Spring Baking Championship Season 5 premiere recap: Colorful spring bounty


Spring Baking Championship Season 5 premiere showcased a colorful spring bounty on the first episode. Which baker missed the Spring harvest?

A Food Network favorite is back. Spring Baking Championship Season 5 premiere had bakers and food fans ready for a bountiful spring harvest. With ten bakers dreaming of the title Spring Baking Champion, one baker had her hopes dashed. Whose water color cake missed the mark?

In the first episode of Spring Baking Championship, a noticeable difference was clear. In seasons past, the baking competition was a combination of professional bakers and home bakers. This season’s group of chefs are a very prestigious bunch. From Michelin Star pastry chefs to a former Iron Chef sous chef, this group is a very talented bunch.

Also, this season has a new host. Clinton Kelly had joined returning judges Nancy Fuller, Duff Goldman and Lorraine Pascale. The combination of these four culinary minds is a breath of fresh air. Given the banter on the first episode, the entire season should be an entertaining one.

For the first challenge, the bakers had to create baked doughnuts that were based on Spring animals. Some of the animals didn’t necessarily scream Spring. (Where were the bunnies and chicks?). While the doughnut flavors were elevated, the decorations seemed more dreary, rainy spring than vibrant, blooming color.

Given some of the animals, the doughnuts seemed a little drab. Making a porcupine or a chipmunk look less brown isn’t easy. Truthfully, the creative, decorative interpretation of this challenge was a little lacking. Only a few doughnuts really looked like the animals or referenced the animals.

With decorations a little lackluster, the judges focused on flavor. When it comes to a baked doughnut, the key is for the doughnut to be light and flavorful. A few doughnuts were heavy and one was a little burnt.

Granted the first challenge and episode is hard. Still, these bakers and pastry chefs should be able to make a good doughnut. They should have had a recipe or idea in their back pocket. It is curious that there wasn’t more good doughnuts.

The winning doughnut was Ricardo’s bear. His doughnut was the clearly a bear and his decoration was easily the best. More importantly, his doughnut flavor was on point.

By splitting the doughnut and filling it with a Japanese strawberry cream, he easily won the flavor battle. The choice was different yet approachable. Given this creative approach to the challenge, it will be interesting to see what he does for the rest of the competition.

For winning the pre-heat, Ricardo is able to choose his flavor and theme for the main heat. With an advantage in the first challenge, Ricardo should choose wisely. No one wants to go home in the first episode.

Host Clinton Kelly announces the rules of the challenge for the main heat, water color cakes, as seen on Spring Baking Championship, Season 5.

The theme for the main heat is a water color cake that incorporates a Spring fruit or vegetable. The flavors were all very different. From apricot to fennel, some choices were easier than others. With his advantage, Ricardo choose strawberry (an easier choice that fennel).

Looking at these cakes, the bakers seemed to miss the mark on the decoration aspect. Water color cakes are a kaleidoscope of colors. Making this type of cake Spring-themed is relatively straightforward. It was slightly disappointing that these cakes weren’t as vibrant as they could have been.

Since every main heat as a twist, the bakers had to incorporate a 3D representation of the Spring ingredient. Additionally, the decoration had to use a specific decorative tool, like fondant, gum paste and even isomalt.

This twist was probably the most difficult part of the challenge. Some decorations were easy. Making a gum paste or fondant carrot is doable. Making an isomalt strawberry would take a lot of time and patience.

Like many Food Network competitions, the Spring Baking Championship Season 5 premiere didn’t focus too much on any one cake or baker. Little snippets went from cake to cake and baker to baker. If the baker got more air time (or the dreaded phrase, I don’t want to be the first one out), fans could have guessed a potential outcome.

It was curious that two of the top cakes featured carrot as the secret ingredient. Carrot cakes are often super flavorful. The warm, inviting spices make the cake an explosion of flavor. When this cake is done well, it is a delicious bite.

Winning the first challenge was Tracey. Her carrot cake impressed the judges with her spices. Duff even commented that her cake was one of the best carrot cakes that he has ever had.

More importantly, her cake decoration was beautiful. The judges commented that it was reminiscent of a Monet painting. The pastels seemed to bloom all around the cake. It was a feast for the eyes.

Unfortunately, two bakers were less successful. Based on clips throughout the episode, those two bottom bakers were predicable. Cody, who said that he didn’t want to be the first one voted out, and Kendra, who had batter issues, were on the bottom.

Cody was a sous chef to Michael Symon on Iron Chef. The current pastry school instructor missed his mark on the cake. His fennel was cartoon-like and quite disappointing from a pastry school instructor.

Additionally, his fennel flavor wasn’t pronounced. While he did use fennel powder, the licorice flavor was slightly hidden by the apple. Although apple and fennel is a delicious combination, the goal was to highlight the fennel.

Kendra’s cake was a miss on many levels. Her Spring ingredient was cherry. This cake was more bloody red, Halloween cherry than welcome to springtime cherry.

Looking at the decoration, her cake did not embrace light, pretty cherry colors. Duff commented that her cake looked more like a meat cake than water color. Truthfully, it would be better suited for a Halloween cake given the color combination.

Also, the cake was lacking cherry flavor. While she did incorporate some pieces of cherry, it wasn’t enough. The cake was just a miss on several levels.

The first baker eliminated on Spring Baking Championship Season 5 premiere was Kendra. Based on the color and flavor, it was the right choice.

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What did you think of the Spring Baking Championship Season 5 premiere? Do you have a favorite baker from the first episode?