Spring Baking Championship review: Everything is coming up roses


As the Spring Baking Championship season approaches the finale, this week’s review had everything coming up roses for all but one baker.

Which three bakers earned a spot in the finale of Spring Baking Championship season 5? In this week’s episode, the bakers were feeling tickled pink. From rose all day to all pink confections, these bakers didn’t need rose colored glasses. Still, one baker came up just a little short.

When an episode starts with bottles of rose and cheese, it is going to be a fun event. On a perfect Spring day, there is nothing better than a glass of chilled rose and a plate of delicious cheese. For these bakers, the flavor combinations proved slightly trickier than just a traditional cheese plate.

Looking at the desserts from the pre-heat, the individual desserts seemed to have a lot of creativity. In a way, the cheese was a difficult ingredient to find the right balance. Highlighting both the cheese and the rose needed the right dessert.

If I had to choose one of the desserts, I would have chosen Karina’s chevre cheesecake. Just looking at her plate, it was so pretty. The rose foam paired with the cheesecake was smart. She was able to find the right consistency in her cheesecake, which isn’t an easy feat. But, she wasn’t the judges’ favorite dessert.

Big kudos needs to go to Cory who probably had the most difficult cheese, manchego. This nutty cheese is great on a cheese plate, but not common in a dessert. As the judges stated, it is bizarre, but it works. Still, he did not win.

Judges Lorraine Pascale, Duff Goldman, and Nancy Fuller sample contestant Cory Berrett’s dish from the pre-heat, as seen on Spring Baking Championship, Season 5. photo provided by Food Network

Winning another pre-heat was Saber. After having professed that he really doesn’t like cheese, his tart was awarded the win. The brie tart had the best tart shell. He definitely knows how to make a beautiful pastry.

Truthfully, he made a dessert cheese plate. The tart shell replaced a cracker or bread. Brie is often served with figs. It was the right combination to highlight both the cheese and the rose.

For winning the pre-heat, Saber’s advantage in the main heat was decorative. He was able to choose first from the decorations table.

While this season hasn’t had a lot of gamesmanship, this episode was different. Saber choose to wait till the last seven minutes of the challenge to use the decorations. This choice definitely put the other three bakers at a disadvantage.

In the main heat, one dessert would cause a baker to come up just short of the Spring Baking Championship finale. To continue the pink theme, the bakers had to create an all pink dessert featuring pink ingredients. This challenge is definitely a run for the roses.

Host Clinton Kelly poses for a photo, as seen on Spring Baking Championship, Season 5. photo provided by Food Network

Before talking about all the desserts, the color schemes seemed a little too pink in this challenge. It seemed that everyone used some shade of bubble gum, bright pink. With so many hues in the rainbow, it would have been nice to see gradations or layers of pink. Sometimes too much pink isn’t a good thing.

Looking at the desserts, Cory definitely had the winning dessert. From his pulled sugar work to his perfect layers, Cory’s dessert was divine. While he could have used slightly different colors of pink, his dessert definitely earned him a spot in the finale.

Also, Cory used one of my favorite ingredients, pink lemons. If you haven’t discovered that citrus fruit, find it in the store. The rind is a striped green while the inside is a pale pink hue. The flavor is subtle. More importantly, it makes a lovely visual in a cocktail.

As for the other three desserts, each baker had a few mistakes. Karina made a Pavlova. While the idea was smart, the execution was lacking. Her meringue was slightly broken, which lead to her dessert being misshaped.

But, Karina excelled in the layers of flavor and color. Her use of the pink passionfruit was smart. It offered a different texture. Additionally, her cream was praised by the judges. She earned a spot in the finale.

The bottom two bakers were Ricardo and Saber. All season, it would have seemed that these two bakers were a shoe in for the finale. It goes to show that each baker is only as good as his last dessert.

Ricardo definitely had the hardest ingredient. Pink grapefruit can go bitter very quickly. His modern layer cake avoided that trap. More importantly, the changes in textures impressed the judges.

Unfortunately, Ricardo’s decoration was sloppy. Thinking back to his Easter bonnet debacle, Ricardo needs more precision in his decoration. While this futuristic design was ok, it had a few too many errors.

Saber’s dessert had several mistakes. While his chocolate mousse tasted like ice cream, the rose flavoring did not come through the dessert. There seemed to be a balance issue with the dessert.

Looking at this dessert, did Saber make an entremets earlier in the season? It seems like he has made this dessert (although in different flavors) previously. Somehow the judges either didn’t catch it or the dessert was different enough not to raise the question.

Also, his decorative macarons were under-baked. While the idea could have been good, the execution flaw brought down the dessert. It goes to show that edible decorations need to be on point.

The baker sent home on this week’s Spring Baking Championship was Ricardo. His mistakes were more plentiful. It is unfortunate that he will not be in the finale. Many of his desserts this season were spectacular.

Going into the Spring Baking Championship finale next week, the advantage seems to go to Cory. He has proven to have the most well-rounded background of all the bakers. If he can keep his flavors in check, execute well and make some impressive decorations, the title could be his.

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Who do you think will earn the title in next week’s Spring Baking Championship finale?