Holiday Baking Championship recap: Upside down cakes upturn the competition

Bakers Loreno, LaShonda, Julianna, Jon, Megan and Eva learning about main heat bake, as seen on Holiday Baking Championship, Season 7. Photo provided by Food Network
Bakers Loreno, LaShonda, Julianna, Jon, Megan and Eva learning about main heat bake, as seen on Holiday Baking Championship, Season 7. Photo provided by Food Network /

In this Holiday Baking Championship recap, the bakers are all turned around.

As Holiday Baking Championship nears the finale, the Food Network competition is adding a few more twists and turns. From a team competition to upside down cakes, this episode’s challenges caused a big change in the naughty and nice list. Which baker survived this topsy turvy kitchen?

To kick off this Holiday Baking Championship episode, the bakers had a team competition. While the bakers have played nice all season long, this challenge seemed to continue that holiday good will. Then again, don’t doughnuts always make people smile?

For the pre-heat challenge, the bakers were inspired by the Hannukah classic, sufganiyot, a jelly filled doughnut. While those treats might be “gelty pleasures,” this dessert was not that classic doughnut.

The baking teams had to create a dessert inspired by the jelly filled doughnut. It had to have a fried dough element and a jelly component. And, Duff was the only judge.

Holiday Baking Championship
Duff and Jesse in front of jewish deli, as seen on Holiday Baking Championship, Season 7. Photo provided by Food Network /

Looking at the three desserts, it was dueling napoleons and a churro. While the decorations on these holiday desserts might need a little more refinement, the flavors delivered the holiday cheer.

Overall, the jelly component in these desserts were delicious. From a blackberry and mint jam to a hint of ginger and yuzu in another jam, the combination of flavors made these desserts special.

The winning team was Megan and LaShonda. For their win, they received special decorating tools for the main heat. More importantly, it was a big switch for Megan. After being in the bottom for a while, she is back on top.

For the main heat, the bakers had to create upside down cakes that were decorated for the holidays. While this holiday dessert might seem like an old school recipe, there is an art to making this dessert. When done well, it is an upside down cake can be a pretty, delicious bite.

While your grandma has probably mastered the upside down cake, many bakers do not make this cake often. It takes a lot of faith. Once that cake pan is turned over, the cake is either a hit or a miss.

The biggest takeaway from this Holiday Baking Championship episode was that the bakers didn’t understand the importance of strong baking technique. A well-prepped cake pan can be the difference between a great upside down cake and a failed upside down cake.

Truthfully, there were only two cakes that were a successful upside down cake, Megan and Juliana. When those cakes were released from the pan, it was clear that they succeeded. No cake repairs needed.

Still, the cake flavors need to impress the judges. While the rosemary twist was a little tricky, most of the bakers handled that ingredient in stride. For the most part, rosemary can go with most fruits.

The most impressive flavor was Juliana’s brown butter and pears cake. The nuttiness from the brown butter with just the right amount of rosemary was a huge hit. It was creative and well-executed.

Megan had the most visually stunning cake. Her perfect port plums were impressive. The flavor combination was a huge hit with the judges. After almost going home in previous episodes, Megan jumped to the top of the nice list.

Holiday Baking Championship
Nancy, Duff, Carla and Jesse at judges table, as seen on Holiday Baking Championship, Season 7. Photo provided by Food Network /

As for the other bakers, Lorenzo had an interesting idea for his fancier cake, but the textures were a little too soft. His sugar decoration kept him safe.

LaShonda had an interesting concept, but no one could really tell it was an upside-down cake. Still, her fig cake flavors impressed the judges.

Unfortunately, the bottom two bakers were Eva and Jon (who happened to be teammates in the pre-heat). No matter the outcome, team headband was going to be broken.

Jon had a nice flavor concept with the orange and chocolate, but his execution of this cake was lacking. From the cake being too thin to the bitterness of the orange rind, the flaws could not be overlooked. Even though Carla likes a good pucker, the orange rind was too much for her.

Eva had issues with her décor; it was rather rushed. While the cranberry and rosemary worked, it needed more rosemary flavor to live up to the challenge. But, Eva had a boozy sauce which gave all the judges a little holiday shot.

In the end, Jon was sent home. Since his cake seemed to be too thin (the cake melted into the caramel topping), his execution let him down. While Jon is a great baker, he had one too many off days.

Related Story. Melissa Joan Hart shares her tips for an easy and tasty holiday. light

With just a handful of bakers left in the competition, it isn’t clear who has the best chance to make the finale. Everyone has had highs and lows. It really will come down to one particular bake.

Who do you think will make the Holiday Baking Championship finale? Which challenge has been your favorite this season?