Spring Baking Championship recap: Which bakers booked a trip to the finale?

Ali Khan in front of art backdrop, as seen on Spring Baking Championship, Season 7. Photo provided by Food Network
Ali Khan in front of art backdrop, as seen on Spring Baking Championship, Season 7. Photo provided by Food Network /

With only one episode to the Spring Baking Championship finale, the bakers might be wanting a vacation. In this Food Network episode, the bakers had to take on popular spring vacations. From snacks for that road trip to the beautiful vista, which baker had to book a trip home?

Going into this Spring Baking Championship episode, the reality is that the four bakers are all worthy of the finale. Derek, Keya, Natalie and Veruska have presented the judges with amazing flavors and intricate baking designs over the competition. While every baker is only as good as her last bake, the tiniest mistake can be the difference between going home and the Spring Baking Championship finale.

For the pre-heat, the bakers had to make snack-ified desserts. Although not clear at the beginning, these desserts had to be portable. While the term snack-ified is fun, the reality is that this food mashup might have needed some explanation.

In addition to the portable aspect, the bakers had to infuse some classic desserts and a popular destination into a single bite. Combinations like Napolean cupcakes and tiramisu brownies were two of the desserts.

Probably the hardest dessert of the bunch was Natalie’s toaster pastry tres leches cake. That traditional cake is often quite moist and everyone knows that a moist pastry is a baking don’t. Luckily, Natalie found a solution.

Her berry toaster pastry with pipette of tres leches milk was a smart solution. The judges loved her pastry crust. Overall, it was a successful dessert.

Unfortunately, Derek had a mistake in concept. While his flavors were on point, his cupcake was not snackable. In some ways, how is a cupcake snackable. Maybe cupcakes should not have been on this list.

Still, Derek’s cupcake was a successful hybrid. It didn’t fulfill the challenge, though.

Veruska found a lovely solution to a pavlova doughnut. The bright flavors were quite spring-forward and the crumb on the doughnut was nice. Even her use of the meringue for the pavlova was a huge hit.

Keya surged to the top with her tiramisu brownie. The judges loved the smaller size. More importantly, the flavors were on point. One interesting note, did Keya make the lady fingers? After a previous challenge had a baker criticized for using pre-made lady fingers, it is interesting to know if the same scenario applied?

Who won the Spring Baking Championship pre-heat?

In another twist, Keya rose to the top and won the pre-heat. For winning, her reward was picking her theme for the Main Heat challenge. Given the point in the competition, this reward was big.

For the main heat, the bakers had to create a dessert landscape based on a popular location. Keya chose tropical getaway and the other bakers randomly picked cards. Overall, everyone seemed happy with their options.

Of course, the twist returned to the main heat. The bakers had to include a beverage that would be enjoyed at the vacation destination. Fortunately, it was not a full-sized drink, although everyone would probably agree that Nancy Fuller would have liked a cocktail.

Overall, the dessert-scapes were quite stunning. From Derek’s wooden park to Keya’s beach, each one was quite lovely.

The difference between the bakers came from the ability to create a theme beyond the visual. Derek and Keya found that balance. From Derek’s use of rosemary and pine nuts in his cookies to Keya’s tropical flavors, each one offers a complete experience.

After seeing all the main heat desserts, it was clear that Derek and Keya were top bakers and would make the Spring Baking Championship finale. Even though both bakers have been in the bottom, the reality is that they have been strong throughout the competition.

Even though Derek won this challenge, Keya could take him in the finale. It will come down to the challenge and the execution in the moment.

Spring Baking Championship Season 7 episode 9
Ali Khan interacting with Veruska, as seen on Spring Baking Championship, Season 7. Photo provided by Food Network /

Natalie and Veruska were in the bottom. After such a strong showing last week, Veruska struggled with time. In some ways, it appeared that she didn’t feel connected to the theme. While she told a good story, her visual did not reflect that theme.

On the other hand, Natalie had a strong visual. Everyone could see the amusement park. But, her chocolate flavor was slightly too bitter. Even though the visual worked, there were some execution issues.

In the end, Veruska was eliminate. The Spring Baking Championship finale will feature Derek, Keya and Natalie. It could be anyone’s title to win. Which baker is rolling with confidence? Everyone will have to watch the next episode to see the big reveal.

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Who do you want to win Spring Baking Championship Season 9? Which challenge has been your favorite so far?