It’s baaaaack! Season 8 of Food Network’s Halloween Baking Championship premiered on Monday, September 12, and it was as deliciously entertaining as ever.
John Henson is back as our host this season, and the judges are also familiar faces to fans of the show: Carla Hall, Zak Young and Stephanie Boswell. I always look forward to seeing their very inventive costumes, and the Psycho-inspired looks they sported during the second challenge were, well… to die for.
For season eight, the contestants enter Hotel Henson, and are told they have received a complimentary 8-week stay. Their stay will end abruptly if they do not perform well enough in the challenges, and they will be sent to the 13th floor… from which no one has ever returned.
Each episode of Halloween Baking Championship features two different challenges for our bakers. The first challenge is The Thriller, and the second is The Killer. For episode one, The Thriller challenge involved each baker being assigned a body part (a torso, a leg or an arm), and they were tasked with creating a face to go along with the body part. The tricky part was that the faces needed to be made into a pie.
These weren’t just plain old apple pies either; we were treated to Apple Pecan Cranberry, Pineapple Spiced Rum, Apple-Pear Hazelnut, Blueberry Danish, Browned Butter Apple Cranberry, Browned Butter Maple Bourbon, Mulled Wine and a few more tasty creations.
The faces themselves were also morbidly creative. There was a lovestruck teenager, a woman who was killed by her much younger lover, a mauled face, a murder witness whose eyes were pulled out and a slaughtered grandmother. Of course, the judges critiqued each pie, and the number one problem seemed to be the fact that several of them were under baked. That makes sense, because the challenges are timed, and that can be an issue where baking times are concerned. Two of the pies were also deemed not quite sweet enough.
Ultimately, Maricsa was named the winner of the Thriller challenge, with the judges deeming her Blueberry Cream Cheese Danish pie the best of the bunch.
Then we were on to the Halloween Baking Championship Killer challenge, which involved blood patterns. Horror and true crime fans know all about this category; each baker was given a blood pattern type, such as passive, transfer, arterial gush, etc. They had to bake a sponge cake consisting of at least four layers and decorate it with their assigned blood pattern. After they were already hard at work on their creations, Henson threw in a twist: they had to include an edible knife in their cakes.
Who was the first casualty of Halloween Baking Championship this season?
Those knives were problematic for some of the bakers, and several of them turned out to be floppy. For my money, Blayre’s gorgeous wedding cake design was the best-looking of the bunch. It included a severed finger wearing a wedding band, and the blood was super realistic looking.
Lauren’s rather simple looking cake won the top honors, and the other safe bakers were announced. The last two standing were Marcus and AJ.
Had I been one of the judges, I would have had to cut Marcus based on how his cake looked. He covered it in bright green wood-grained fondant, it had very uneven layers of sponge, and his knife was one of the aforementioned floppy weapons. It looked like a hot mess. The cake must have tasted really good however, because even though he was in the bottom two, AJ was cut instead. His cake was more pink than red, and the blood was a weird color.
AJ was sent up to the dreaded 13th floor in the elevator, and the light went out on his portrait.
Halloween Baking Championship airs a new episode on Food Network each Monday night, and can be streamed on discovery+.
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