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American Baking Competition Review: Round 3!

Last week on American Baking Competition, we bid farewell to Whitney, who never seemed to really get her baking feet under her in the tent-kitchen. Jeremy managed to finish all his baking, and Elaine was named Star Baker.

Eight bakers left now and this week we’re on to… cake!

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The Signature Bake is for a one-layer cake in 90 minutes. For some reason the tent-kitchen’s sides are rolled up. Are we asking for bugs or a flour disaster?

Many of the cakes are chocolate, and I love a chocolate cake, but I wish there was more variation in people’s dessert recipes. Francine tells us she gets her secret ingredient from the bait & tackle store. Um, ew. Vanilla is just fine, thanks.

Brian tells us he’s the best baker in his town. Even if he is, that doesn’t endear him to us, and I’m starting to wonder if he’s getting the bad-guy edit or if he really is like that. Also, he decides to put flowers on his cake and demonstrates how they are edible, with a face that shows no one should really do that. The judges also smack him down for apparently picking the flowers from the tent-kitchen garden, and having a bland cake.

Francine’s soda pop cake gets thumbs down, and Judge Marcella even says, “It certainly looks homemade.” I can’t decide if she is intentionally snarking Francine or if that was meant to be a compliment.

The Technical Bake is chiffon cake with tequila-orange glaze, a recipe of Marcella’s. James, Kolette, Brian, and Jeremy apparently have all never made a chiffon cake, which, what? If you’re going to be on a baking competition, maybe study up on one of the most basic cakes. Granted, the recipe doesn’t have too many instructions, so this really is a test of their intuitive skills. I’m worried for everyone, as they’re all freaking out and Francine even starts burning excess oil in her oven.

Kolette weeps again for coming in last, but chiffon newbie James pulls out second place. Go James! He’s my favorite – I like a guy who can bake. Francine gets tops, and talking-heads that she wants Star Baker again. Well, duh!

Showstopper time: a “surprise inside cake," which means a cake that reveals a special design when cut open. I know these are gaining in popularity, but they still sound very hard and I’m not even willing to try it myself.

Jeremy is making a cherpumple – aka, a pie inside of a cake. I don’t think that is quite in the spirit of the challenge. When you cut it open, it will just look like a messy pie inside of a design in cake. The other bakers have interesting ideas, and I’m looking forward to seeing what comes out.

The most successful is Elaine, who made a cute Valentine’s Day cake with a mousse heart as her design, instead of a design made of cake. Kolette’s ambitious (and huge) checkerboard cake probably saves her from elimination, though it doesn’t hurt that Jeremy’s cherpumple looks like it is bleeding, and the cake itself is underbaked. Francine is snarked again on her presentation, with Judge Paul saying it’s only OK if it’s a small child’s birthday cake. Either she’s being set up for a comeback, or the judges have tired of her Southern charm.

Elaine gets Star Baker again, thanks to her delicious pineapple-upside down cake in the Signature Bake as well as her success in the Showstopper. Go, Elaine! She seems to love being there, no matter how well she is doing.

Jeremy is packing his decorating tips and going home, which has made my firefighter-loving son sad. Good luck back at the firehouse.

Next week? Bread recipes including pretzels! Seriously, good luck bakers – if the rain in this week’s episode is any indication, you’re going to have a tough time.