Best Baker in America review: Toy Story 4 sweet, playful inspiration


This week’s Best Baker in America was quite playful. With Toy Story 4 as its theme, these desserts were quite whimsical for the Food Network competition.

Move over French desserts and plated pastries. This week’s Best Baker in America took a page out of other Food Network baking competitions. With Toy Story 4 as this week’s theme, the bakers needed to find the balance between expert decorative skill and impeccable flavors.

This week’s Best Baker in America episode seemed more like an episode of Cake Wars than the typical, elevated baking competition that fans have come to expect. Replacing the delicate, impeccable French desserts were themed cakes. Was this change a smart idea for this baking competition?

In the Skills Challenge, the bakers were introduced to this week’s theme, Toy Story 4. The highly anticipated Disney/Pixar film offers tons of visual inspiration for the bakers. While the decorations will impress, where did the flavors come into play?

First, the bakers needed to create six mini desserts inspired by the movie that would be perfect for a movie premiere party. This concept is quite difficult. Making a dessert that is visually impressive yet appeals to a wide audience, including kids, is a tall task.

In some ways, a few bakers nailed this challenge. Joshua and Eric were definitely on point. From their smart flavor choices to the impeccable decorations, these two desserts deserved top billing.

Joshua’s Ham donut on a stick was perfectly kid friendly. The flavors were on point and Ham was adorable. While the judges thought that it could be a little cleaner, it was a top choice.

Eric’s aliens were hands down the best of the bunch. The bright, green aliens look like they stepped right out of that toy machine. Even though he used passion fruit, the flavor was totally approachable for all ages.

Host Scott Conant and contestant Eric Keppler during the Skills Challenge, as seen on Best Baker in America, Season 3. photo provided by Food Network

Winning this week’s Skills Challenge was Eric. Combining flavor and decoration, his dessert was definitely out of this world. Although he doesn’t necessarily get anything for this win, it proves that he is, and continues to be, one of the top bakers.

As the competition gets tougher, the bakers are waiting for someone to make even a simple mistake. Eric even commented that everyone is waiting for Joshua to slip and he can take over. With a competition so fierce, even the smallest mistake could send someone home.

In the Master Skills Challenge, this Toy Story 4 themed cake was not typical for Best Baker in America. While these bakers can make some impressive desserts, creating a decorative cake isn’t a typical dessert for many of these bakers.

Although winning the Skills Challenge doesn’t necessarily bring an advantage, this week’s episode should have come with a choice of character for the cake challenge. Or even, maybe Eric could have assigned themes.

Additionally, this week’s flavors were bakers’ choice. While the flavor should have reflected the Toy Story 4 character, the cake was really a way for each baker to shine. Although, most bakers didn’t really push the flavor conversation forward.

Just like the Skills Challenge, Eric made a big play for this week’s episode. His Bo Peep inspired cake with matcha green tea and sheeps milk was a lovely interpretation of his theme. While his decorations suffered a bit, his cake was definitely creative and ambitious.

This week was one of the first times that Joshua faltered a little. He had several mistakes during his bake.

While he was able to recover, his Woody decorations were not as clean as normal. Since he has set the bar so high in previous challenges, everyone was expecting more.

Although Eric and Joshua did well again, another baker surprisingly took this week’s Best Baker in America win. Jeffery, who seemed slightly off put by this week’s themed-dessert challenge, turned in an epic, whimsical cake.

Jeffery’s Forky cake captured the true character of Forky. Created from Bonnie’s imagination, this cake blended the child-like character with a sophisticated flavor profile. It was definitely worthy of a Best Baker in America win.

Unfortunately, both Marian and Julie were in the bottom. While these two bakers made valiant efforts in this challenge, the two cakes had mis-steps.

Julie didn’t push the decorations far enough. Without the writing of Lightyear, this cake didn’t appear like the character. She needed to go bolder.

Also, her cake flavors didn’t seem to capture the “To Infinity and Beyond” nature of Buzz. The orange was too subtle. While the fresh blueberries and almond was nice, it wasn’t out of this world.

Marian tried with this cake. Her large representation of Ducky and Bunny was ambitious. Although the dynamic placement could have been better, she put forth a lot of effort.

The same can be said of her cake, itself. The rainbow colored cake was nice, but the vanilla flavor didn’t match the colorful rainbow. For something so vibrant, the flavor was a little boring.

In the end, Julie was the baker sent home on this week’s Best Baker in America. With both sub-par performances in the Skills Challenge and the Master Challenge, it seemed like the right choice.

With just four bakers left, it is a little disappointing that the field is male dominated. Not that a baker’s gender should be taken into account, it just would be nice to see a female baker make the finale.

As the push to earn the title approaches, the front runners would definitely be Joshua and Eric. Even with a few hiccups, these two bakers have consistently performed week after week. Could it be these two bakers in the finale?

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What did you think of this week’s Toy Story 4 inspired Best Baker in America episode? Do you think that these challenge moved too far away from the show’s elevated desserts concept?