Buddy vs. Duff winner had an ace up his chef coat

Hosts Buddy Valastro and Duff Goldman at the Food Network Studios during the Surprise Proposal challenge, as seen on Buddy vs Duff, Season 1. Image courtesy Anders Krusberg, Food Network
Hosts Buddy Valastro and Duff Goldman at the Food Network Studios during the Surprise Proposal challenge, as seen on Buddy vs Duff, Season 1. Image courtesy Anders Krusberg, Food Network /

The Buddy vs. Duff winner earned the crown King of Cake. But, did one chef seem to have an ace up his chef coat throughout the whole season?

After a six episode baking competition, the Buddy vs. Duff winner has been named. With a back and forth competition throughout the Food Network competition, only one pastry chef earned the coveted baking title. Did you correctly predict the winner?

Looking back at the season, the baking competition did have a lot of back and forth moments. While both Buddy Valastro and Duff Goldman had their specialties, each chef impressed the judges week after week with these confectionary creations. Still, only one chef could win.

Going into this week’s episode, the competition was tied. With just two challenges deciding their fate, both Buddy and Duff really needed to push the creativity level. In some cases that creativity helped their efforts and in other cases the creativity caused a slight failure.

For the bake-off, the two chefs had to create chocolate desserts that could conceal an engagement ring for two Food Network super fans. Given the time constraints, both chefs needed to balance the decorative aspect as well as the taste factor. Even the most beautiful dessert needs to taste delicious.

Throughout the season, Duff has had an advantage in the bake-off. With this pastry chef training, he can think beyond cake. This chocolate dessert captured that idea.

Judge Keegan Gerhard, Guest Judge Gesine Prado, Judge Sherry Yard, and Guest Judge Florian Bellanger at the Food Network Studios during the Surprise Proposal challenge, as seen on Buddy vs Duff, Season 1. photo provided by Food Network

His take on the pearl in a shell was visually impressive. While the mirror glaze didn’t quite work as intended, the end result was still pretty. Unfortunately, the sugar crystals did slightly overpower the flavor of the delicate dessert.

Still, Duff’s dessert showed numerous techniques. Again, he really pushed himself in this second to last challenge. The judges appreciated the effort.

Buddy went in a more traditional route. His chocolate dessert looked like a small, chocolate wedding cake. While the ring was hidden in a box on top of the cake, he could have done more.

Granted, the cake was tasty and it was pretty. The downside was that it was just a tiered cake. Chocolate flowers and delicate piping didn’t change the essence of the dessert itself.

Winning the bake-off was Duff. With this win, he had a six point lead going into the final cake-off to determine the Buddy vs. Duff winner. While Buddy has had great success in the cake-off challenges, he has a lot of points to capture. Still, no one should ever count out Buddy.

The theme for the final cake-off is a science cake for the Franklin Institute’s science after hours event. Given the theme, both Buddy and Duff had a vast amount of possibilities. As seen in their final cakes, both chefs took unique approaches to the last cake.

In traditional Buddy fashion, he went huge. Instead of just one cake, Buddy made three scenes and a rocket ship. The three very different scenes, each with moving parts, was extremely ambitious.

From a distance, this cake display was incredibly impressive. From the rocket ship with sparks out the back to swimming prehistoric fish to bouncing astronauts, Buddy seemed to cover it all.

Granted, the pyro at the end of the presentation was a little much. Still, he was trying to convey that he is and will always be the Cake Boss.

While this cake display captured the imagination and awe that makes science engaging, it is a lot of cake. Some little details might have been off, but each element worked technically (scientifically), the gears moved, the rocket flew, etc. Buddy delivered on the execution.

On the flip side, Duff stayed true to his concept and approach. This time he even delivered on more cake, which has been a criticism in previous challenges. The lunar lander and rover was as ambitious as any other cake this season.

Duff had to key execution elements with this cake, landing the lunar module and having the rover deliver the cupcake. While he was successful with the lander landing, the rover never made it off the ship. This element was quite disappointing.

While the gadget execution wasn’t perfect, Duff was smart with making a small tiered cake with the various NASA mission patches. These patches showed Duff’s artistic side and the versatility that he offers as a chef.

The judges had a very tough decision with both of these cake displays. Based just on size and visual impression, Buddy clearly wins. It was interactive, crowd pleasing and a creative cake display. For the first time this season, Buddy pulled all the elements together.

Although Duff’s cake display was very creative, there were mistakes. If a fun gadget doesn’t work, the overall execution fails. Even though Duff had the performance aspect, the cake display didn’t compare to Buddy’s presentation.

Winning the last cake-off was Buddy. But, there was a six point difference going into this last challenge. Was that final cake grand enough to overcome that deficit?

The Buddy vs. Duff winner was Duff Goldman. With a final score of 258 to 254, Duff earned the crown King of Cake.

Looking at this competition as a whole, it showed how two chefs work in very different world. While both are amazing pastry chefs, their approaches to cake and desserts are very, very different.

Buddy is a professional baker. His strengths come from the large scale work. In a professional bakery, he needs to make lots of products on a bigger scale. Plated desserts, cutting edge techniques and flavors aren’t necessarily his strength.

On the opposite side, Duff is uber creative. With his experience as a restaurant pastry chef and Charm City Cakes, he focuses on the smaller side which allows him to explore creativity. From intricate design to elevated presentation, Duff excels in those areas.

While the Buddy vs. Duff winner has been crowned, the Food Network left the door open to continue this competition in the future. The final moments left everyone wondering is a rematch is on the horizon. Given the popularity of this series, more Buddy vs. Duff seems quite possible.

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Did the judges pick the right Buddy vs. Duff winner? What did you think of this Food Network show?