Halloween Baking Championship review: Which baker sealed her fate?


With just one episode till the finale, Halloween Baking Championship had one baker’s fate sealed by a very deadly marble tomb.

Who came up just short of the finale in this episode of Halloween Baking Championship? Even though these talented bakers proved themselves all season long, each baker is only as good as her last dessert. Did one of the potential favorites seal her fate in a crumbling tomb?

Before one baker was banished from the finale, the four remaining bakers had to tackle the pre-heat challenge. With four graves in front of them, the bakers had to dig for the secret, underground ingredient. Each of these ingredients had to be used in a dessert of their choice.

Anyone should have guessed that the “underground” ingredient was a food that grows underground. The four ingredients were fennel, carrots, beets and sweet potatoes. While Jessica desperately didn’t want fennel, that ingredient could have been a good choice. Who wants to try to cook sweet potatoes in such a limited time-frame?

Since each of the bakers had complete freedom to make any dessert that they wanted with these ingredients, the judges were looking for creativity. While swinging for the fences might be dangerous, it can often reap big rewards. Unfortunately, most of the bakers played it safe.

Peter Tidwell, Jessica Brockway, Karl Fong and Julie Montgomery race to rob the graves as seen on Halloween Baking Championship Season 5 Episode 5. photo provided by Food Network

Pete, who had sweet potatoes, made another cheesecake. While it was a tasty cheesecake, the judges labeled it “re-pete” because he has presented cheesecake several times. Pete definitely needs to step up his game and step outside of his comfort zone.

Karl received similar criticism about his cake carrot. While this dessert was tasty, it was an obvious choice. It would have been nice to see him present a dessert that was more adventurous.

Since Jessica was not happy about fennel, that fear came across with her dessert. The sponge cake with apples and fennel read more like a salad than a desert.

Given the three other options, Julie was clearly the winner. Her beet cake with chocolate mousse might not have been beet forward, but it was clearly the best dessert. It was a cute graveyard scene and was the best application of the secret ingredient.

For winning the pre-heat, Julie’s advantage was first choice of ingredient for the main challenge. Since she is Canadian, it was obvious that she would pick maple. But, would this ingredient be her savior or her downfall as she sought a place in the finale?

In the main heat, the bakers had to create a tomb stone marble cake, both inside and out. Also, each cake had to use a particular ingredient. With only three spots in the Halloween Baking Championship finale, the smallest mistake could send a favorite home.

Of course, the twist often puts someone off their game. This challenge’s twist was to incorporate an obituary into the decoration of the marbled cake. Given that this challenge earned the bakers a spot in the Halloween Baking Championship finale, it would have seemed that the twist would have been harder. This twist should have been buried in that tomb stone cake.

Looking at the final four tomb stone cakes, the cakes were a little disappointing. Similar to previous challenges, Karl rose to the occasion. His marbled, tomb stone cake featuring an archeologist was visually stunning. He had great marbling and smart decorations. His theme was quite clear.

Karl Fong paints details on his cake as seen on Halloween Baking Championship Season 5 Episode 5. photo provided by Food Network

While Karl chose cardamom to push himself outside of the comfort zone, the judges thought that the orange slightly overpowered the cardamom. Granted, no one wants an overly floral chiffon cake. Still, there needed to be a bit more cardamom.

Additionally, due to the colors, Karl’s cake lack a punch of internal marbling. Still, he was a top baker and earned a place in the Halloween Baking Championship finale.

The other top baker was Pete. He earned his top spot because he pushed himself (no cheesecake this time). The chocolate orange ginger cake that looked like a Mayan pyramid tomb was a smart choice. While his plumber’s homage was a little cheeky, the different choices were smart.

Also, Pete’s flavors really worked. Not only did the judges see the marbling, the flavors shined. Pete earned this week’s win and a spot in the finale.

Unfortunately, the two ladies were in the bottom. Julie had problems with time management in this challenge. Her decorating was messy and everyone could see that the tomb cake was almost unfinished.

Additionally, her maple flavoring seemed too overpowering. Since the cake lacked acid or salt, the sweetness seemed to be too rich. While it had a great fall feeling, it was more like pancakes than a satisfying dessert.

Jessica Brockway arranges her fennel as seen on Halloween Baking Championship Season 5 Episode 5. photo provided by Food Network

Jessica’s cinnamon vanilla marble cake read more like a good coffee cake than a dessert cake. The judges complained of a textural issue. Although, the judges really liked the cinnamon dulce de leche flavors.

On the other hand, the judges appreciated Jessica’s tomb. Although no one really saw mortician, the decoration was clean.

In the end, maple was not kind to Julie and the Canadian was sent home from the competition. It is sad to see her go because she could have been force in the finale.

With three bakers vying for the Halloween Baking Championship crown, who will win? It seems that Karl has the advantage, but it really is anyone’s title to win.

Before signing off, this week’s judges’ costumes might have had you look twice. Zac Young over-delivered again with his Fabio-esque interpretation. Given all this looks this season, can you imagine what will be in store for the finale? Just like the bakers, he better go big or go home.

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Who do you think will win in next week’s Halloween Baking Championship finale?