Halloween Baking Championship review: Creepy, kooky and totally iconic


Ready to snap your fingers? Halloween Baking Championship channeled the iconic Addams family this week sweet, yet scary, treats.

Creepy, kooky, scary and sweet? This week’s Halloween Baking Championship had a little bit of everything in the kitchen. While this Food Network competition is never average, this week’s desserts were definitely a little outside of the typical box. Are you ready to dig in?

For the pre-heat, the bakers were introduced to the episode’s theme, the upcoming Addams Family animated movie. Like many cross-promotional episodes, the bakers were encouraged to push the creativity level in these desserts. But, did anyone not go far enough?

Sometimes an ingredient can cause the bakers to panic. The pre-heat’s ingredient, jackfruit, should have seemed more difficult than it really was. While jackfruit has become a food trend ingredient, it isn’t necessarily a star in desserts. It was curious that the bakers didn’t struggle with this ingredient.

Jackfruit has a different texture. Although everyone seemed to use a puree or salsa, it would have been nice to see more of a textural component to the jackfruit element. If this challenge was about the jackfruit, it should have been more jackfruit forward.

Broken into teams of two, the duos seemed to have a leader and a follower in each pair. While these bakers all have different levels of expertise, it was a little curious how some bakers took a back seat. Should anyone put their fate in someone else’s hands?

Host John Henson reacts to thumbs up from thing as seen on Halloween Baking Championship Season 5 Episode 3.

Overall, the teams did well with the concept of balancing the spooky yet sweet in a dessert. The visuals, while somewhat similar, did have a creep factor. Still, only one team really pushed the envelope.

After seeing all three desserts, it was clear that Karl and Sheldon won. While Karl drove the dessert, the combination of a tasty dessert and impressive visual easily earned them the win. This dessert had lots of textures, used a 3D design and was jackfruit forward.

For winning the pre-heat, Sheldon and Karl were able to pick last in the main heat. They could switch their character theme with any other baker. This advantage is a big one. No one wants to get stuck with a character theme that they can’t deliver.

Since this Halloween Baking Championship episode is all about the new Addams Family movie, each baker must create a “dead velvet” cake that is based on one of the Addams Family characters. Also, each dead velvet cake has a different color scheme.

Host John Henson arm wrestles with thing as seen on Halloween Baking Championship Season 5 Episode 3.

Lastly, like in every episode, there is a twist. This week’s twist was that the cake had to include either a snake, spider or eyeball.

Putting aside the decorative element, the color scenario is quite interesting. Usually, the judges comment that fake colors can be a little off-putting. While color can help create a pretty visual, no one wants a garish looking cake nor does anyone want a forkful of food coloring taste.

Similar to the pre-heat, the top two bakers were rather obvious. Karl impressed again with his Uncle Fester cake. The design and details were impeccable.

The judges thought that his traditional red velvet cake was tender and the frosting was delicious. The only thing that put Karl at a disadvantage was that he had the traditional cake. Other bakers had a little more room for creativity.

Julie was the other top baker. Her Pugsley inspired green velvet cake really pushed the creativity level. While the color was clear, her use of the “green” flavors in the cake was smart. The visual re-enforced the expected flavors.

Also, Julie nailed the twist. Her snake was the perfect complement to the cake. From the visual to the chocolate toffee crunch, it completed the whole Addams family dessert presentation.

Winning this week’s Halloween Baking Championship episode was Julie. It was nice to see her score a win. Although Karl is emerging as the front-runner, Julie could be a contender, too.

As for the bottom bakers, one baker definitely had issues. Poor Sheldon had major time management problems. It was clear that he was going to overlook the twist. More importantly, he had a naked portion to this cake (the back of Wednesday’s head wasn’t covered).

In some ways, Sheldon had a tough flavor. The black velvet cake didn’t pop and the coffee notes were hidden. If he had delivered on the flavor, the judges might have overlooked some of the design.

The other bottom baker was Jessica. Her Gomez-inspired orange velvet cake was dense. The brown butter soak was too rich.

Additionally, her design was confusing. If the judges can’t tell the difference between mustache and eyebrows, there is definitely a problem.

The baker sent home on this week’s Halloween Baking Championship was Sheldon. While it is sad to see the home baker eliminated, it wasn’t entirely sad. He proposed to his girlfriend at the end of the show.

And, if you didn’t guess the judges’ costumes this week, they were characters from the Addams Family. It was interesting that Katie Lee didn’t dress as Morticia. Still, Zac Young nailed Uncle Fester. More importantly, the judges really got into their characters this week.

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What did you think of this week’s Halloween Baking Championship episode? Are some potential favorites starting to emerge?