Halloween Baking Championship Season 9 episode 1: Creepy clown takeover

Host John Henson portrait for the Killer challenge, as seen on Halloween Baking Championship, Season 9. photo provided by Food Network
Host John Henson portrait for the Killer challenge, as seen on Halloween Baking Championship, Season 9. photo provided by Food Network /

For the new season of the spooky Food Network show, Halloween Baking Championship Season 9 episode 1 put the sweet flavor yet sinister appearance front and center. This season’s carnival theme is far from lighthearted play time. Entering into this fun house might leave a mark.

As 12 bakers entered the Food Network competition, it was clear that this Halloween Baking Championship season would not be child’s play. Beyond the talent and experience on these bakers’ resumes, the group appears to like the darker side of Halloween. Just listening to some of the commentary during the challenges shows that these bakers are unafraid to push that visual to the extreme.

For the Thriller Heat (aka pre-heat), the bakers were challenged to make tiramisu with a particular flavor. In addition, the visual appearance needed to represent a particular tarot card. Overall, these desserts were good. A few had missteps with the texture of the lady fingers, an over whipped cream, or a questionable visual. Still, it was early in the competition. It might be better to play the middle on the first couple of challenges versus soaring to the top.

Winning the Thriller heat was Ryan. The judges were impressed with his broken bones visual that was gruesome yet elegant. More importantly, his amaretto mascarpone was described as “heavenly.” For that win, Ryan received an advantage in the Killer Challenge (aka the Main Heat).

The Killer Challenge asked the bakers to create scary clown cakes. While the bakers could choose any flavor they wanted, this cake was all about the visual. With just three hours to complete the challenge, it was far from a quaint walk in the park.

In addition, it was curious that Halloween Baking Championship Season 9 episode 1 but the emphasis on the visual décor for its first elimination challenge. Between that factor and the more gruesome visuals, this season seems to be more like Halloween Wars than the other Baking Championship series.

For the mid-round twist, the bakers had to incorporate a particular fried element. As the Thriller heat winner, Ryan was able to pick his exclusive ingredient. He chose fried bacon. Other ingredients included fried cookies, churros, and fried bananas, all fried food that could be found at a carnival. It could be a glimpse at future challenge elements.

Overall, the bakers brought the creativity beyond the visual. From the combination of textures to even the idea of an Aussie yeast spread buttercream, the judges appreciated what was hidden underneath the fondant. Also, the use of chocolate and persimmon was equally as delightful. It was good to see some uncommon ingredients used in Halloween Baking Championship Season 9 episode 1.

The punny comments were sprinkled all over the judging. Statements like looks like a nightmare but eats like a dream nailed the concept of this challenge. The visual should make people turn away, but that first bite has them digging back in for another bite.

With his advantage, Ryan impressed with his fried bacon, bourbon and chocolate cake. His visual was equally good. It had a vintage vibe with its distressed coloring. It was another top choice.

Hollie was the other top baker. Her Australian yeast buttercream was almost as impressive as her visual. Her cake was easily the best looking one. It is clear that she will be one of the bakers to beat in decorating challenges.

In Halloween Baking Championship Season 9 episode, Ryan was a double winner. Both Hollie and Ryan definitely have a target on their back. Whether there is a twist of fate coming remains to be seen.

Unfortunately, the bottom three bakers had big mistakes. James forgot his twist element of churros. That misstep put him up for elimination. Even though the rest of the cake was good, missing a required element is never a good thing.

Mike unfortunately had many issues. Whether it was lumpy the clown or the cake was lumpy, the cake was at least consistent in its lumpy mistakes. Improperly whipped frosting and décor mistakes, it was a a nightmare that the judges did not want to entertain.

Lastly, Chad had issues with his décor and a mystery in his cake. While he said that the cake contained beets, the cake was yellow. It seemed that some magical spell took all the color out of the cake. How that happened no one can understand.

In the end, lumpy was just too inconsistent for Halloween Baking Championship Season 9 episode 1 and Mike was eliminated.

What can Food Network fans expect from Halloween Baking Championship Season 9? The carnival might have some enjoyable games, but the outcome might be a little unexpected.

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