Best Baker in America winner created a firecracker of a celebratory cake


Best Baker in America winner created a firecracker of a finale showpiece. Which baker was bursting with baking pride?

The Best Baker in America winner may not have been the early favorite, but this baker’s Master Challenge chocolate cake was a definitely wow moment. Combining flavors, technique and creativity, one baker earned his place in the baking ring of honor.

This Food Network baking competition always impresses in the season finale. While some of the themes might be approachable, the creativity and the techniques that these bakers use are definitely impressive. Would you want one of these desserts to be served at your next celebratory event?

For the Skills Challenge, the bakers were tasked with making a finale worthy chocolate brownie sundae. From the luscious ice cream to the decadent brownie, these desserts were far from that traditional brownie sundae.

This challenge took something that everyone knows and turned it into an elevated plated dessert. While the desserts combined technique, creativity and presentation, these brownie sundaes might make you rethink any classic dessert.

The key to this challenge was the brownie and the balance of flavors. The brownie needed to be rich, chocolate forward while the other components would balance that intensity.

Looking at all three brownie sundaes, the combinations were non-traditional. Jeffery did a dark chocolate brownie, mascarpone ice cream and pistachio cream. While ice cream was controversial, the dessert was successful.

Host Scott Conant with contestant Joshua Livsey during the Skills Challenge, as seen on Best Baker in America, Season 3. Photo provided by Food Network

Joshua took a flavor combination that would definitely appeal to judge Jason Smith. With bourbon two ways, this brownie sundae definitely had a burst of bourbon. His presentation, with the ice cream spheres, was artistic and lovely. But, there was a hint of bitterness in one of his chocolate layers.

Eric took an ambitious and difficult route. By covering his banana cocoa nib ice cream in glaze the ice cream was a little lost. While the miso butterscotch was a huge hit, the brownie sundae aspect was a little hidden.

In the end, the judges choice was Jeffery’s brownie sundae as the Skills Challenge winner. It was a little surprising. While all desserts were good, this choice didn’t scream winner. Then again, winning this challenge doesn’t necessarily come with an advantage or a guarantee of a win.

For the Master Challenge, the three bakers had to create a chocolate cake that celebrates Fourth of July. The chocolate cake needed to use four types of chocolate, two different macarons, chocolate decoration and sugar work. Also, they had to incorporate salty snacks into all that baking amazingness. Did you think that the Best Baker in America finale would be easy?

Looking at the three finale cakes, the styles were quite different. While everyone has a different interpretation of a celebratory cake, the choices were far from typical or traditional. Then again, the Best Baker in America winner should be extraordinary.

The first cake was Eric’s colorful, asymmetrical cake. Using nana’s chocolate cake as his recipe, the judges were wowed by the nostalgic cake. With a sour cream ganache, the cake had a richness but wasn’t overdone and the pretzel crunch added a lovely texture.

Eric’s macarons were amazing. The balance of chocolate and passionfruit and strawberry was on point. The chocolate came through but the other flavors weren’t lost.

As for the cake itself, there was a little debate on the size, which was slightly small. Still, Eric’s cake was clearly a celebratory cake, had chocolate and sugar decoration and was delicious.

Jeffery’s cake was very dramatic, but it wasn’t instantly recognizable as a Fourth of July celebratory cake. While the chocolate work looked dramatic, the colors were rather dark. This cake would definitely fall into the artsy category.

For this cake, Jeffery made two different cakes. The chocolate cake was chocolate overload. While the judges wanted more spice, it was a chocolate lovers’ dream. The pretzel cake had a lovely flavor and crumb.

Where the cake excelled, Jeffery’s macarons were less successful. The chocolate flavors were very muted. There strawberry and passionfruit were clear, but chocolate was absent.

It was curious that no one mentioned that Eric and Jeffery had the same macaron flavors. When bakers make the same flavors, usually there is a direct comparison. Given the judges’ commentary, it seemed that Eric won the macaron battle.

Lastly, Joshua struggled a little with his finale cake. In a way, his cake looked like two cakes in one. The top galaxy inspired tiers didn’t meld with the patriotic bottom tiers. He needed some time of link to the two cakes.

In an unusual twist, Joshua’s macarons had errors. His caramel corn macaron was overbaked. While his flavors were nice and the popping candy was a hit, that error wouldn’t be overlooked.

Additionally, Joshua didn’t include sugar work in his cake. That omission was a huge error. While the other cakes had some sugar work, he should have put at least a sugar shard on the cake. Just a little something could have saved him.

Joshua’s cake excelled in flavor. The crumb of the chocolate cake was lovely. The mousse had the potato chip flavor. Overall, his cake was both a hit and a miss.

Even though Jeffery won the Skills Challenge, that win didn’t guarantee him the Best Baker in America winner title. The chocolate cake would be the biggest factor.

Also, did anyone find it curious that a chocolate showpiece was the finale challenge, again? The previous Best Baker in America winner had to create a chocolate showpiece in the finale.

In the end, this season’s Best Baker in America winner was Eric. His elation at winner was pure joy. Even though he had both highs and lows in the season, he was able to showcase all his skills and earned the title.

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What did you think of this Best Baker in America season? Did the judges choose the correct Best Baker in America winner?