Summer Baking Championship premiere: Ready to take a dip in the water?

Host Jesse Palmer presents the floatie doughnuts challenge, as seen on Summer Baking Championship, Season 1.
Host Jesse Palmer presents the floatie doughnuts challenge, as seen on Summer Baking Championship, Season 1. /

While Spring Baking Championship just crowned a winner, Food Network is keeping its ovens on high for a few more weeks. The Summer Baking Championship premiere is here, and the bakers had to sink or swim in the first episode. Which baker needed a little more practice before jumping into the deep end?

Although the Food Network Baking Championship programs have had many versions, summer has not been part of the food television conversation. While there was a wedding show, this baking competition is going to be about fun in the sun. While everyone will have to watch each episode to see the various challenges, these desserts should be light, airy, and perfect for those warm days.

Given that it is the Summer Baking Championship premiere, the pace is fast and furious. The time spent with the new bakers is limited. It is hard to get a sense about who is and is not a potential top contender.

Spring Baking Championship premiere
Host Jesse Palmer presents the floatie doughnuts challenge, as seen on Summer Baking Championship, Season 1. /

For the Pre-Heat Challenge, the bakers had to transform a doughnut into an edible floatie. Although these doughnuts are not being submerged into water, they need to have an impressive visual. It is more than just a doughnut with a glaze. Even though the flavors need to be on point, the judges will not be eating with their eyes closed.

Overall, many of the edible floatie inspired doughnuts were impressive. Although some visuals might sink more than swim, the flavors were mostly on point. One doughnut was more pretzel than pastry. Still, the creativity and layered flavors delighted the judges.

Winning the pre-heat was Yohann. His mango swan doughnut was full of flavor. His use of the icing to create the swan visual was lovely. Overall, he hit all the required elements and floated to the top of the pack.

As the Pre-Heat Challenge winner, Yohann received a Main Heat advantage. It was not revealed until mid-challenge, but it was a good one.

For the Main Heat, the bakers had to create a cake with a gelatin water feature element. Basically, they needed to put gelatin on the cake as a water-like decoration. But, the gelatin needed to be tasty. This component was not like fondant. The judges would be eating and critiquing it.

The challenge concept is interesting. For Spring Baking Championship fans, they might remember that last season Christian created a similar cake in an episode. Maybe that cake was inspiration for this challenge.

For the mid-challenge twist, the bakers had to create edible water balloons. This twist caused everything to go array. Many of the bakers failed to make a palatable offering. Whether it was not knowing the proper technique or not having enough time, this twist was a big bust for many bakers.

Summer Baking Championship premiere
Host Jesse Palmer portrait, as seen on Summer Baking Championship, Season 1. /

For Yohann’s advantage, he did not have to make the edible water balloons. To say that his pre-heat win was big is an understatement.

Overall, the main heat cakes were good. Some bakers had technical issues with the gelatin. The majority of cake flavors were straight forward. A couple of visuals were not finished as carefully as they could have been.

The top cakes were from Josh and Alyssa. John’s cake received praise for his golf design as well as his good flavors and strong technique.

Alyssa offered a unique flavor profile that borrowed from her Filipino roots. While the flavor was impressive, her décor was visually engaging. Overall, her cake was clearly a top choice. It might have been a kiddie pool, but it was full of fun. Alyssa won the Summer Baking Championship premiere main heat.

Unfortunately, two bakers were in the bottom. Kyle’s cake had unfinished décor and did not get his water balloons onto the design. Although the judges praised the corn flavor, it was not a complete offering.

Lisa struggled with many aspects. From her gelatin being too hard to the cake leaning, those technical elements were a miss. In addition, her decision to use modeling chocolate as water balloons was not good. None of the judges were willing to eat that décor.

In the end, Lisa had too many mistakes and was the first baker eliminated on the Summer Baking Championship premiere.

What fun challenges will be in store on this season of Summer Baking Championship? Be sure to watch new episodes on Food Network Monday nights at 9 p.m. EST or stream episodes on discovery+.