Tonight is the halfway mark of Season 3 of the Next Great Baker. It’s Episode 7 Battle of the Sexes. Spoiler alert: stop reading right now if you don’t want to know the outcome of Episodes 1, Episode 2, Episode 3, Episode 4, Episode 5, New Year’s Eve Hoboken Style special, and Episode 6.
Tonight’s episode opens with Ashley Holt explaining how emotional last week’s episode had been. “When Letty got sent home, I didn’t understand it. I thought it definitely should have been Chad or Paul. That’s what pisssed me off so bad.”
Buddy is glad to see the emotion — now everybody realizes it’s a competition.
The Baker’s Challenge is a Top Chef style relay triathlon in three heats. Each contestant has to load 500 pounds of shortening off the docks and onto palettes; scale out 27 pounds by hand; then ice a vanilla cake. The winner will get a Somerset fondant sheeter. Chris beats Gretel Ann. Chad beat Jen. Ashley beats Paul, winning the Baker’s challenge (her fourth) and the sheeter.
For the Elimination Challenge, it’s two teams, Boys vs. Girls. Each team will design a cake, execute and deliver a cake — the winner will get a cake in Buddy’s cake book.
The boys decide to go with a Pregnant Princess bridal shower style cake (?), with a sculpted pregnant princess on top that looks inexplicably like comedienne Carol Leifer from Episode 4. The girls promptly nickname her CinderFella.
The girls want “a fashionista cake with a quilted purse and shoes,” which Ashley says she could do, “but I’m not going to.” She says Buddy wants new and fresh, something that isn’t already in the book. The new plan is a purple sweet 16. Ashley wants to sculpt a cat. No go. Then she decides to sculpt a monster. Gretel Ann is dubious. “I don’t get it. What the hell is a sugar monster? What does it have to do with a 16 year old’s cake?” But she’s optimistic. If they go down, she can peg this straight to Ashley’s idea.
Next, in a plot twist, the cakes are turned over to Buddy’s “new driver,” (a stunt driver) for delivery. After surveying the (literal) cake wrecks, the teams are given three hours to re-do their cakes. Accidents happen.
Ashley is determined to stick with the monster. She says, “there’s some people in this competition that have been doing this for 15 years. I’ve focused on this for probably four years. I made a big life change. I was modeling in New York and around the world for over two years. I couldn’t take that industry any more and I decided to do something more productive and healthy, and decided to bake. I’ve always loved to sculpt, and for me I’m naturally good at cake decorating. I’m here to win and I’m going to win.”
Down to the judging. No one likes Ashley’s monster. But no one likes Cinderfella either. “A little butch,” Buddy characterizes her. “Don’t offend the pregnant lady. Pretty her up.” The girls win. Barely.
Chad has been in the bottom five out of seven at-bats. But he’s safe. He wasn’t responsible for any of the day’s screw-ups. Chris was. In only his second time on the chopping block, Chris goes to the box truck. Paul survives by the skin of his teeth.