In the Buddy vs. Duff wedding cakes episode, a personal connection had everyone smiling as they saw this very artistic wedding cake interpretation.
The Buddy vs. Duff wedding cakes episode was everything that Food Network and food fans wanted. With the task of creating the ultimate wedding cake, the two acclaimed pastry chefs had very different interpretations of the theme. But, first they had to tackle plated desserts.
For the bake-off, Duff had a huge advantage. Plated desserts are very different than a traditional bakery dessert. For a plated dessert, there needs to be the perfect combination of flavor, texture and visual presentation. It is more than just a tasty bite.
Additionally, a plated dessert is generally a smaller portion than a bakery dessert. Each component needs to work separately and together. Presenting a huge slice of cake might satisfy the sweet tooth, but it isn’t the right bite for the end of a composed meal.
It seemed rather obvious that Duff would win this challenge. His meringues with candied kumquats, mint, chocolate mousse and topped with a black salt wafer cookie was as pretty to look at as it was to eat. While it was an old school pastry dessert, it was filled with immaculate details and modern twists.
Buddy had a disadvantage from the start. While his puff pastry cake was delicious, it wasn’t a plated dessert. It was a piece of cake on a plate. There is a difference.
Although Buddy used many different techniques and was very ambitious, it didn’t quite fit the challenge. Even though Buddy is extremely efficient in the kitchen (years of bakery experience require that skill), some short cuts aren’t necessarily designed for the restaurant kitchen. Buddy really pushed himself, but the restaurant experience helped Duff tremendously.
Overall, the bake-off played to Duff’s strengths. He won the challenge by a large margin. It wasn’t that Buddy’s dessert was bad; it just wasn’t right for this challenge.
Given that each pastry chef is able to rotate challenge themes, they try to play to their strengths. It is a competition. While each chef has years of experience, they have different expertise. Why wouldn’t they pick challenges that play to their strengths?
After Duff’s huge point advantage in the plated dessert challenge, the cake-off favored Buddy. His choice was wedding cakes. The Buddy vs. Duff wedding cakes episode was probably the most anticipated challenge for this season.
Wedding cakes are always a favorite on Food Network. This challenge showed how wedding cakes can be so very, very different. Although traditional wedding cakes stand the test of time, many modern cakes reflect the couple, not just tradition.
Looking at these two wedding cakes they are complete opposites. It is the ultimate statement of traditional versus modern. While everyone has their preference, both wedding cakes were incredible.
Buddy wanted to showcase every old school, traditional technique that a bridal cake could have. That cake was a tremendous amount of work. From sugar art to fondant to pipping, this cake had everything. Added to those techniques, the massive structure was visually impressive.
With a cake this big, it is almost difficult to see all the minute details. The sugar flowers looked real. With so many flowers, the intricacies seemed to get lost. As Keegan said, it was almost as if Buddy should have edited the wedding cake slightly. Like that old saying, look in the mirror and take off one accessory before leaving the house.
The downside to Buddy’s cake was that it was almost too traditional. While extremely well done, this type of wedding cake has been seen before. It wasn’t necessarily new or different. Although beautifully made, it wasn’t something that sparked imagination.
Duff’s cake was on the total opposite end of the spectrum. If this cake looked familiar, it is. After filming this episode, a version of this cake was used at Duff’s wedding. The wedding cake was that personal.
Using his own fiancé (now wife) as inspiration, this floating cake was the ultimate wow moment. Having cakes suspended from the ceiling is new, innovative and visually stunning. Additionally, the cake itself was beautiful.
Each cake had little details that were a nod to his now wife, like the seahorses having freckles. The cake was very personal to him. While this cake isn’t for everyone, it works for this couple.
But, Duff’s cake wasn’t perfect. He used inedible items in the display, which is not a wise choice. Also, some decorative aspects (like covering the bottoms of the cakes) were missed. When this cake was presented at his wedding, some of these items were changed.
Duff’s cake blended the line between artistry and cake. It was more than just flour and sugar. It caused people to have a reaction, which makes it more like art.
Again, like previous challenges, these cakes and these challenges really come down to how that cake relates to the person or event. Whether it is a birthday party, dog party or wedding, the cake needs to create a real, honest reaction. It isn’t always about what the person making the cake thinks is best.
This challenge was to create his version of an ultimate wedding. Both chefs created those cakes. Based on the judging criteria, one vision was just a little more creative than the other.
While not the expected outcome for many Food Network fans, Duff won the Buddy vs. Duff wedding cakes episode. In this episode, Duff won both challenges, which gives him an overall lead in the competition, 170 points to 176 points.
With two episodes remaining in the series, there is likely to be a shake-up next week. It doesn’t make for fun television to have one chef run away with the title. Most likely the title will be decided on the very last cake-off.
In next week’s episode, Buddy and Duff take on doughnuts and magic inspired cakes. Could Buddy pull a rabbit out of hat and take the lead next week? Food Network fans will have to tune in to find out.