Holiday Baking Championship declares a winner in the pie versus cake battle

Host Jesse Palmer, Judges Nancy Fuller, Duff Goldman and Carla Hall, as seen on Holiday Baking Championship, Season 8. Photo provided by Food Network
Host Jesse Palmer, Judges Nancy Fuller, Duff Goldman and Carla Hall, as seen on Holiday Baking Championship, Season 8. Photo provided by Food Network /

In the Holiday Baking Championship Season 9 premiere episode, the new set of 12 bakers were tasked with a huge baking challenge. Which team of bakers would reign supreme in the ultimate dessert battle. Could Team Pie slice off a win over Team Cake? The judges would choose one for sweet supremacy.

When a new season of the Holiday Baking Championship begins, the first couple of episodes can be difficult. Although each baker wants to make an impression on the judges, no one wants to misstep early in the competition. Even though middle ground is safe, it might be best to play the odds in the first few challenge.

For the first challenge, the bakers took on pavlova meringue wreaths. The delicate pastry might seem like a billowy cloud, but it can crumble with a simple touch. Even though these bakers are experienced, sometimes the day does not go as planned.

Overall, the pavlova meringue wreaths were successful. There were a few cracks along the way and some questionable designs. Still, the first challenge seemed to show that these bakers are ready for the competition.

From smart flavor combinations to proper technique, the bakers impressed the judges. Even though incorporating fruit in an innovative, flavorful way is not easy, it looked like child’s play for these bakers. Still, only one baker could earn the win.

Earning the first win of the season is Aishia. Her persimmon pavlova wreath was visually stunning. More importantly, the flavors impressed the judges. It would be a welcome gift on any holiday table.

Holiday Baking Championship makes judges choose – cake or pie.

For the Main Heat, the 12 bakers had a head to head battle. Split down the middle, half of the bakers had to make a pie and the other half made cake. The flavors were the same. In the end, whichever side had the most wins would be safe and one baker from the losing dessert side would go home.

As the preheat winner, Aishia could choose to swap her dessert flavor with another teammate. She pulled candy cane and decided to keep her flavor. Although her dessert was tasty, it did not earn her the win. One of the top desserts of the episode was Harshal’s candy cane flavored cake. It clearly impressed the judges.

Since only one, pie or cake, could be declared the best holiday dessert, the judges had to break a tie. It came down to Harshal’s candy cane cake and Jessica’s pecan pie. In the end, the gooey, decadent flavor of the pecan pie was crowned the winner.

All the pie bakers were safe, which was a big deal for Antoine. He did not plate the mid-challenge twist of adding snowflake cookies. He decided not to plate his gingerbread cookies and hope the best. If it wasn’t for Jessica’s win, he might have gone home.

Unfortunately, one baker had to be eliminated on the first episode. For anyone who has watched Holiday Baking Championship over the years, the outcome was rather clear. RaChelle was sent home. Her cake was not up to the standards. Even if her flavor was not bad, the sprinkles over took the eggnog flavors and her snowflake cookies were clearly underbaked. It was not this home baker’s day.

Given that it is the first episode of Holiday Baking Championship Season 9, it is hard to determine who could rise to the top. Based on these two challenges, it could be anyone’s title to earn.

A new episode of Holiday Baking Championship Season 9 will air Monday at 8 p.m. on Food Network.