In the Spring Baking Championship season finale, the Spring Baking Championship winner created impeccable sweet treats that any mom would love.
While mom wears the crown on Mother’s Day, the Spring Baking Championship winner earned the Food Network baking crown. In the season finale, these mom-inspired treats were definitely filled with love. Which baker walked away with the ultimate baking gift?
Going into the finale, three bakers sought the coveted Food Network title. Cory, Saber and Karina all had proven themselves through Spring Baking Championship Season 5. While each baker had highs and lows, the finale showcased some of their best baking skills.
For the pre-heat, the bakers had to create cocktail inspired treats that a mom would love. The two baked treats had to highlight a specific cocktail, mimosa, mai-tai and mojito. While these cocktails might be popular, the flavors can prove to be a little tricky.
Highlighting the flavors of these particular cocktails would take a deft hand. Additionally, these desserts needed to nod to creativity. Since it was the Spring Baking Championship finale, these bakers needed to bring their A game.
Saber had mojito and chose to make a non-alcoholic version for this desserts. As fans have seen all season, Saber’s tarts were divine. The crust was sublime and the tart was bursting with spring colors. Although the lime curd was citrus forward, the mint was missing.
For his second dessert, Saber make an éclair. While the cracklin on top was a nice touch, the flavor was missing mint, again. Even though he added mint extract (truthfully a big Spring Baking Championship don’t), the mint flavor never quite came through.
Cory’s desserts focused on mimosa. Truthfully, this cocktail was quite difficult. It can be hard to highlight the sparkling wine in any dessert. Cory’s choices of desserts were smart given his inspiration.
Cory made a mimosa profiterole and an opera torte. His profiterole was elegant and refined. Beyond being picture perfect, it was absolutely delicious. The orange was bright and the sparkling wine was balanced. Any mom would gladly add this dessert to her plate on Mother’s Day.
The opera torte was equally impressive. His use of candied orange rind for the marmalade was genius. Plus, his layers were perfectly even. Cory showed his expert technique, deft hand and smart choices with these desserts.
It was clear that Karina had a lot of passion in her pre-heat desserts. While her mom loves fruity cocktails, like her cocktail inspiration mai tai, that flavor needs to be bold. In a way, Karina appeared a little overwhelmed in the pre-heat.
Her two desserts were a mai tai macaron and a verrine. Unfortunately both desserts needed more flavor. Everything was just a little too subtle. The rum seemed missing. Overall, the desserts were just a little too vanilla.
Based on the judges’ commentary, the pre-heat winner was obvious. Cory’s cocktail inspired desserts clearly impressed and earned him the win and an advantage.
For the final challenge of Spring Baking Championship Season 5 had the three bakers making the ultimate Mother’s Day cake. Each cake was inspired by a coffee drink and needed to be decorated like a gift that you would give mom. Even with five hours for the challenge, this task, before the twist, would require every last minute.
For this advantage, Cory was able to choose a flavor box. Since he didn’t like the first flavor that he chose, he was able to gift it to Karina. He had to accept his second flavor, which was the flavor that he wanted.
Lastly, the end of challenge twist was that the bakers had to create an edible box with a Mother’s Day treat inside it. Given the time frame, the twist should have been removed. The bakers really didn’t put their best effort into the twist. While it can be a fun part of the Spring Baking Championship episode, it really didn’t affect the decision for the Spring Baking Championship winner.
The three cake flavors were Caffee Mocha, Salted Carmel Macchiato and Dirty Chai Latte (a chai latte with some espresso). Given the flavors, all three are equally difficult. Finding the right balance with the coffee was key to making a successful dessert.
Karina’s flavor was probably the most intriguing. Highlighting the spicy flavors from the chai while including the espresso isn’t easy. She was able to capture the flavors quite well.
Looking at Karina’s cake, it felt a little vintage. The pipped flowers were pretty, but a little dated. Granted her decorating skills were well done, but modern cakes have a different approach.
As for her edible box and treat, Karina had a few missteps. While she tried to salvage the broken chocolate, the box looked a little clunky. The style didn’t match her cake. Also, her candy was too soft and had a consistency of a jelly.
Cory’s cake represented a Mother’s Day tradition in his family. With the flavor he wanted, salted caramel macchiato, he created a cake that his wife would love. From the flavor to the decoration, it was a gift to his wife.
In the main heat, Cory seemed almost overwhelmed by the moment. He made mistakes (like curdling the pastry cream) that he wouldn’t normally do. It seemed almost as if the pressure was getting to him. In the Spring Baking Championship finale, bakers cannot make silly mistakes.
Still, Cory was able to recover. His entremets cake with multiple textures and perfect mousse caused the judges to swoon. Cory’s cake almost over-delivered in flavor. He was very thoughtful with each layer, texture and flavor.
Additionally, his decoration was from the heart. The daisies, just like the ones that he would give to his wife, were heartfelt. Even the little dusting of dirt and price tag added to the precious design.
Where his cake shined, his edible box of treat was a little lackluster. While box was pretty, the chocolates were just ok. Since Cory could, and has done, much better, he received some deserved criticism.
Again, the twist was a throw away. Given the immensity of the challenge, the twist wasn’t needed. None of the bakers did the twist well.
Out of the three bakers, Saber was the only one who had a positive comment about the twist. His chocolate hazelnut stickies (they weren’t a truffle, maybe just a chocolate bite) were a big hit. The flavors really shined. But, his box wasn’t well finished. Then again, the gift, not the wrapping matters.
Saber probably had the most subtle coffee-infused flavor. A caffee mocha needs to have just a hint of chocolate not equal parts chocolate and coffee. Duff appreciated Saber’s flavors while Nancy wasn’t a fan.
All the judges agreed that Saber missed the mark with the rice cereal layer. Instead of adding a crisp texture, it was just soggy. The mouth feel was off putting and brought down the whole cake.
Like previous challenges, Saber’s decorations were lovely. His crown was the star and was a beautiful mom gift. But, one of his layers was slightly uneven, which made the cake a little off.
While all three cakes would be a delightful present for any mom, the Spring Baking Championship winner was Cory. Overall, he had the most impressive offerings in both challenges. In other seasons, either Saber or Karina could have taken the title.
It will be curious to see if Cory could be used on other Food Network shows. He has a great personality, more importantly he can explain baking and techniques for television. As a culinary instructor, his knowledge is vast.
Hopefully, Food Network can use him in some other upcoming shows. Who knows, a show with Cory and former winner Jason Smith could be must watch food TV.
What did you think of this season of Spring Baking Championship? Did you agree with the judges’ choice for the Spring Baking Championship winner?