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American Baking Competition Finale: Who Won?

It’s the finale!

American Baking Competition went by quickly, although considering how straightforward each week’s challenges were (and the lack of drama), it’s a good thing CBS stuck to a small group of contestants to eliminate.

Darlene, Francine and Brian all talked about how they hoped to win – and then the signature bake was on. They got to bake whatever they desired… as long as it was “sophisticated” and used peanuts. Before they began, Darlene hugged the other two to wish them luck. Awww.

Darlene has been kind of a quiet competitor this whole season, and I like her a lot. I’d love her to win, even though I still think it will be Francine.

ABC Finalists

For the challenge both Darlene and Brian are making cake rolls, while Francine is making a peanut butter torte with ganache. Brian fares best with his cake roll during judging, partially pushed over by his decision to use pralines on top instead of Darlene’s 70’s-era recipe card pattern. Francine starts weeping as soon as the judges leave the room, because her torte has an overcooked crust and the mousse filling didn’t have the right texture.

The technical bake is…doughnuts! They need to make Boston crème pie doughnuts, which means there are lots of components to making this right – dough, frying, pastry cream filling and chocolate glaze. Dang, y’all. Doughnuts are hard, but they all jump to the task easily, only having problems when it comes time for the glaze (except for Francine, who reveals that the secret to a shiny top is vegetable oil in the glaze).

Darlene comes out on top with her doughnuts even though she’s never fried anything before! Brian’s doughnuts slide to third, so basically everyone is even heading into the Showstopper.

The Showstopper is to create three types of mini desserts in an American flag theme: 24 each of pastry, meringue, and cake. They’ll be served at a party with “special guests” after the bake is over. (Spoiler alert: the special guests are their families. I hope they have giant tissues ready.)

Brian reveals to Jeff Foxworthy how he’s grown during the competition, revealing, “I think I came in here pretty cocky.” DUH. Darlene starts tearing up while she decorates her petit fours, as she is thinking about her dad. In interview she reveals she is recently divorced and could use a new start, and I want her to win even more now.

Unfortunately, she crashes and burns on all of her mini desserts, with the flavors not at all balanced. Francine has problems with hers as well, although they like her mini cakes. Brian does the best of the three, with success on all three of his desserts.

Before the winner is revealed the contestants get to see their families – and they cry immediately. Francine’s husband ribs her about not being home to cook dinner. We also get to see the other contestants again, giving their opinions on who will win.

And the winner is… Brian! Looks like I guessed wrong. Granted, Brian changed his behavior in the last couple of episodes, and he had the best bakes tonight, but I don’t feel like we got enough of a redemption arc to make me happy about his win. It’s good they judge on skills rather than personality! Congrats Brian, I hope you get to open that bed and breakfast you wanted.

Will there be another season? The Twitter feedback on the show has been positive, but I don’t know how long they can bank on the kitschy Americana theme they have created for the show. We’ll see!

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