Winner Cake All review: Big Game Day cakes score a huge win


In this week’s Winner Cake All review, big game day cakes take the field. Will these cakes capture victory or see the agony of defeat?

Big Game Day cakes can capture that winning moment in a perfect, sweet scene. For this Winner Cake All review, four teams of bakers look to put a mark in the winner’s column with some impressive cakes. Which cake will best capture the client’s wish list?

As this episode of Food Network’s Winner Cake All begins, it is rather clear that football will be included in the theme. The decorations behind Giada and the green colors in the tent seem to lend themselves to the football motif. If the bakers didn’t guess the theme prior to the announcement, they need to be more observant.

For the decoration challenge (really the cake topper challenge), the bakers had to create a decoration that symbolized the thrill of victory. While this theme is incredibly broad, the two teams seem to have similar ideas for this challenge. Was the coincidence a good or a bad omen?

It was a little curious that the bakers didn’t really think outside of the box for this challenge. Truthfully, the idea of thrill of victory is so incredibly broad, there were tons of ideas that could have be used. Sure, trophies and champagne bottles are iconic, but what about a bouquet of roses, an athlete with arms raised in victory or even a checkered flag?

In the decoration challenge, two bakers did champagne bottles. While neither one was perfection, both bottles earned Manny and Aubrey and Julie and Pam a spot in the second round. Although the judges criticized Julie and Pam for a simplicity design, there design was the most easy to understand. Sure, their proportions were off, but it was rather clean.

Lilian and Miranda had a nice story with their victory cup, but the decoration was a little sloppy. Even the minimal details had flaws. It wasn’t stellar but it earned them a spot in the final round.

Unfortunately, the team headed home was Sarah and James. Their idea of a Winner Cake All trophy was smart, but it had huge technical issues. No one wants a leaning trophy. With an unstable base, the trophy looked a little like it had been forgotten in the bottom of the trophy closet. It is unfortunate that their structure failed. The idea at least showed a little creativity.

For the main challenge, the client was former NFL player and Dancing with the Stars winner Rashad Jennings. He wanted a Big Game Day cake. The challenge sounded rather straightforward. Although there needed to be a reference to Dancing with the Stars (not just football), the theme wasn’t as difficult as previous Winner Cake All episodes.

Judges Zac Young and Damiano Carrara and client, former professional football player and Dancing with the Stars Champ, Rashad Jennings, during the judging of the Cake Challenge, as seen on Winner Cake All, Season 1.

Additionally, the preferred cake flavor was chocolate. So far, chocolate cake has been the predominate flavor in all these episodes. While chocolate cake is delicious, there are so many more cake flavors. Wouldn’t it be nice to see another flavor option? So many Food Network fans watch these shows for baking inspiration and tips. Maybe an upcoming episode will have something a little more out of the box.

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In addition to the chocolate cake, Jennings would like to incorporate fruit and some type of texture. When it comes to chocolate and fruit, the most obvious choice is raspberry. Although orange, or even strawberry, could work, these bakers didn’t go beyond the obvious.

Overall, these cake designs were impressive. While not necessarily as detailed as previous episodes, the reference to Big Game Day parties was clear. Also, the cakes found a way to incorporate Dancing with the Stars, too.

Even more impressive with this week’s cakes, the bakers didn’t have huge technical fails. So often in Winner Cake All, someone has a cake fall, a piece cut or some other glaring mistake. Granted, this week’s cakes weren’t perfect, but the flaws weren’t horrible.

While Lilian and Miranda’s idea to incorporate many of Jennings’ personal aspects was nice, the cake was a little jumbled. Some elements were lovely (like the football) and others were a mess (helmet). That helmet could have been a bad tiki mug or a reference to a nun. Either way, they should have left it off the cake.

The cake itself was ok. Their ganache was off. The proportion of chocolate to cream made the ganache too dense. Even though the cake was nice, the chocolate was too rich.

It is curious that Lilian and Miranda were the only team to use espresso in their chocolate cake. While this tip is often discussed, it is a little curious to know if that ingredient made the strong chocolate flavor too intense. There was mention of a hint of salt, but could have that been the bitter from the espresso?

Manny and Aubrey were the only team to specifically eliminate fruit from the cake. They decided to make a three layer cake with various layers, but no fruit flavors. The cake turned out more like a plated dessert.

This choice was smart. The options of ganache, praline buttercream and salted caramel butter cream all worked together. There was texture and progression. Fruit would have ruined this cake.

Overall, Manny and Aubrey were quite ambitious with their design. The full football player was an interesting concept, but his legs weren’t proportional (he definitely forgot leg day). Also, the choice of a spinning goal post was odd. Goal posts don’t spin. Sure, a fun moving element is cool, but it needs to be realistic.

Lastly, Julie and Pam used probably the smartest hack of the day. Their textured grass (colored, ground cereal) was visually impressive and a great cheat. It offered depth and texture. But, other elements of their design were off. The mirror ball looked like it was on a paper towel holder (or maybe it was a mis-proportioned band baton).

As for the chocolate cake itself, it was moist. Unfortunately, the combination of layers and flavors started to compete with each other. The raspberry compote, ganache and toffee crunch needed to be separated. Those flavors didn’t play as a team.

The bakers with the winning Big Game Day cake were Manny and Aubrey. Given the three options, their cake was the best, even without fruit.

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What did you think of this Winner Cake All review? Do you think that one of these cakes could inspire some Big Game Day cakes in your house?