Buddy vs. Duff episode review: Have the cakes gone to the dogs?


In this week’s Buddy vs. Duff episode review, the two esteemed pastry chefs might have let this week’s theme go a little extreme. Has everyone gone dog crazy?

Food Network is making food fans hungry again. For this Buddy vs. Duff episode review, the episode had intricate, big dog inspired cakes but also shared some amazing pastry techniques for the home baker. Still, only one pastry chef will earn the title King of Cakes. Who is in the lead at the end of this episode?

While the cake challenge brings the visually impressive cakes to the forefront, the bake-off challenge celebrates the sweet treats that inspire a “normal” baker. Many home bakers love making pies. While the “home” pies might not be this magnificent, both Duff and Buddy shared important pie tips this week.

The first challenge was relatively straight forward. Each baker had to create a pie that was both tasty and beautiful. Just like previous episodes, both Buddy and Duff have very different approaches to that broad theme.

While three hours might seem like a lot of time, the time frame is relatively short. Pie dough can be tricky. Keeping the butter cold is key to any good pie dough. Given the time frame, the pastry chefs needed to be efficient in their baking choices.

Both chefs used different pie crusts. Buddy created a more dough-like pie crust. Overall, this type of pie dough is more forgiving. Like in previous challenges, Buddy took the more traditional, old school approach. Those years of experience were on full display.

Duff’s pie dough featured a flaky, pastry dough concept. While there was some initial concern about over-working the dough, Duff succeeded in creating, flaky, buttery layers in his pie crust. The judges were clearly impressed with his dough.

Looking at the two pies, Duff clearly succeeded in over-achieving (again). His fish decoration on the pie accomplished the beautiful aspect. While not a traditional pie (nothing Duff does is traditional), this pie found a great balance between technique and artistry.

Again, Buddy went old school. While the big, literally big, pie was over the top, it didn’t really achieve the beautiful aspect. Where was something different, exciting or new? While the pie was tasty, it needed something more.

While judges Keegan and Sherri had positives and negatives to say about both pies, it was a clear (and huge) victory for Duff. From flaky crust to decoration to smart technique, Duff was the clear winner.

In this challenge, Buddy needed to push the boundaries more. While the different types of banana was tasty, he needed a touch of modern. A different texture, a touch of color (not grey from cooked banana) or even an unusual flavor might have helped (except cinnamon in blueberry compote – apparently that combination is a don’t). Buddy needs a boost of modern in one of his desserts.

With that challenge win, Duff surged into the lead. Although this series competition won’t be a blow out (it doesn’t make sense that the competition wouldn’t be close throughout the whole season), the big swing in scores is interesting. Duff proved in this episode that he is more than just the cake guy. Can Duff use that point swing to his advantage?

In the cake challenge, this week’s theme has definitely gone to the dogs. The idea was to celebrate a dog’s life. Again, the approach to the theme was very different.

At least this week, Duff decided to go a little bigger. Duff deserves a lot of credit for his stories. His dog that was dressed up and turned into a unicorn was adorable. The clean work, precision and artistry deserves more accolades. Sometimes the difficulty of his cakes aren’t celebrated enough.

Buddy, of course again, goes huge. The three dog cake is visually impressive. This week’s cake had more movement than his previous cakes. From the fur on the sheep dog to the Frenchie holding the bone, it was a fantastical scene.

Given the responses from the audience and the judges, it seemed a little predictable who would win this challenge. Fans should have guessed that Buddy was going to score another victory. The odds were in his favor.

At the end of this episode, the competition has just one point separating Buddy and Duff. With his overwhelming victory in the pie challenge, Duff has a one point edge over Buddy. As expected, the competition should go down to the final episode and challenge.

A couple of items that were concerning about this week’s cake challenge. Buddy’s choice to add dog poop on the back of the cake was wrong. Yes, humor is always a good idea and edible poop can be funny. Truthfully, this addition seemed a little gimmicky and for show only. That item should have been edited from the display.

Also, another episode passes where no one eats the cake. Granted the visual is amazing, but shouldn’t these cakes be eaten, too? In other Food Network cake competitions, the cake is eaten. Why are Buddy and Duff getting a pass on the cake flavor?

Granted, the first part of each episode focuses on a pastry/baking challenge. Still, creating a visually impressive cake should still have a tasty cake inside. Why does this challenge only focus on one aspect?

By the same token, have you noticed how little cake is used in some of these displays? If the king of cake crown is on the line, where’s the actual cake in the display? Maybe the title is king of cake art, but that doesn’t sound as catchy.

Is Buddy vs. Duff entertaining? The answer is absolutely yes. Beyond the amazing cakes, the banter between the two chefs is great television. While good sportsmanship is important (luckily no one has walked out again), the spirited fun is what fans want to see.

Additionally, the baking tips from this episode in particular are great for the home baker. While most people will never be able to make those amazing cakes, they can learn to bake a better pie. They can learn a technique or two that will make them a better baker. Those learning moments are as important as the big show pieces.

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What did you think of this week’s

Buddy vs. Duff

episode review? Did the judges get it right? More importantly, are you #TeamDuff or #TeamBuddy?