In this Best Baker in America recap, the talented bakers took on the Kuchen. While this word might not roll off the tongue, the reality is that this iconic South Dakota dessert might need its own reboot. In this week’s challenge, only a few bakers found gold in that Black Hills dessert.
The Kuchen is not a traditional dessert found on many menus or in many bakeries. While South Dakota might look on this dessert with pride, the difficulty of this challenge was high. Even though the bakers could adapt the recipe, the reality is that the majority of bakers had major execution issues.
The challenge was that each baker had to make a Kuchen that represented their own state. In addition, the dessert had to be served with an ice cream. While South Dakota might be the birth place of cookies and cream ice cream, these dessert and ice cream combinations aren’t commonly found on that 31 flavors list.
Overall, this challenge was about the least mistakes versus the most successful. The reality is that almost every dessert had issues. From bad textures to under-baked components, it was almost as if the bakers needed a do-over. These mistakes could have been expected when the power went out in last week’s episode, but this week shouldn’t have seen so many errors.
Did this Best Baker in America recap have another first to worst or worst to first outcome?
Another interesting Best Baker in America Season 4 pattern is the extremes in the bakers’ success. Every episode seems to have a top baker fall to the bottom and vice versa. This episode was no different.
After almost being eliminated last week, Clarice was a top baker. She was able to execute this dessert better than the rest. It was surprising that she excelled in a hard dessert yet falters in some of the easier offerings.
And, in the opposite direction, Aaron went from top baker to up for elimination. Although his dessert was visually superior to others, the texture of his dessert was too firm. The execution was missing.
Who was sent to the Bake-Off on this Best Baker in America recap?
With kuchen disasters, Aaron, Caitlyn and Caryn had to face the bake-off. For this challenge, the bakers took on the scotcheroo. The classic Minnesota dessert bar combines chocolate, peanut butter, butterscotch and krispy cereal into a single bite.
Of course, the bakers are not just making the dessert. They must transform the dessert into a beautifully plated concept that captures the flavors but re-imagine the classic.
Looking at the three desserts, there were very different approaches to the challenge. Caitlyn strayed far away from the traditional dessert bar. With a butterscotch pot de crème, she found a way to bring the flavor but with a textural element. While the appearance is quite different, with eyes closed, all the flavors came together. It was a successful dessert.
Aaron had a stunning visual for his dessert, The use of the sun and moon while bringing that decadent chocolate flavor, he found a way to transform the flavor yet not totally lose sight of the challenge.
Caryn had a bad day in the kitchen. In the first challenge, her Kuchen did not set and the pastry was raw in the middle. In this challenge, her peanut butter mousse transformed into a candy bar was ambitious.
While adding some savory notes from the miso and sesame seeds was a lovely idea, this dessert seemed to be falling flat or maybe it was the mousse just oozing onto the plate.
Since the judges had to send one baker home, it was Caryn who had to leave. Even though she had been safe in previous challenges, today was not her day. Execution mistakes let her down. Although the judges might shut their eyes when they take a bite, they cannot be blind to bigger issues.
It will be interesting to see if the pattern continues in next week’s episode of Best Baker in America. Could a bottom baker rise to the top or could a top baker fall to the bottom? It remains to be seen.
What do you think of Best Baker in America Season 4? Is there a missing ingredient to this Food Network season?