While the Food Network carnival might seem like fun and games, Halloween Baking Championship Season 9 episode 4 stepped back into the dark, eerie paths for these challenges. Even if the bakers wanted to look into that mirror, the reflected image may be more disturbing than they realized. In this double elimination episode, those unexpected cuts are much deeper than the bakers assumed.
Although the Halloween Baking Championship Season 9 is not quite at the halfway point, the divide between top and bottom bakers is starting to make a wider chasm. As seen in the first three episodes, four bakers won both the Thriller and the Killer Challenge. Those double wins put Ryan, Hollie, and James on the target list. Whether or not this double elimination challenge causes a huge plot twist remains to be seen.
In the Halloween Baking Championship Season 9 episode 4 Thriller Challenge, the bakers took on Bloody Mary bar desserts. While this challenge did not shake up the popular brunch cocktail, it was a visual play on that old-school mirror legend, Bloody Mary. From the cookie to the bar dessert, the bakers might have wished for a different visually inspired challenge.
Looking at the desserts, the divide was clear once again. Even though no one wants to mention the old phrase about the cookie crumbling, some of these cookies would have been better served mashed up at the bottom of a trifle. Luckily, a few decorative items helped cover those cracks.
With Hollie, it is more than just her décor. Her flavors take a different approach to each challenge. For her Bloody Mary bar and cookie challenge, her bar wowed the judges. The pumpkin caramel coconut bar felt like a pumpkin pie that got caramelized and was then topped with a coconut macaron.
Yet again, Hollie won the Thriller Challenge and received an advantage in the Killer Challenge. As a double elimination challenge, it was quite a benefit. For winning, Hollie was able to choose her partner. She picked Mandi.
The other bakers were ranked and were able to pick based on their placement. The pairings seemed likely. And, it might have been a way for the competition to let the top baker rise yet again.
In the Killer Challenge, the teams had to create Frankencakes. The visual required the bakers to include two body parts on a cake. Think of an ear stitched to a leg or a hand holding a nose.
As for the mid-challenge twist, the teams had to incorporate unlikely flavor pairings into their desserts. Options like tomato, basil, lime and others might not always mix with the other cake flavors.
Before tackling the visual, it was interesting that three out of the four cakes were a type of velvet. While the colors varied, the cake style was consistent. Maybe everyone thought that a velvet cake just screamed body part.
While flavor should always be a top priority, it seemed that the judges are rewarding the visual in these challenges, more specifically the slightly more gross visual. For example, Hollie and Mandi were praised for its ooey, gooey, creepy aspect in their cake.
The divide between the top and bottom bakers was clear. The combination of flavors and décor just hit differently with Hollie and Mandi and Ryan and James. For example, the touch of tomato with the raspberry jam gave a restaurant like quality. The little details, like Ryan and James putting their hand on ice, makes a big difference.
Winning the Killer Challenge were Ryan and James. Their black velvet cake with grape jam and thyme wowed the judges. From sandwich cookie vibes to impeccable décor, they deserved the win.
The bottom bakers were Stacy and Christa and Dan and Shefali. Both cakes had flavor issues.
Dan and Shefali had a misstep with their sweetness, where everything seemed one note and it needed more acid. Also, the cake did not necessarily look like an arm.
Stacy and Christa had great anatomical detail, but their cake was very dry. That crumbly texture was in need of a soak. Also, the use of the chocolate ganache was a misstep.
In the end, Dan and Shefali were eliminated. Both bakers struggled in each challenge. It seems that they time in the carnival has come to a close on Halloween Baking Championship Season 9 episode 4.
Which baker will find their way through all the twists and turn in this Food Network baking challenge? Only one will be left standing in the end.