Halloween Baking Championship Season 5 premiere review: Monsters under the bed?


The Halloween Baking Championship Season 5 premiere was a little spooky and a little kooky. Did these desserts trick or treat the judges?

Halloween Baking Championship Season 5 is back on Food Network. This season has Katie Lee joins judges Carla Hall and Zac Young. Also, John Henson is back with this witty banter as the host. Will this new season be the spookiest yet?

This Food Network show follows the same premise as previous seasons. The eight bakers compete in two challenges per episode. The pre-heat challenge win comes with an advantage. The main heat eliminates one baker from the series.

In this first episode of Halloween Baking Championship Season 5, the pre-heat had the bakers create a skeleton inspired dessert. The dessert had to tell a story about the skeleton’s deep secret. While this idea is fun, the bakers seemed to have difficulty interpreting this theme.

Since it is the first challenge, the bakers are walking a fine line. No one wants to go home, but they don’t want to pull out all their tricks in the first challenge. For the most part, the pre-heat was rather pedestrian.

The stories and decorations needed more. In a way, it seemed like everyone just wanted to do well enough to just move onto the next round. Really, the desserts didn’t really stand out and the stories weren’t super memorable. Sure, the vegan who likes bacon was cute, but other stories were definitely a stretch.

Group Portrait of Karl Fong, Sheldon Taylor Timothy, Peter Tidwell, Julie Montgomery, Jessica Eddy, Brittany Lombardi, Jocelyn Jung and Jessica Brockway, as seen on Halloween Baking Championship, Season 5.

Of course, one dessert must win the pre-heat and earn the advantage. Karl’s Daddy Ninja hazelnut raspberry cake delivered on both the visuals and the flavor. The pucker of the raspberry balanced the hazelnut. It was a delightful choice and he was the dessert ninja.

His advantage for winning the pre-heat was that he could pick his theme for the main heat. In some ways, this advantage should guarantee him a spot in episode two.

For the main heat, the bakers had to create a dessert based on a monster under the bed. Since there are so many bakers, the themes were doubled. From two headed to slimy to one eyed, these monster themes were rather broad and allowed the bakers wide interpretation.

Host John Henson waking up, as seen on Halloween Baking Championship, Season 5.

Of course, the main heat always has a twist. For this episode, the twist was that the bakers had to include marshmallow cream in the dessert. In some ways, this twist was curious because marshmallow cream may not go with all types of desserts.

Even more strange was that one of the bakers didn’t know how to make marshmallow. Sheldon had to ask a fellow baker for a recipe. Granted, Sheldon is a home baker but everyone in this competition should know how to make common dessert recipes.

Similar to the pre-heat, the main heat was just ok. Only a few desserts really had a wow factor. It could be that bakers are trying to figure out the competition. Given the wide breadth to the main heat theme, it would have seemed that the bakers could have more creative and innovative.

For example, where was the monster of your nightmares? Nothing seemed overly scary or detailed. Again, it was just a little too bland.

The two top bakers had some interesting takes on the challenge. Jessica’s slimy monster cake was visually stunning. Plus, the addition of little socks on the monster was cute.

Her key lime pie inspired dessert was smart. The flavor worked with the color and the marshmallow cream worked within the flavor profile. Overall, her dessert was a hit.

Jocelyn took a bold approach to her pineapple pink pepper corn pie by serving the marshmallow cream in a bowl separate from her pie. Still, her marshmallow cream was so tasty that the judges overlooked that choice.

Jessica’s slimy monster cake was too impressive and her earned the win. It will be interesting to see what she presents next week.

As for the two bottom bakers, their desserts had big fails. Brittany had major issues. As Zac Young said, cake shift happens and it happened badly here. Her whole cake was oozing.

While her concept was cute, it couldn’t be executed well in the two hour time frame. The isomalt eye ball was a fun idea, but it was too ambitious. Still, that decoration might have saved her.

Jess presented a two headed monster éclair that was just disappointing. The judges couldn’t tell her theme. Additionally, her marshmallow cream was an after thought. It was just under the dessert, completely hidden.

While her pastry cream was delicious, that one element couldn’t overlook the other errors. Jess was the first baker eliminated from Halloween Baking Championship Season 5.

Although the desserts are the big draw on Halloween Baking Championship, the weekly judges’ costumes are equally as entertaining. This week’s costumes were: Katie Lee as Captain Judgmental, Zac Young as Granny Wolf and Carla Hall as Lobster Attack.

Also, the pun comments were flowing in this episode. From host John Henson or from Zac Young, there were some quite corny phrases flying around the judging table. It is part of this show’s entertainment.

In the end, Halloween Baking Championship Season 5 should be a good one. Hopefully, the next episode will have the bakers upping the creativity level. Isn’t better to go big in these Food Network competitions?

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What did you think of Halloween Baking Championship Season 5 premiere? What was your favorite dessert from this episode?