Best Baker in America review: Tiny and tall, these desserts earned a finale spot


With a spot in the finale on the line, this week’s Best Baker in America episode had the bakers creating dessert that went from tiny to tall.

As Best Baker in America nears its finale, the bakers looked to impress the judges with hopes of earning this season’s title. In this week’s episode, the bakers needed to think big and small to earn their finale spot. But, did a small mistake cause one baker to come up short?

Throughout this Best Baker in America season, the challenges have been quite difficult. From elaborate French desserts to Toy Story 4 themed cakes, these bakers needed to show that they had a variety of skills. This week’s challenge proved equally as difficult.

For the Skills Challenge, the bakers had to create miniature versions of a dessert. This idea wasn’t just making a small dessert. The dessert had to be an actual miniature version of a larger dessert. For example, a tiny petit four wasn’t going to cut it.

Looking at these desserts, all of the creations were quite impressive. In one single bite, these miniature desserts were just like their larger counterpart. From exquisite layers to balanced flavors, the bakers succeeded in this challenge.

A few desserts were clearly outstanding. Jeffery’s petit mont blanc was divine. From the chestnut layer to the snowy cap, he perfectly miniaturized this dessert.

Eric’s strawberry tart was also a hit. In a single bite, he captured that classic tart taste.

Winning the skills challenge was Jeffery. His two desserts, the mont black and tiny fruit tart were the best miniatures. The precision on these two desserts definitely earned him the win.

Where the Skills Challenge went small, the Master Challenge went huge. The bakers had to create a 12 layer dessert. The layers didn’t include fillings; it had to be 12 actually layers.

Creating this type of dessert requires several different skills. Putting aside flavor for a moment, the bakers needed to have a smart plan.

The dessert needed a structure to stand tall. A 12 layer cake without an internal structure will quickly lean, tumble and fall. One of the components was that the dessert needed to be vertically impressive.

On the other side, the bakers weren’t necessarily required to make a 12 layer stacked cake. They could have created a layered dessert in a different way. As long as the layers were symmetrical, the judges would appreciate the effort. But, they needed to have a clear vision and execute that plan.

In some ways, this challenge is not typical for a baker or pastry chef. It isn’t often that a baker makes this scale of dessert. Most bakers create plated desserts, regular size cakes or individual serving treats. If the bakers didn’t have a clear plan, this challenge could be leave him just short of the finale.

While the visual is the first impression that the judges see, the dessert’s flavor needs to be on point. With a required flavor of sesame, these desserts needed to be quite creative. The bakers who used sesame in many ways were the most successful.

As each cake was revealed, it was clear that Joshua was going to win. The visual for his cake was the best of the four. It had a lovely virtual cherry blossom tree growing up the side of the cake. It emphasized the vertical aspect of the cake.

More importantly his flavors were on point. The matcha green tea chiffon was lovely. The crumb on the cake was perfect. Also, the use of yuzu cream was smart. It balanced the matcha and sesame.

Joshua clearly deserved the win. His cake succeeded on all aspects and he earned his spot in the finale. With just one more episode to go, Joshua has a strong opportunity to earn the title. Overall, he has achieved more wins this season than the other bakers.

Another baker earning a spot in the finale was Eric. While the judges didn’t appreciate his dessert’s shape (was it a tepee or a hat), the flavors were exquisite.

Eric wanted to make a candy bar inspired cake. This dessert definitely achieved that concept. The use of peanuts in conjunction with the sesame was superb. Maybe sesame peanut butter could become the new flavor trend.

While his dessert was smart, it could have benefited from a bright element to cut through the richness of the dessert. Some hint of acid or something could have even pushed this dessert more.

Still, Eric definitely deserves a spot in the finale. After a slightly rough start, he has be on par with Joshua. Each and every week, Eric has brought creativity, whimsy and flavor to his desserts. He will be a force in the finale.

The remaining spot came down to Jeffery and Marian. Since Jeffery had won the Skills Challenge, he did have a slight edge to earning the third finale spot.

Jeffery’s cake succeeded on the visual component. He had a total of 18 layers. The straightness of the cake and the color scheme was impeccable.

Judges Jason Smith and Marcela Valladolid with contestant Jeffrey De Leon during the Master Challenge, as seen on Best Baker in America, Season 3.

Unfortunately, Jeffery’s flavors were muddled. The chocolate overpowered the sesame. With too much earthy notes, the dessert lacked balance.

Marian had a major mistake in her dessert. While it was commendable that she presented anything after her baking mishap, her dessert was only 10 layers. Additionally, she didn’t finish the dessert and the presentation was lacking.

On the other side, Marian’s flavors impressed. The dessert had a lot of potential. From a flavor perspective, her dessert was a judges’ top choice.

Still, with just one finale spot left, the judges chose Jeffery to move on and Marian was eliminated. It is unfortunately that her presentation let her down. Her flavors have been wonderful, but she didn’t put all the elements together.

Going into next week’s Best Baker in America finale, it could be anyone’s title. While Joshua has won many challenges and Eric has been a close second, no one should count out Jeffery. Basically, it will come down to which baker executes in the final challenges.

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Which baker has your vote for Best Baker in America? What do you think next week’s finale episode will bring?