Holiday Baking Championship season 10 finale: The winner is announced

Candid of Jesse Palmer with art backdrop, as seen on Holiday Baking Championship, Season 6. photo provided by Food Network
Candid of Jesse Palmer with art backdrop, as seen on Holiday Baking Championship, Season 6. photo provided by Food Network /

The Holiday Baking Championship season 10 finale has aired, and the winner has been announced. The remaining bakers went through three challenges (or at least some of them did), and they were certainly put to the test. The show did not make it easy on them.

For the Preheat challenge, the bakers had to make macaron holiday wreaths. No one had too many issues, but Justine clearly had not made macarons in a long time, and it showed in her final product. The judges didn’t think they were macrons at all.

Other than that, the judges really liked Thao’s mint macaron wreath. They also liked Sharrod’s but his shape was much different than the others.

And the winner was…Thao! But where normally we would go to the Elimination challenge, that wasn’t the case here. The bottom two bakers had to compete in a face-off challenge to determine who would bake in the finale. That turned out to be Justine and Sharrod. But what did they have to make?

Holiday Baking Championship announces season 10 winner

For this bake-off, they had to make stocking eclairs and use two of the judges’ favorite holiday flavors. They had to choose from sweet potato, cranberry, and bourbon, and both bakers chose sweet potato and bourbon. Sharrod made red craquelin eclairs, while Justine made more traditional-looking eclairs with milk chocolate and whipped cream. Sharrod’s eclairs were denser than Justine’s and that meant Justine took the spot to the finale.

For the final challenge of the season, the remaining four bakers had to make a holiday village train stop cake that a train would actually run through. And since Thao won the first challenge, she got to pick the theme of each cake. She took the penguin party for herself and gave Santa elf village to Justine, teddy bears to Ashley, and gnomes to Kevin.

These cakes were extraordinary, and the flavors differed quite a bit. Kevin made a chocolate cake, Ashley made a lemon meringue pie cake, Thao made a spiced caramel apple cake, and Justine made an orange brandy and fig cake.

And the judges were possibly the most picky they’ve ever been. They had issues with how much decoration was on the cake and how cohesive the design was. Cakes they would have raved over just last week were kicked out of contention pretty quickly.

So who won Holiday Baking Championship? It was Ashley with her teddy bear chalet cake! Considering Thao and Justine were my top two for this challenge, this decision shocked me. I knew Kevin wasn’t going to win because of his decoration (despite making the best-tasting cake), but perhaps because of how she performed in the past few weeks, Ashley was not a contender for me. And yet, she won the whole thing. She won $25,000 and a spread in Food Network Magazine.

The Big Bake: Holiday season 4 episode 6 recap. dark. Next