TV Time: The American Baking Competition- Cookies and Cakes

 

Elaine's wonderful Snowball Macarons!

Elaine’s wonderful Snowball Macarons!

(This post contains spoilers)

She Said:

I’m completely hooked on The American Baking Competition.  I love the first episode so much! I can’t wait to be more settled into our new place and be able to return to baking.

I love cookies and I was really excited when it was time for cookie week. Francine definitely shone again with her wonderful, but maybe uncomfortably named, “Slap-Yo- Mama” Chocolate Fudge Cookies. Chocolate and chipotle has long been a combination that I wanted to try. Elaine managed to create Ginger cookies that looked appealing to me and satisfied the favorite childhood memories of judge Paul Hollywood. I felt so bad for Whitney at how badly here Soft Lemon Poppy seed Cookies turned out- they looked like raw pancakes! However, the most upsetting part of the challenge was when Brian tried to hide his poorly made cookies. The contestants were supposed to show everything that they had baked. He hid them and then lied about it. I don’t like it when people cheat. Brian has a very bad attitude and sportsmanship. He even gives sweet Francine a hard time. I don’t enjoy watching him and I hope he’ll be eliminated soon- he’s not a great baker anyway.

The technical challenge for the week was to make S’mores. I’m not just talking about making S’mores in a microwave from ready-made ingredients, but completely homemade S’mores cookies. I was slightly shocked to learn the history of the graham cracker and thought some of the humor used to relate the story was offensive and disrespectful to God. But, I was very interested to watch how to create your own graham crackers, marshmallow and chocolate. Francine did well in that challenge, too!

For the showstopper the contestants had to make macarons. I’m not crazy about them, but I do want to try and make them because it’s a challenge to make great macarons. Elaine did a wonderful job with her Snowball inspired Coconut Ganache and took home the Star Baker title for the week. Whitney was ultimately eliminated for her poor macarons that really looked like scone sandwiches. I hope she keeps baking, because she was a sweet girl!

Next up, was cake week. I love cake! Francine made a too-sweet Cherry Soda Pop Cake, but it definitely looked pretty. However, the cake incident that upset me the most involved Brian. He didn’t want to use his somewhat wilted edible pansies to adorn his Dark Chocolate Truffle Cake, so he picked some flowers outside instead. I was horrified! You can’t just put flowers that haven’t been cleared as edible on something that you expect people to eat. The judges reprimanded him and said his cake didn’t have a lot of flavor.

I was a little disappointed with the technical bake challenge. It was to make a Chiffon Cake (interesting- I want to make one) with an Orange Tequila Glaze. I hate it when deserts have alcohol in them- some people can’t or don’t want it. Francine won the challenge and I was happy about that! I’ll definitely remember now to not grease a pan when baking a chiffon cake. I saw enough collapsed cakes so that tip will stick with me.  Poor Kolette, who seems like such a sweet person, made another baking disaster. She actually trimmed all the brown bits off of her cake and it looked so strange and apparently didn’t taste good either. She’s really got to step up her game. I don’t know if this competition is the right place for her. She seems nice, but she doesn’t have the same level of technical skill as some of the other contestants.

Finally the contestants had to bake a surprise inside cake. I’m so interested in learning how to do this technique. I’ve always been a sucker for the rainbow cakes on Pinterest. Effie made a lovely, if somewhat flavorless cake adorned with moons and stars. It was so pretty! The most fabulous cake was Elaine’s Valentine’s Day cake that featured two flavors of cake and a hearts shaped strawberry mousse centers. I would love to eat and/ or make this cake! Kolette was able to save herself from elimination by making a checkerboard cake that looked and tasted great.

I was disappointed that they eliminated Jeremy after too many time management problems and baking disaster.  But, he had made a lot of mistakes so it wasn’t too unjustified. I’ll be cheering on Francine, Effie and Elaine for the rest of the season. I’m really excited for Bread Week!

I adore this show! I’m learning and I’m inspired.  How much better can television get than being educated and entertained at the same time? I also really appreciate that we don’t have to deal with a lot of bad language or contestant romance drama. Thank you CBS for making a show that’s a sweet treat and a joy to watch!

Kari’s Rating- 9

Effie's beautiful stars and moon cake

Effie’s beautiful stars and moon cake

He Said:

The American Baking Competition continued to impress in it’s next two weeks.  I’m really enjoying the competing over any personal spectacle.

I love cookies, so it was neat to see what everyone did for that week.  Whitney may be nice, but she totally deserved to go home.  She just couldn’t get anything to work for her.  Her signature bake turned out bad, and her macarons looked like biscuits sandwiches.  The flavor combinations that could go into a macaron fascinate me, but I’m not sure I’d like how dry the cookie itself is supposed to be.

The next week was Cake week, which I was really looking forward to.  There were a lot of good-looking cakes on display that week, and I really enjoyed it.

This week Kolette saved herself from elimination by making a really good checkerboard cake.  I love that idea and totally want to try one!  The surprise cake is a hard thing to accomplish, but Elaine did a great job with that mousse inside her Valentine’s Day cake.  She has now been star baker 2 weeks in a row, and is really coming on strong.

It was sad to see Jeremy go home.  I really liked his work ethic, and his idea for a cherpumple cake seemed like a really inventive idea.  It’s a shame it didn’t work about and wound up a runny mess.

Brian is now showing no regard for human safety and the rules.  In the cookie week he hid food, and in the cake week he went and got potentially toxic flowers from outside the tent for decoration.  He’s lucky that they tasted his cake at all, because if I were a judge, I wouldn’t risk it!

The only thing that is annoying me at this point is the technical part of the challenge.  I don’t think it’s fair that they’re judging people on how they perform and incomplete recipe.  You could achieve the same thing by just giving them a bare bones recipe.  Leaving out things like how long it’s supposed to cook at a given temperature is fair, but not giving them a temperature at all, and leaving out measurements, is just asking for disaster!

RJ Rating-9

images from cbs.com

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