Halloween Baking Championship season 8 episode 2 recap

Judges Carla Hall, Zac Young, Stephanie Boswell and Host John Henson portrait, as seen on Halloween Baking Championship, Season 8.
Judges Carla Hall, Zac Young, Stephanie Boswell and Host John Henson portrait, as seen on Halloween Baking Championship, Season 8. /

Episode 2 of Halloween Baking Championship gave the bakers a cream puff dessert challenge involving DreamWorks upcoming film Puss in Boots: The Last Wish. Their task was to create a “Croquemboot,” a boot-shaped version of the classic stacked cream puff creation called Croquembouche.

Henson threw the bakers a curve ball by telling them the lowest performing competitor would have to sit out the second challenge. Worse yet, they would then have to compete with the lowest performer in the second “killer” challenge in a two-person sudden death challenge. Halloween Baking Championship does not play around when it comes to swerves!

Each baker was assigned a flavor for their cream filling, and were encouraged to create their own version of the animated cat’s boot by decorating it in innovative ways.

Blayre (who is my personal favorite Halloween Baking Championship competitor this season) made chocolate puffs filled with Mexican hot chocolate pudding. She made a really cool feather, inspired by the feather in Puss’s hat. The judges loved her design and her flavors.

Margarita, who chose pumpkin spice, colored her cream puffs orange and used black craquelin discs on them, so she had the perfect Halloween color palette.

Halloween Baking Championship
Halloween Baking Championship – Courtesy Food Network /

Lauren’s boot was decorated with spiders, but unfortunately her creation was too monochromatic, and the spiders just didn’t stand out.

Once again, Marcus just didn’t perform at the level he should have. He had never made a croquembouche, and his first batch of cream puff batter had to be tossed. Hats off to Kristi, who stepped in and instructed him on the proper way to mix the dough. His second batch was a little better, but the puffs weren’t well shaped, and he just couldn’t manage to stack them. To give him credit, he made the most of what he had and showed his sense of humor by explaining that his creation was an “exploded” boot. That’s a pretty accurate description of how the finished product looked.

Judge Stephanie marveled at how his cream puffs were overcooked on the outside, yet partly raw on the inside, and while the judges appreciated the flavor of the cream filling, they agreed that it did not really taste like Mexican hot chocolate.

Ultimately, Blayre and Maricsa (who built a nicely shaped Croquembouch with peanut butter filling) were the two top performers, and Marcus and Lola placed at the bottom (Lola’s puffs were undercooked).

Blayre was pronounced the top performer, and Marcus’s creation was put in last place. No surprise there; despite his great personality, he failed this challenge with both his design and flavors.

For the Killer Challenge, the bakers were instructed to create their own version of a Sachertorte, a chocolate sponge cake traditionally filled with apricot jam and covered with chocolate icing. They each had to decorate their cakes to show a manner of death.

Halloween Baking Championship
Halloween Baking Championship – Courtesy Food Network /

Since she won the first challenge, Blayre got to choose her chocolate flavor, and no one else could use it. She chose dark chocolate, and decorated her cake to show death by cat scratch. Her Sachertorte was made with cherry jam, hazelnut ganache and espresso, and her cat face design was enhanced by cat paws that scratched trenches in the icing.

Justin used blonde chocolate and blueberry jam to design his cake using the theme of death by elevator. The design was really clever, but he struggled with the sponge cake and had to toss his first attempt. He ended up making a regular chocolate cake rather than sponge cake.

The other “death by” choices were great too, Zac created a death by bee sting cake that was glazed in gorgeous yellow and black and Lauren’s death by elevator (that’s right, two contestants chose the same theme) included incredibly precise lettering.

As usual, the judges’ costumes were hysterical. Carla was a psychic, Stephanie was a really ratty-looking rat and Zac was a cat, complete with claws. I think this silliness is what I am missing about Halloween Wars this season (and last). Zak Bagans just isn’t funny, and the judges, though they try, just don’t hit that mark hard enough to cover.

But, I digress…ultimately, Lauren and Zac were the top two, with Lauren winning top honors. The bottom two were Jill (who had too many flavors competing in her cake) and Justin, with Jill coming in dead last, meaning she now had to compete with Marcus in a challenge to make cupcakes mirroring the judges last wish deserts. The design of the cupcakes had to match the corresponding judge’s costume

Jill chose lemon meringue, which was Carla Hall’s pick, and  Marcus chose mint chocolate chip, Stephanie’s choice. Marcus finally demonstrated why he was picked to be on Halloween Baking Championship, as his rat and pizza slice decor looked great. His flavors were good, but the cake was a little dry, and the judges were disappointed that he did not include the rat decor on the actual cupcakes, only on the side.

Jill’s meringue was judged to be too soft, but her flavors were good, and the judges loved the varied textures. Although she did decorate her cupcakes, the decorations did not at all indicate they were inspired by a fortune teller, so both bakers dropped the ball on decorating.

In the end, Marcus was sent to the 13th floor, and Jill will be returning for the next challenge, which will be a maze.

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How do you like the current season of Halloween Baking Championship so far? Give us your input in the comments section.