Highlights from Halloween Baking Championship

Relive top moments from this spooktacular series, and see which bakers were banished and who earned top marks.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Episode 1: Sweets, Treats and Fiendish Baking Feats

"Only one of you will rise to be the ultimate Halloween Baking Champion and claim a sweet reward of 25,000 bones," host Richard Blais tells the seven bakers who've entered the competition. Four weeks of challenges will whittle down the pack, but first there's the Pre-Heat challenge. Each baker must draw a Halloween candy out of a witch's cauldron to determine what kind of cupcake he or she will make.

Too Speedy and Creepy for His Own Good

"I pride myself on being the speediest chef in the kitchen," says Jason, getting his Halloween candy-inspired cupcakes into the oven before anyone else. Unfortunately he underbakes them and has to start over. Luckily his second batch really impresses the judges. "Imagine, like, spider eggs popping in your mouth," he says, describing his spider-and-her-babies cupcake, which wins him the challenge.

Spider and Her Babies Cupcakes

Made up of decadent dark chocolate cake with a vanilla Italian meringue frosting, Jason's cupcake is the perfect embodiment of the ghoulish spirit of Halloween. It also contains a secret layer of green slime and baby spider eggs made up of chocolate ganache and chopped-up chocolate cookie bar pieces.

Done In by a Bewitched Kettle

"If I can't fix this, I don't know what's going to happen," says Jennifer, who while working on her fondant witch for the Main Heat challenge, doesn't realize her cream has boiled over on the stove. As she's whisking the cream and the chocolate together for her ganache, it starts breaking. "The ganache is broken," judge Sherry Yard points out, and Ron Ben-Israel thinks it overwhelms the other flavors.

Watch the Highlight: Halloween Baking Championship Exclusives

Moseying Toward a Win

"You did a brilliant job of matching the card with your design," Sherry tells self-taught baker Audrey, who got the cowboy tarot card once Jason took away her pirate card as part of his advantage. Judge Carla Hall called Audrey's cheesecake "homey" but a "real success." Jason and Audrey make the top two, but Audrey is named the winner. Unfortunately Jennifer and Erin end up in the bottom, and Jennifer is sent home.

Rustic Blueberry Cheesecake

"Rustic" isn't a word typically associated with Halloween, yet that's exactly what Audrey achieved with her cheesecake. She received praise from the judges for her "crispy, buttery and flaky crust" and for the "light airiness" of her cheesecake. And the leathery chaps on her fondant cowboy were so "exquisitely" done that Carla thought they could rival actual leather!

Get the Recipe: Rustic Blueberry Cheesecake

Episode 2: It's a Monster Mash

"I'm making a biscuit-based cinnamon roll and I'm going to use that sugar cookie dough and make a monster face on top," Erin says of the Pre-Heat challenge at hand, which has the bakers mashing up two store-bought items. "I'm over the moon," Sherry says after tasting the treat. And Carla commends Erin for breaking out of last week's bottom two. Erin wins the round and earns an advantage in the Main Heat.

Spooky Biscuit Cinnamon Rolls with Monster Cookie Face

Erin whipped together a biscuit-based cinnamon roll with a sugar cookie monster face on top of it, blowing the judges away with the "devilish exterior and tasty interior" of her creation. Erin's inspiration for her creation? Her kids. "I thought if I could send them off to school with a nice scary Halloween treat ... they'd have a spooky day," she said.

Temptations Plucked from a Tree

"This challenge is right in my wheelhouse, says Scott of the Main Heat. The bakers must choose apples from a tree: Red ones specify the flavor and green ones specify the theme that must be incorporated into their baked goods. "This has got to be the comeback of all comebacks," says Ashlee, hoping her blood orange tart will surpass her poor performance earlier. Luckily she's able to overcome her dough troubles.

Peanut Butter Problems

"There's no way that I can lose this challenge," says Erin, who's earned 10 minutes of time with Sherry as her advantage. But after the show's judge makes her a peanut butter mousse in a few minutes, Erin feels she's all set. After tasting the tart, Ron lists its many faults. "The whipped cream is breaking. The mousse is not holding shape," he says. Erin worries: "I had the advantage. How could it go wrong?"

Watch the Highlight: Halloween Baking Championship Exclusives

Shocking in All the Right Ways

"This looks icky, sticky, disgusting," says Sherry, absolutely praising Jason's pots de creme, which perfectly fit his theme: shocking. And Carla compliments him for "pushing the envelope of flavor" with his use of spices. Jason wins the Main Heat with Ashlee in second place for what Ron called "great crust." Rudy and Erin end up in the bottom two, and Erin is eliminated.

Spicy Chocolate Pots de Creme with Bloody Butterscotch

Using the words "shocking" and "butterscotch" as his inspiration, Jason won the judges over by adding cayenne powder to his chocolate mixture. As if that wasn't tasty enough, he decorated the plates with a bloody — and tasty — butterscotch-sauce handprint, giving the judges a grisly yet deliciously appreciated spook!

Get the Recipe: Spicy Chocolate Pots de Creme with Bloody Butterscotch

Episode 3: Not Exactly 2 of the Same Kind

"I just did doughnuts and that didn't go so well," worries Ashlee when she finds out they need to make creepy doughnuts for the Pre Heat. Deciding on an apple-filled yeast doughnut, Ashlee knows she's taking a risk, because there's no time for proper rising. "I'm so grossed out, but in a good way," says Carla of Ashlee's bloody design, but then Carla compares the texture to a bagel.

Pretty in Pink, Alarmingly Flavorful

"It's humiliating," says Rudy, not having won any challenge yet, but he's determined to change that. The son of a butcher, Rudy decides on a slaughterhouse concept for his doughnut, incorporating bacon and decorating the doughnut with pink piggy parts. But according to Ron, they look cartoonish; after tasting one, Ron changes his tune. Rudy wins the advantage in the Main Heat.

Buttermilk Breakfast Slaughterhouse Doughnut

"What's more creepy than a stop at the slaughterhouse?" Rudy thought of his slasher-inspired breakfast treat. Taking the sponginess of buttermilk cake and covering it with fondant pig tails, snouts and ears, and a raspberry "blood" and cookie spread topping, Rudy rose to the occasion, impressing the judges with his cutesy-meets-dark idea.

A Tough Lesson in Ice-Cream Making

"It will go right into my ice cream," says Audrey of the raisins she received as part of Rudy's advantage in the graveyard-and-pumpkin-themed Main Heat. But after adding her pumpkin, pecan and now raisin ice cream to the machine, things go very wrong. "I didn't know you had to put in your mix-ins after," she says, having never made ice cream before. Even though she strains out the solids, her ice cream comes out overchurned.

Rising to the Challenge, Twice Over

"I think your desserts have turned a corner," Sherry tells Rudy about his Mexican bread pudding and churro mummies. "For a baking challenge I expect more baking," Ron tells Audrey, who presented a fried cheesecake and ice cream. In the end Rudy wins the challenge, two in a row. In the bottom, Ashlee, Audrey and Jason face elimination, and the judges choose to send Audrey home.

Mexican Pumpkin Bread Pudding

Using his grandmother's Mexican Bread Pudding recipe as the basis of his dish, Rudy wowed the judges yet again. Full of white cheddar cheese, nutmeg, raisins and cinnamon, the dish left the judges enamored with its perfect blend of saltiness and sweetness. A fondant-faced, white chocolate-drizzled, baked mummy churro topped it all off, adding a little something extra to an already inspired treat.

Get the Recipe: Mexican Pumpkin Bread Pudding Graves with Baked Churro Mummies

Episode 4: Cutting Down the Competition

"At the end of this challenge, one of you will be eliminated," Richard reveals to the final four bakers, who must create a baked good inspired by a haunted-house character. "I have nothing on the plate," Ashlee worries, with just five minutes left to assemble her crepe cake, and she doesn't have enough time to make it truly look like a mummy. "It doesn't look like I want it to look," she says.

Jason's Message for His Competitors

"Did your fellow bakers get to see the tombstone?" Ron asks Jason of his skeleton tart, pointing out the sinister message. Last week Jason's tarts had a sandy crust, but this week he redeemed himself with a perfectly flaky crust, with a chocolate filling that Sherry called "silken." Winning the challenge, Jason doesn't receive an advantage, but he heads into the Main Heat with bragging rights.

A Zombie Without Substance vs. an Unraveling Mummy

"I'm delighted that you broke the mold," Ron tells Scott of his zombie pastry with Bavarian cream molded brain, but Sherry feels there needs to be a filling for the pate a choux. "Everything is great except the baking," Ron then adds. After the Pre Heat, Richard reveals that both Ashlee and Scott are in the bottom. "It didn't say mummy to the judges," Richard tells Ashlee before announcing Scott is safe. "To be so close ... and then have to leave is devastating," Ashlee says.

A Dire Futuristic Vision/False Alarm

Duff Goldman surprises the three remaining bakers by appearing dressed as a werewolf, and reveals their final challenge: to create "a delicious and visually dynamic haunted-house cake." Both Jason and Scott decide to create more traditional designs, but Rudy ups the ante with "a post-apocalyptic haunted apartment building." But while baking his cinnamon cake, he realizes he's set the temperature wrong. Luckily, it doesn't affect the outcome.

The Halloween Baking Champion

"It's a very exciting centerpiece," Ron tells Rudy. "I'm tasting so many wonderful elements," Sherry says, but finds there's too much cake. "Scott played it safe and secure in his cake execution," Ron tells his fellow judges. "Your chocolate layers are clunky," Sherry tells Jason of his haunted-house cake, but Ron praises the design. Richard announces that Rudy has won the $25,000. "Everything I have learned throughout this competition has totally reinvigorated my passion for baking," Rudy says.

More Halloween Baking Championship

Hear from the host and judges, go behind the scenes of the competition and get in the Halloween spirit by visiting the show's headquarters.

Halloween Baking Championship