Spring Baking Championship review: Trolls World Tour

Clinton Kelly with Trolls characters in pantry, as seen on Spring Baking Championship, Season 6. Photo Courtesy Food Network
Clinton Kelly with Trolls characters in pantry, as seen on Spring Baking Championship, Season 6. Photo Courtesy Food Network /

Seven Spring Baking Championship bakers remain to face two Troll-themed challenges. Who can wow both big and small with their tasty treats?

The Spring Baking Championship bakers enter the Food Network kitchen to find host Clinton Kelly in a cartoon forest. He is surrounded by trees, oversized flowers and Troll cutouts. In time honored spring tradition, the challenges today will center around the new movie “Trolls World Tour.” Their first challenge is to create a dozen tiny but powerful treats. Their treat must feature a bright color, and the color is decided by the flower they pick from Clinton’s forest.

All the bakers dash forward and Tati grabs a blue flower. Hesitant to get a color not often found in food, she tosses the flower aside and nearly takes out Aris in a bid for a yellow flower instead. Aris gets left with her discarded blue flower.

Other than this moment of drama, everyone’s bake goes relatively smoothly and the judges are treated to itty bitty bites. As usual, the judges are Nancy Fuller, Duff Goldman and Lorraine Pascale, but today Nancy’s hair is teased up and pink in honor of the Trolls.

Arin presents his simply beautiful petit fours. They are absolutely perfect squares. His color is red so he has made a raspberry petit four with white chocolate ganache. Every bit of the dessert is red- cake, filling and ganache. Atop each tiny cake is an even tinier red flower. The judges are blown away and he earns nothing but praise- incredible, perfect, beautiful, brilliant, delicious, tender. We also discover, thanks to Clinton, that Arin pronounces the ‘s’ and ‘p’ in raspberry and it’s all I can hear now.

Val is up next. She has made tres leches bites served in a little cupcake wrapper. Each bite is topped with diced strawberries and meringue. To get the pink color she needs, she has dyed her milks pink and also her meringue. Lorraine feels she needs more strawberry flavor. I was surprised when she dyed her milk mixture pink and didn’t incorporate any strawberry flavor there. The judges also feel her tres leches is too wet.

Sohrob has made a little flower-shaped cookie. On top of that, he has placed a single raspberry filled with raspberry compote, and then he has piped a perfect dome of marshmallow on top of that. He has dipped the whole thing in purple chocolate, his color, and then added tiny purple sprinkles. His flavors are raspberry and elderflower with the elderflower in his marshmallow.  His dessert looks wonderful- neat, colorful and exciting. The judges love the raspberry flavor but want more elderflower.

Christine has gone a different way than everyone else. While all the other bakers shrank a normal dessert to a tiny size, Christine has gone with a macaron, which is normally a small dessert bite. She has made orange macarons with a pineapple curd and a coconut Swiss meringue buttercream.

Unfortunately, her tactic seems to backfire. Having made a dessert that is normally small, it doesn’t have the wow factor of appearing impossibly tiny. Duff tells her it is too large. Nancy likes her buttercream and finds it not too sweet. Lorraine wants more pineapple flavor.

Tati has made a lemon sable cookie in the shape of a flower. On that, she has placed a lemon jelly and then a tower of yellow, lemon zesty marshmallow also cut in the flower shape. To me, it seems a huge amount of marshmallow for her little cookie and jelly. I also wonder about the textures of cookie, jelly and marshmallow but the judges love it. They think her dish is beautiful, bright, buttery and fresh.

Right in the middle of judging Tati’s lemony dessert, Duff gets out his phone. As everyone stares awkwardly, he explains that he wants to text the dessert to Valerie, his Kid’s Baking Championship co-host. She loves lemon so he wants to share Tati’s lemony little dessert bite.

Molly, who got green which is the other color that is perhaps not the best for dessert, has made a white chocolate and lime blondie. She has green sprinkles in her blondie. On top of the blondie, she has piped a little mango curd and a green meringue. The judges really enjoy her blondie and her mango curd.

Last but not least is Aris. He has taken inspiration from his discarded blue flower and has made a blueberry buckle. Around this, he has wrapped a blue chocolate collar. On top of the buckle, he has a blueberry caramel and then on top of that, a blue mesquite cream cheese frosting.

The whole thing sounds a little weird, to be honest. Duff feels the cake needs more blueberry juice in it. Lorraine likes his mesquite frosting but doesn’t feel like it goes with the buckle. Everyone agrees they like the look of his dessert but are not thrilled with the taste.

With nothing but praise, it is no surprise that Arin yet again wins the preheat. This has earned him an advantage for the next challenge.

Everyone returns to the kitchen to find a bouncer at the door. He hands out VIP backstage passes to each baker and they filter in to stand in front of a stage full of instruments. Clinton explains that, in Trolls World Tour, the trolls discover that there are many lands of different trolls, each with a love for a different kind of music.

For the main challenge, the bakers have just two hours to create a cake that represents a different genre of music and each must feature a spring fruit flavor. Arin’s advantage is that he gets to pick his own genre and then assign all the others. He selects classical for himself. He then assigns pop to Christine, country to Tati, funk to Val, hip hop to Sohrob, techno to Molly and rock to Aris. I am sure this is strategic and that he has tried to select genres that he feels the other bakers won’t have a connection with. Interestingly, when Clinton asks Arin to name his favorite classical composers, he can’t name even one, so it is not entirely clear why he has selected the genre for himself.

It is really interesting to see what associations the bakers do make with their genre. Christine thinks pop means happy, upbeat and pink. Tati thinks of the Southwest instead of the South in terms of country and conjures up sheriffs, sunsets and cacti. Sohrob admits to knowing little about hip hop and all he can think of is “fresh” so he goes for green.

Molly has no connection to techno but thinks about dark rooms, glow sticks, flashing lights and contrast. Val considers funk to be swirly, bold and colorful. Arin imagines classical as fancy and golden. Aris is the only baker who seems to have a real connection with his genre. He admits to being a former angry teen who loved rock and he envisions lots of blue, purple and red.

With an hour left to bake, Clinton announces the twist. Each baker must make a topper for their cake that represents their troll. Molly, who has told us before that she is not really into decoration, is stressed. She does not want to try to sculpt her troll. Instead, she focuses on two aspects that she thinks she can create- his hair and his heart. She makes green isomalt hair strands that she pokes into a classic heart shape made of fondant. The heart has some lines drawn in to represent digitization. When time is called, she looks around and discovers that everyone else has actually made their troll and she starts to worry.

Christine is up first. She was given pop for her theme and she has selected raspberry as her spring fruit flavor. She has made a raspberry cake with ginger buttercream. To make her cake scream pop, she has hollowed out the center and filled it with sprinkles. She has also used multiple colors of frosting inside. Outside, her frosting is pink and covered in sprinkles as well. For her topper, she has marbled fondant in purples, pinks and blues. Against this backdrop, she has made her troll and a glittery microphone.

The judges love her look and really feel it represents pop. They also feel her troll is well executed. They enjoy her flavors. Lorraine, who loves ginger, really enjoys her buttercream. The texture of her cake is light but Duff wants more raspberry flavor.

Arin is next to present his classical-themed cake. Normally so precise, I am surprised by his cake. He has made a lemon cake with a blueberry and lavender filling. He has smoothed his vanilla buttercream over the cake and then painted it an antique gold color. He attempted to make gum paste lace around the bottom but it is sloppy and unfinished. On top sits his troll figurine.

Duff is impressed by how straight his cake is and how perfectly smooth he has gotten the buttercream, but he of course would like the lace to be finished. However, everyone enjoys his cake. Nancy and Lorraine love the blueberry filling, though Lorraine wants more lemon flavor in the cake. Duff likes his subtle use of lavender.

Tati is next with her malted butter cake with cherry filling. In the mindset of old western movies, she thinks malt goes well with taverns. She has coated her cake in an orange colored buttercream, cacti and stars. Lorraine appreciates her decoration and her gum paste troll figure but she is not sure it really says country. Everyone enjoys the cherry flavor in her cake. Lorraine likes the malt flavor but thinks it is a little dry.

Sohrob was clearly lost in this challenge. With nothing more than the idea of fresh in his mind, he has made a raspberry, pistachio and lime cake. To decorate, he has frosted the cake in light green colors, added a decorative piped border and a little bit of sprinkles. It looks like a birthday cake and does not remind me of hip hop at all. I think he would have been better served doing a graffiti look to his cake.

For his troll, he has made a gum paste and fondant figure and dredged it in glitter. However, the dredging seems to have done it no favors as it is falling apart. Lorraine points out that his troll is not quite right and she doesn’t see anything hip hop about the cake. Nancy likes the troll but says she expected “more hoopla for hip hop.” Everyone likes the lime curd in his cake.

Val has been inspired by color and has made her cakes in purple, blue, green and pink. She also colors her frosting in those colors and layers them in an ombre effect. The judges like the colors of the cake but wish for more funk. The really enjoy the passionfruit curd in her coconut cake but Nancy wants more coconut flavor.

Spring Baking Championship
Molly process, as seen on Spring Baking Championship, Season 6. Photo Courtesy Food NetworkTroll /

Molly’s cake, like Sohrob’s, reads as a birthday cake to me. She has frosted it in a blue color and added some sprinkles at the bottom. Also, remember she is the only one to not try to sculpt her troll. Her lemon velvet cake with raspberry buttercream is delicious but safe. All the judges wish for more techno, more troll, and more surprise in her cake.

Finally, Aris presents his rock cake. He has frosted the cake in a mix of purple, blue and gray frosting. He has also added a purple chocolate drip and red bubble sugar. The judges love his decoration and definitely see the rock inspiration. His ube cake with blackberry jam is a big hit. The ube has given his cake a creamy texture and the blackberry jam is fantastic. Duff flat-out tells him he nailed it.

Though Christine and Aris are singled out as top notch, Aris takes the cake. It is no surprise that the two bakers who most connected with their music genre came out on top, nor is it a surprise that the two most befuddled by their genre are at the bottom. Sohrob and Molly face elimination and today, Molly goes home.

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So, if you had to represent a musical genre in a cake, what genre would you pick and what would you do to really showcase that theme? Sohrob mentioned a love of 70’s and 80’s music and it would be really fun to tackle disco or new wave. Maybe I will have to put on some of the music of my childhood and see what I am inspired to make.