The Best of the Best: Winning Designs from Cake Wars: Champs

Thanks to these top designs, all of them judges' picks, returning victors experienced the sweet taste of success for a second time.

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Photo By: Emile Wamsteker ©2016, Food Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved

A Magical Presentation

"The sculptures are so charming, and I think they're so appropriate for the aesthetic that was the first Disney princess film," noted guest judge Brittney Lee, an animator for Disney, of baker Jeff's winning Snow White-focused cake. He brought the princess in various scenes and even represented sidekicks from the beloved story, including the seven dwarfs.

Exemplary Execution

Much like his cake design, Jeff's layered angel food cake with a ruby-red strawberry filling tucked inside earned rave reviews from the judges. Waylynn Lucas deemed it "a cake fit for any princess," while Richard Ruskell spoke of its successful components. "The whipped cream is sweetened just the right amount. I really like the strawberry reduction because it just intensifies that strawberry flavor," Richard said.

Get the Recipe: Strawberry Shortcake

Three Cheers for Pikachu

The name of the game this week was Pokémon, and indeed baker Melissa met that challenge with a towering creation that put the spotlight on Pikachu. "The height is pretty remarkable. That means you know how to put a structure together. This is what I would expect from a Cake Wars Champ," judge Richard Ruskell told Melissa of her win-worthy creation.

Flavor Accolades

"It's just a very sweet, delicate cake, and it looks beautiful," judge Waylynn said of Melissa's lemony cake with raspberry frosting. Judge Richard too was pleased with the finished product, as he noted, "Melissa, this is a very professional-looking cake."

Get the Recipe: Lemon Cake with Raspberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Building a Win

Baking, building and stacking were on the menu this week as the returning competitors tried their hands at a Lego-themed challenge. With the help of an outdoor-inspired display, featuring a park ranger at the center and plenty of natural details like trees and a lake, Kristina earned yet another win after she garnered praise from the judges. "It's hard for me to judge such a well-executed cake. It is beautiful to look at," judge Richard Ruskell told her, noting several of her technical successes.

Tastes Like Nostalgia

"S'mores are one of my favorite childhood treats, and your cake brought me right back to that flavor," judge Richard told Kristina of her graham cracker-inspired cake, which she layered with the requisite chocolate and a fluffy marshmallow cream. 

Get the Recipe: S'mores Cake

A Triple Threat

Coming into this contest, every baker competing on Cake Wars: Champs has known the thrill of victory once — but Jennifer had experienced it twice before this week. And now following her latest win with a Shrek-themed cake, she's a triple champion. "All of your detail work is absolutely spot-on here," judge Waylynn Lucas praised Jennifer on her depiction of Far, Far Away.

Better-Together Tastes

Judges Richard Ruskell and Waylynn agreed that there were some textural missteps in Jennifer's cake, but Waylynn noted the success of its flavors. "It's a smart, delicious combination," she said. "The blackberry, white chocolate and pistachio is spot-on." 

Get the Recipe: Buttery Pistachio Cake with Cream Cheese Buttercream and Blackberry Compote

Avenging the Monsters

Baker Nathalie earned yet another success, this time by bringing to life The Avengers in battle. She and the other bakers were tasked with producing "damage" in their cakes, as Jonathan noted, and indeed she delivered. "The way this cake breaks the fourth wall, with Fin Fang Foom breaking off a panel of a comic book, I think is so inventive," explained guest judge Stephen Wacker, a Marvel producer.

Flavor Forward

According to judge Richard Ruskell, Nathalie's cake, featuring a mash-up of chocolate, vanilla and toffee, boasted "a nice flavor combination." Judge Waylynn Lucas offered her praises too, noting both the taste and texture of the cake. "That chocolate cake is so moist and decadent, but it's lightened up with your vanilla buttercream," she told the baker.

Get the Recipe: Dark Chocolate Cake

A Seussian Celebration

No stranger to success in the Cake Wars kitchen, baker Kayla earned victory for the second time when her Dr. Seuss-inspired cake, featuring the Lorax, the Grinch and other beloved faces, earned top honors from the judges. "I love that it absolutely says 'Happy birthday,'" Waylynn Lucas told Kayla. "For the most part, you nailed the characters."

High Praise

"Your hat is perfect," noted Susan Brandt, who's the CEO of Dr. Seuss Enterprises. "It has life, it's the right stripes, it's the right rim. Well-done."

Get the Recipe: Red and Blue Velvet Cake

Want More Cake Wars?

Check out Food Network's Cake Wars headquarters for more insider coverage of the battles and behind-the-scenes antics with Jonathan Bennett and the judges.

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