Ultimate Cake Off: 4th of July

5+ feet of cake in 9 hours, 3 contestants, 3 well known judges…

The winning cake, made for the fourth of july, will be shown at the Reagan Presidential Library.

Tariq– winner of the first episode of the show, will do anything you want
Pat– owner of Patty Cakes, fun loving, do it right or do it over, competitive
Carrie– wedding cakes is her business and passion

They wonder what Carrie is doing because it looks like a lot of heavy cake. Tariq is confident because he’s precise. He has lots of fancy moving details. Tariq’s group is running late on the star cutouts which makes Pat’s group happy.

Time for a skills test. Pat’s upset because she’s mid carving. (Tariq is likely the choice for who to sit out since he’s got a record for winning.) The challenge: piping a cake in the most patriotic way possible using the supplied materials. Tariq checks what the others do and thinks he’s screwed. Tariq comes out looking like the novice of the group but his is complete. Carrie’s was well done for freehand. Pat has better skills because hers was neater on top. The winner of the skills test is…Pat. She chooses Tariq’s team because she thinks he’s farthest ahead. (He doesn’t agree, he thinks it is because he’s the biggest threat.) Considering that he’s done this before and had to sit out, you’d think he’d have been prepared for this.

Tariq only regrets that it isn’t lunch time. Meanwhile the others push through on their cakes. Everyone still wonders about what is being made at Carrie’s table. One of her workers, Julie, is a painter and is adding finishing touches to what will be a barrel. Tariq’s team can get back to work and is using lots of sugar.

Criteria for judging: Client satisfaction, technical difficulty, and aesthetic appeal. Client has the final say. Judges look around again. They worry that Tariq is overconfident while up again two seasoned competitors. They also worry that Carrie’s fondant will fall off because they forgot to cool down the cake. For now it looks good. Pat has difficulty with ripping fondant and repairing the striped material.

The client walks around to see the cakes.

Taste test now. Carrie said she’s very intimidated by Tariq because he’s an executive chef. While the judges deliberate they begin working. Tariq discovers some issue with the light of his cake as he begins to put it together. They are called back for the taste test results. The winner is Carrie. Sitting out is Pat since it’s only fair. Pat thinks she felt threatened.

Tariq does some trouble shooting and after finally cutting away some stuff 9and nearly cutting one person’s finger) they fix it all. Carrie runs into her own problems with their bottle rockets which fall apart. Tariq did sugar work which no one else was doing (and which went faster than expected. Pat’s team wonders if they’re overambitious. They’re behind.

With an hour and a half left, Pat’s team returns to work in a panic. Tariq and Carrie are ahead at the moment. But Tariq’s tube messes up again. He’s sure he’s lost with that. Pat is sure she won’t finish. Ten minutes left…more running around. Time’s up.

Time to move the cakes for judging, Tariq first. It was over six feet tall. Even without the light it’s awesome. Pat’s up and they fear for the large Uncle Sam holding the cake. Carrie last, over 400 lbs. So far so good with all. well executed details but two separate parts that don’t necessarily work together. Pat’s is fun and difficult though the fondant work isn’t well done. Carrie’s is fun and traditional. Festive, needs better placement. Best icons artistically, but forced.

Deliberation time. The judges have issues with each. Time to announce the winner. The judge doing the talking is announcing so much it sounds like he thinks he’s talking to idiots. The winning cake is…Pat.


Ultimate Cake Off: Square Dancing

This week the competitors compete to have their cakes showcased at a marquee event (58th national square dancing convention) and win $10,000.

The contestants:
Clemence- loves things looking organic and natural, quirky
Norman- been doing cakes since 14. his license plate says cake art. he’s by far the oldest contestant
Courtney- loves the creativity allowed, perfectionist and gets intense, she works with her husband

California and Squaredancing themes to be incorporated. The cake must be five feet tall. The contestants discuss their plans. They each get to work. Clemence wants everything to be edible. Courtney wants to get things on the cake even that they didn’t plan. Tiny fondant cracks drive her crazy.

Criteria- client satisfaction, difficulty, and aesthetic appeal. The judge is concerned with Courtney’s construction. Judge is concerned with Clemence’s speed but like that she’s so concerned with flavor. Norman’s seems fantastic and arty but will it have too much stimulus.

The competitors are called out for the skills test. They have to carve a western hat out of cake. Clemence works with her hands. Norman cuts small chunks at a time. Courtney takes the opposite approach. When the time is up they are sent back to their stations while the judges deliberate. Courtney feels better about hers once she glances at the others. The others don’t look hat like at all. The winner of the skills test is Courtney. Now to choose who will sit out for thirty minutes. She chooses Norman because he’s ahead. (She also knows what Norman can do and was afraid.)

When Norman’s team is allowed to work again they set to work quickly. Courtney thinks she’s far behind. Clemence is having difficulties making the sugar for a sign they are making. She keeps cracking it. In comes the client to inspect. She loves the way Courtney incorporates the inheritance of the dance. Clemence uses the colors a lot. She’s impressed by Norman’s details. He works to build a rapport with the client.

The client has a last minute competition. They are having a dance competition that they have to create a medal for and add a logo in. Courtney feels behind. Clemence is doing many new things in her cake. She doesn’t usually use so many different techniques in one cake. Courtney is determined to win.

The contestants begin adding the layers onto the cake and then work on the details when they are called for the taste test. This is the one Clemence wants to win most. Courtney’s is delicious. Clemence’s is really good. Norman’s is light and well done. (Well, at least none taste bad.) Norman fears that Courtney will win and choose him to sit out again. The winner is…Clemence. She’s really emotional. She chooses Courtney to sit out (so far no one has been made to sit out twice). Courtney’s kind of pissed but it could ruin things for her.

Norman says he’s worried about Courtney beating him and doesn’t think Clemence will do as well. Norman’s rotating part of the cake hits some trouble but they fix it. Courtney is concerned about the time she missed and they begin to put their layers together which weren’t fitting. (Norman has the most awards and is the one to beat.)

Clemence cake begins shrinking and loses some height. this is her first competition ever.

30 minutes left. 5 minutes left. 1 min. 10 seconds. Last minute touch ups. Time is up. They have to move their cakes to the judging area. Clemence is first and very nervous. It’s very shaky and looks like it will topple but they manage. Norman is next and he seems to be fine, only the very top shakes a bit. They pull it off. Courtney last. She is very nervous because it is very wobbly. They too get their cake inside. (I think this is the first time that all cakes are fully done and in tact.)

Judging time. Clemence’s looks the simplest. It’s not quite finished. She lacked the energy but she didn’t get flustered. Norman’s has tons of little characters. He has a great technical ability but there’s so much detail that some judges think it lacks heart. Others find it very fun. Courtney’s is also quite detailed but in a different, bigger style. The face aren’t well done on the characters but otherwise the detail is great. She missed finishing some small details.

Judges discuss. Clemence’s wasn’t perfect and was simple. Norman’s is very ambitious. He writes the wrong name on the cake (annual not national) and puts the shirt and cake in the wrong spots. Courtney’s is well executed. They come to a decision and call the teams in.

Norman’s technical skills keep in the competition, making him a finalist. (He says fortunately for him…) Courtney is also a finalist, meaning Clemence is going home. She says she’s happy with what she did and doesn’t feel bad for losing. The client will announce the winner. The winner is…COURTNEY! Agreed. Norman says he glad that if he had to lose to someone he’s proud to lose to her. He really expected to win.

They show the square dance convention and her cake.

Ultimate Cakeoff: Pirates

Finally, nearly a month after the first episode, the second episode is being aired. (Meanwhile the Food Network has been having a show called “The Food Network Challenge” which is essentially the same show.)

The contestants:
Bob (always aims for extremely big cakes)
Susan (she doesn’t know how to cut down)
Mike (he works with his mom. that’s so cute)

The winner will have their cake showcased at the Pirate Invasion Fair and get $10,000. They have 9 hours to complete their cakes, including the design.

We get a little cartoon of each of the designs. Two of three definitely gone for artistic over real cake. One looks cake like while incorporating the artistic side. These cakes average around 6 feet. They point out how important the engineering aspect of the cake design is. This is no simple baking process.

Bob’s working on his tall cake and things aren’t going well because he needs to cool them down before they can be frosted properly. Nowhere near finished with the first ship on his cake, he moves on to the second to get it started. Susan is stacking her cake meanwhile. She’s never made a cake over five feet tall before (which is the minimum height for the cakes). Mike is having issues with the fondant, it’s ripping. He seems a bit impatient with his mom (normally she’s the one in charge). Bob’s icing is falling apart. Bob shows himself more innovative and comes up with a system to keep it from ripping.

Judgment is on Aesthetic Appeal, Client Satisfaction, and Degree of Difficulty. As they work the judges come around to ask questions and look on.

Mike is rolling his fondant too thick. Susan has her cake nearly made but has to pay more attention to detail. Bob works cover the entire cake with fondant despite not typically using fondant. Mid-process the client comes to look at their progress. Bob tries to ignore him in hopes that he leaves. It doesn’t work. Mike loves talking to him.

But there’s a twist! They must incorporate the monkey mascot into their cake, which must be four inches. They’ll be judged for creativity.

Bob attempts to redo the fondant. He doesn’t seem to be making much progress at all. Susan’s cake involves a drinking pirate, cannons shooting glitter, swimming sharks, and a bobbing treasure chest. Mike has a lot of detail and they wonder it he’ll have time. Finally Bob gets the map painted.

Pause. The taste test. They must give the judges a sample of their cake. The best tasting cake wins.
Bob- sponge with coconut and pineapple filling
Susan- coconut cake (critiqued for too much coconut)
Mike- sponge/pound cake
The winner is decided. It is…one of the men (sorry I totally missed it.) Susan has to sit out. Apparently there is only one challenge this time around.

With less than an hour they get back to work and have just the details to work. An entire chunk of fondant falls off the cake. Apparently his construction was problematic. Mike has some tension while working with mom but they keep on.

Time’s up. (Mike has an emotional moment.) Susan is first to move her cake. Nervously. Then comes Mike who isn’t so nervous (his mother is a little overly talkative). I’m kind of afraid that as he moves the cake the entire thing will collapse. Oh, it seems it already collapsed so he makes a joke out of it and rides in on his cake mess. Everyone cheered for him. It’s nice to see him take it well.

Susan’s cake is pretty awesome. She’s told it’s pretty sloppy because she got too much in the way of ideas. Mike’s is pretty nice too though relatively small. It has a sinking ship which is pretty awesome. The ship has some cracked fondant. Lots of little characters.

Shockingly, Bob is not a finalist. Susan vs Mike now. And the winner is…Mike.

Mike also gets hired for a cake featured in a USA Weekend Magazine, one that is summer themed.

(Overall, I think the cakes are more impressive this episode than last time’s.)