While the winter season inspires many of the sweet desserts on this Food Network baking competition, the Holiday Baking Championship Wonka inspired cakes on Season 10 episode 4 turned whimsy on its head. Some bakers appreciated the brief and others might need to find their fun side.
After 10 seasons, it can be hard for Holiday Baking Championship to find a new approach to some of its challenges. While food and baking trends sometimes influence those desserts, the bakers occasionally need to think outside of the box. Sometimes a movie-tie in can help push the conversation in a new direction.
For the Holiday Baking Championship Season 10 episode 4 pre-heat, the bakers had to take an old-school, traditional dessert and add a dash of whimsy. While Food Network has tackled the Mont Blanc before, these versions were far from the old-school recipe. Then again, there are not too many people who swoon over that chestnut treat.
The pre-heat required the bakers to reimagine the Mont Blanc. While they still needed to include that chestnut flavor, everything else could get an update. From color to additional flavors, it was time to let their imagination come alive.
Some bakers were ambitious with the concepts. Bold colors were common. One created a whole tree scene. The biggest takeaway from this challenge was that the bakers hid the chestnut flavor. Sure, it might not be the most tasty option, but it was a requirement. Finding a way to keep that nuttiness was key to mastering the challenge.
Even though there were more highs than lows, one baker nailed the brief. Thoa used her French pastry training to her advantage. While the visual was whimsical, it was also elegant. It hit the mark of traditional with modern. More importantly, she did not hide the chestnut flavor. Overall, it was a triumph.
While Thoa received an advantage for the Main Heat, that item was not immediately revealed. That element gave the bakers a heads up that a mid-challenge twist could derail their idea. For anyone who was paying attention, they might want to choose their flavors wisely.
For the Main Heat, the Holiday Baking Championship Wonka inspired challenge asked the bakers to flip their cakes upside down. While teetering, falling, and otherwise flipped cakes are usually a fail on these Food Network programs. This challenge had the bakers intentionally flipping their cakes for presentation.
The idea of looking up at a smooshed design is not necessarily normal. Yes, there are dripped cakes, lava cakes, and other smashed desserts. But, few people actually get a cake served upside down. Let’s hope that this idea does not become a new dessert trend.
While the serving requirement was clear, the bakers could choose any flavor that they wanted. It was interesting that there was little discussion on the type of cake and why it would matter. Time and again, there have been issues with leaning cakes and structural fails. Serving a cake upside down might be better served by a denser cake. Some bakers picked up on that idea.
In addition, the mid-challenge Holiday Baking Championship Wonka twist was not easy. Having to create marshmallow from scratch was definitely a wrinkle. Thoa could use pre-made marshmallow fluff in the cake. It might not seem like a lot, but it was a big advantage.
Regarding the marshmallow element, it was surprising that some bakers did not remember how to make this treat. It might not be typical to make it from scratch, but the bakers should have some elemental knowledge of the recipe.
For the Holiday Baking Championship Wonka upside down cake challenge, the majority of cakes were well done. Some designs were more successful than others, but they worked. No one’s cake slid off or was a major fail.
In addition, the flavors were thoughtful. Some bakers captured the whimsy both in and on the cake. Even though it was not a requirement, those bakers deserved a few extra accolades for thinking about the whole challenge.
The top bakers in the Holiday Baking Championship Wonka inspired challenge were Josh and Thoa. Both bakers scored high with the visual. Thoa played off the suspended, upside-down idea with her mistletoe design. The judges appreciated her thoughtful approach.
Josh scored high with the judges for his overall approach. The wreath design worked well when flipped. In addition, the use of toasted marshmallow on the side was a nice touch. Lastly, his guava filling wowed the judges with its flavor.
Winning the Holiday Baking Championship Season 10 episode 4 main heat was Josh. It was a big win for him.
Other bakers had big swings from highs to lows and vice versa. After two dismal challenges in the previous episode, Justine recovered well. In both challenges, the judges had high praise.
Unfortunately, Javier had big missteps. While the judges appreciated his flavors, he did not embrace the whimsy aspect to the challenges. It had him falling to the bottom.
The two bottom bakers were Greg and Bert. Greg’s design did not work. In addition, his cake was supposed to have cinnamon flavor and the judges could not find that ingredient.
Bert’s cake failed on many levels. The overall flavor was off in his cake. The marshmallow was bad, and his frosting was broken. Most importantly, his design did not work. It looked like a cake that filled in the box, which was not the point of the challenge.
The baker sent home on Holiday Baking Championship Season 10 episode 4 was Bert. There were just too many mistakes to save him.
What can Food Network fans expect on the next challenge? Be sure to watch new Holiday Baking Championship episodes Monday nights at 8 p.m. ET/PT or stream them the next day on MAX.