in his finale bake.

The baker named Holiday Baking Championship Season 5 winner was Douglas. His cake was the best of the three. Additionally, Douglas only had one bad bake all season. Given his vast knowledge and ability, he is definitely deserving of the title Holiday Baking Champion.

Related Story: Eddie Jackson talks about his experience on Christmas Cookie Challenge

As this season of Holiday Baking Championship comes to a close, there were a few items that will be remembered. First, green apple and coffee never go together (please, let this combination never happen again). Fruitcake can be quite tasty, when done well. Lastly, a dessert needs to scream holiday and, for at least one judge, can often use a touch more alcohol.

What was your favorite episode of Holiday Baking Championship Season 5? Did you pick up any holiday baking tips this season? Who’s excited for the next season of the Baking Championship programs?

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