Highlights from Halloween Baking Championship, Season 2

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

Photo By: Emile Wamsteker ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Emile Wamsteker ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Emile Wamsteker ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Emile Wamsteker ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Emile Wamsteker ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Emile Wamsteker ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Emile Wamsteker ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Tyler Golden ©Tyler Golden

Photo By: Tyler Golden ©Tyler Golden

Photo By: Tyler Golden ©Tyler Golden

Photo By: Tyler Golden ©Tyler Golden

Photo By: Tyler Golden ©Tyler Golden

Photo By: Tyler Golden ©Tyler Golden

Photo By: Tyler Golden ©Tyler Golden

Photo By: Tyler Golden ©Tyler Golden

Photo By: Tyler Golden ©Tyler Golden

Photo By: Tyler Golden ©Tyler Golden

Photo By: Tyler Golden ©Tyler Golden

Photo By: Tyler Golden ©Tyler Golden

Photo By: Tyler Golden ©Tyler Golden

Photo By: Emile Wamsteker ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Emile Wamsteker ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Emile Wamsteker ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Emile Wamsteker ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Emile Wamsteker ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Emile Wamsteker ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Emile Wamsteker ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Emile Wamsteker ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Emile Wamsteker ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Emile Wamsteker ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Emile Wamsteker ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Emile Wamsteker ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Emile Wamsteker ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Emile Wamsteker ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Emile Wamsteker ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Emile Wamsteker ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Emile Wamsteker ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Emile Wamsteker ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Episode 5: Sugar Cookie Malfunctions

"If the royal icing doesn't set up, it will drip on the tree," Michelle says, deciding to decorate her cookies for the Halloween cookie tree Pre Heat with modeling chocolate, whereas Tamara and Veronica are sticking with royal icing. But Veronica runs out of icing and waters down what she has left to stretch it. Michelle runs into issues when she leaves her modeling chocolate in the blast chiller too long, and ends up using the microwave to soften it before rolling it out.

Redemption Goal Not Completely Met

"I want to redeem myself," Veronica tells Jeff of her decision to remake her sugar cookie skulls from last week to prove to the judges she can make a cookie that's worth an advantage. "I think Michelle jinxed me," says Veronica after her cookies dripped all over her tree base. Carla makes note of the drips, but after tasting the cookies, the judges find that they are vastly different than they were last time but the orange blossom flavor is not present. "It disappeared," says Damiano.

A Tear-Jerking Tribute

"I find this one cutter that's perfect for Damiano," says Tamara, making the judge a Frankenstein lemon sugar cookie. Carla thinks it could have baked longer, but Sandra disagrees. "Your decorated cookie was as beautiful as it tastes," says Sandra. Damiano is brought to tears when the cookies remind him of ones he used to eat as a kid on Epiphany in Italy. Although the decision wasn't unanimous, Tamara wins the challenge. "I'm the only home baker left," she says, in need of any advantage she can get.

Every Woman for Herself

The final Main Heat will determine the winner of $25,000. Required to make a ginger dead house, Tamara chooses the gothic mansion theme for herself because it's the easiest. She gives Veronica the cabin in the woods, and Michelle the asylum. "I'm just not feeling the asylum," says Michelle, but soon an octagonal design idea comes to her mind and she's off designing. "I'm not cheering you on today," Veronica says after Michelle gloats that she's the first baker with gingerbread in the oven.

Relying on Differing Strengths

"My gingerbread is all about the spice," says Tamara, who's focusing on flavor. Meanwhile, Veronica's concentrating on structure, rolling hers out thin and overbaking it for strength. "Hey, Tamara is your structure up yet?" Michelle goads her rival. But Tamara runs into some issues stacking up the walls of her house on her rice-cereal-treat base, so she makes a stronger royal icing to use as her glue. Next thing the bakers know, Jeff reveals their twist: to create a complementary treat.

Taste Is Where It's At

"I personally don't like gingerbread," Damiano tells Tamara, a sentiment he shares with all the contestants. But the other judges think Tamara's has exceptional flavor. They find Veronica's house lacking in design. "It doesn't feel haunted to me," says Damiano, who does appreciate her delicate cookie. "It's not as bad as I expected," he says, which has everyone laughing. Her twist treat gets glowing comments, the judges agreeing it's the best she's done all season. "Does that mean it's worth $25,000?" Veronica wonders.

Insanely Creative Design

"I think I'm, like, the crazy one," says Michelle, ultimately glad she got the asylum theme. "There's so much to look at," says Carla, who praises the baker's many uses of techniques. "I just wanted a lot more flavor out of the cookie," says Sandra, but Damiano actually likes the toned-down taste. But regarding her treat, the judges find the ginger flavor is missing. After much deliberation, the judges come to a decision, and Michelle is named the winner.

Episode 4: The Pressure Is on the Final Four

"After winning two challenges, it's a lot of pressure to succeed," says Tamara in the Pre Heat, which has the bakers making monster tombs. She's burying her monster of "things never tried" in a mausoleum built out of blondies. "You just almost made me cry," says Sandra after hearing Tamara's description. But upon tasting Tamara's creation, Sandra holds back her critique: "I want so much for you in this competition. This is not going to get you there."

A Mistake Only a Rookie Would Make

"I'm going to go back to my D&D days," says John, who's baking up a pan of brownies with some bone-shaped dough baked into it. After it's baked, he worries it doesn't look right and realizes he forgot to add the sugar. "You won my heart with that really creepy grave," says Sandra. But after the judges taste the dessert, it s evident something went wrong; John apologizes for his mistake.

Trying to Bury Her Competition

"I better make a coffin for my future contestant who's going home today," Michelle tells Jeff. But while talking to him, she burns her caramel. Things go wrong again for her when she tries to glue her shortbread coffin together — it's still too hot. "I'd like to make note that I clearly will not fit in that coffin," jokes John after Michelle presents her concept. Unfortunately Michelle's mousse didn't set up properly, which the judges point out.

A Deadly Reminder

Veronica has a similar theme to Michelle's and decorates a s'mores tart with the names of her competitors. "This is not sable," Damiano tells her about the crust, which Sandra says is "like raw dough." The judges take a moment to remind all the bakers the stakes. "We've grown very fond of all of you," says Sandra, "but every single detail at this point counts." For this challenge, no one brought their A game, but Michelle ends up winning her third Pre Heat with her chocolate-tobacco mousse coffin.

Homage in Dessert Form

"This is my holiday. I have to win this," says Veronica of the Day of the Dead Main Heat. She's inspired to bake a skull sugar cookie in memory of one of her mentors. Similarly Michelle makes a salted caramel chocolate tart to honor her mentor, Claudia Fleming, using ingredients from her advantage basket. Sandra calls Michelle's dessert "dead-on" in flavor, and Damiano tells her it's the best she's made. Veronica's cookie is praised for its flavor, but the texture is not up to par. Michelle wins the challenge.

A Repeat Offense and an Honest Mistake

Not knowing what a habanero is, Tamara decides to leave the twist ingredient out of the plan for her lemon sponge cake. Trying to perfect her meringue technique, she makes a Swiss meringue buttercream and uses the chile slices to decorate her skull. "I'm most proud of this," she tells the judges of her frosting, but when she realizes the chile flavor needed to be in the cake, she's nervous. "It just tastes like plain butter," Damiano says, finding error with Tamara's meringue again.

Missteps on Design and Flavor

John, unsure of how he'll decorate his dessert, goes on a search in the pantry and finds some Day of the Dead molds. He tops his polenta cake with a fondant skull painted with colorful luster dust. "It's like the easy way out," Damiano tells him of his decorative choice. "I don't dislike it," Sandra says of the cake, but neither she nor Carla can taste the cinnamon, orange, habanero or tequila he specified. John is eliminated.

Episode 3: One Down, Four to Go

Unfortunately Jeff has some bad news: Amy has decided to leave the competition, due to the extra stress it is putting on her pregnancy. "It's kind of taken a toll on me," she explains. Tamara, John, Michelle and Veronica remain. In this Pre Heat, the bakers must bake six clown cake pops. "I'm so excited about the challenge," says Veronica, who feels this is going to be the day she achieves her first win.

Comments No Baker Wants to Hear

John, who has never made, eaten or seen a cake pop before is not keen on the challenge. "Watching this competition from my sofa back home was way easier," he says. John's inexperience shows. "Is it a chicken?" Damiano asks. The judges find his pops mushy, to the point of being wet "like a cookie dough," says Sandra. The judges feel similarly about Veronica's cake pops, which Sandra likens to a boxed mix.

Crazy Clowns, Even Zanier Bakers

Michelle plans to make creme fraiche cake pops decorated with pink Mohawks and licorice tongues. Once they're cool, she fills each with blood orange buttercream, but she rushes when it comes to decorating them, and she's not the only baker to do so. "All I can says is I hope they taste better than they look," says Michelle. Damiano likes her "crazy clown," and Sandra likes the surprise creamy filling in the center. Michelle wins the Pre Heat.

Deep-Sea Disaster

Picking sword-swallowing mermaid as his theme for the freak-show cake Main Heat, John relies on his sponge cake crutch so he can concentrate on his decorating, he explains. However, time gets the better of him, and he uses a braided challah for her bust and skimps on her face. Carla points out the meramid's breasts don't match her face, and Sandra calls them "lopsided." Although his cake tastes good, the judges don't appreciate that John has made a genoise four times now.

Reptilian Excellence

"There's no room for peanuts in this [cake]," says Tamara of the twist ingredient, so she makes "turtle food" cereal treats for her two-headed turtle cake. Carla appreciates the two-in-one dessert. Damiano calls the black and green marble cake with chocolate sandwich cookie filling the best he's tasted. Sandra feels the same way about Michelle's fire-breathing snake cake. The two bakers make the top two, but Tamara wins the challenge. "You shine as bright as any professional baker," Sandra tells her.

Twisted Ending

"It looks like a dog bringing a toy," Carla says of Veronica's werewolf-strongman-themed cake. And each judge points out the broken texture of the buttercream, which resulted from Veronica's cake being too hot when she frosted it. Veronica ends up in the bottom two along with John. "She had to make a werewolf, and she made a dog. He had to make a mermaid, and he made an ugly mermaid," Damiano points out. But in the spirit of Halloween, Jeff surprises the bakers and reveals that no one is going home this week.

Episode 2: Taking Another Stab at Meringue

"I want the judges to see that I can do better than I did last week," says Tamara, who's hoping her second attempt at making a French meringue, which will top her pear and cardamom tarts, will turn out successfully. "I think it's really adorable," says Sandra. "And then there is the meringue," says Damiano. "It's the same as last time," he adds. "You don't have to make another one," Carla tells her.

No Italian Mummies

"I realize I wasted a whole bunch of time making perfect mummy bandages," says Amy as she tops her ramekins of berry compote with broken pie crust pieces in the mummy-inspired Pre Heat. "It doesn't speak too much 'mummy,'" says Damiano, who Jeff points out may never have eaten store-bought pie crust where he's from in Italy. "This is my favorite challenge," says Sandra. "Welcome to America."

Uncanny Campfire Creations

"Not only does it look like a mummy, you had a vision," Carla says of John's campfire apple and fig jam tarts, baked in individual cast-iron pans. To re-create the feel of a toasted marshmallow, he tops each with Swiss meringue, which he brulees. "It says Halloween," adds Sandra, who doesn't agree with Damiano's critique of it being too sweet. John wins the Pre Heat and an advantage in the next round.

Unfateful Fall from Grace

"I believe in fate," says John, who draws the eyeball theme for the Main Heat stuffed-cake challenge. So instead of trading it as part of his advantage, he switches Amy's and Michelle's themes. But after Jeff springs the lime curd twist on the bakers, John's not so sure it will work in his cocoa-almond genoise. "Not my best cake, but maybe I'm going to slide on through this one," John admits. But after some critical judges' comments, he ends up in the bottom two.

Cauldron of Curd

"I figure that everyone else is going to go chocolate," says Amy, making a cake with various citrus curds. Luckily the twist of using lime curd works to her advantage. She's made a cauldron cake before, so that's another plus. Although the judges love her use of the lime curd oozing from the cauldron, Damiano points out that it separated a little. But it's good enough to put Amy in the top two.

Cake Filling Flub

After pouring the cake batter into her Bundt pans, Veronica realizes she's forgotten to add the salt. "It's not going to rise the way it should," she explains, taking the pans back out of the oven and sprinkling salt over the batter, hoping that will work. She creates channels to fill with candies, but the judges wonder why she didn't just use the hole that's already there. "I missed that one," Veronica admits.

Rising from the Depths

"I'm going to attempt to make a Swiss meringue," says Tamara, hoping she can prove Damiano wrong for the third time. But her mixture curdles in the mixer, so she scraps it. She ends up serving a chocolate cake frosted with buttercream and topped with a skull made from rice cereal treats and fondant. "I am so impressed," says Sandra. Damiano calls the flavors "harmonic," except for the lime curd. Tamara shoots to the top of the leaderboard and is named the winner.

When Flavor Falls Flat

With the crystal ball theme, Damien creates a chiffon cake topped with a crystal ball made out of pulled sugar. But he's concerned about pairing chocolate with lime curd. "I'd never do that with any kind of cake," he says of the twist. The judges feel the pairing works, but Carla thinks the flavor "comes across as pretty flat." And Sandra feels Damien could have done more. Between Damien and John, Damien is sent home.

Episode 1: A Hauntingly Inaccurate Cream Puff

"Lo and behold, I added too much," John says of the eggs he's beating into his dough for a pate a choux poltergeist in the Pre Heat, which requires the bakers to make one dozen monster treats. His mixture ends up too thin, but there's no time to start over. The judges point out the pastry's shortcomings. "If it was a filled doughnut," says Carla, "like, child, you nailed it." But it isn't.

Learning to Get It Right the First Time

At first Tamara doesn't find the right oil for her red velvet snake monster cupcakes, so she settles for olive oil. But when it's all mixed she realizes it was a mistake "My red velvet cupcakes taste like a dinner biscuit," she says. She starts over for a second time with vegetable oil. Although her cupcakes are praised by the judges, Damiano points out "it doesn't look like a snake."

Digging a Grave for Himself

Pulling his Frankenbrownies out of the oven, Brad realizes the center isn't done, but with no time to fix it, he figures he'll get away with plating just the edges. He cuts even more corners when decorating them. "This looks a little bit like a hot Halloween mess," says Sandra, but luckily his flavors save him. "I kind of still wanted to go and crawl into a hole," says Brad, embarrassed.

Rewarding Creepy Characteristics

Michelle presents her one-eyed monsters, made from a citrus almond financier with chocolate ganache and blood orange center. "It shows lots of technique," Damiano tells her. "You did do a little bit more than many others," he adds. "It had a character," says Sandra, pointing out that the treats came alive. Michelle earns the win and the advantage in the Main Heat.

Going to the Eerie Extremes

"I want it to feel like a zombie ripped someone's face off," says Brad of the look for his chocolate chai spice tart with raspberries for the zombie-inspired Main Heat. He creates his own spice mix since he can't find a ready-made blend, but that might be the problem. "It doesn't really work," says Carla of his chai and chocolate combination.

Overwrought by Sugar Work

"I hate you," says Tamara after Jeff reveals the twist of sugar work. "I have only done sugar work once, and that was at least five years ago," she explains. "I'm going to fake it," she says, hoping to create some broken glass-looking sugar work. "I think it's pretty," says Carla of Tamara's raspberry tart, but it's too pretty. "I think you should have used a different meringue," Damiano tells Tamara, as hers is too loose.

Watch the Highlight: Halloween Baking Championship Exclusives

Making His Macabre Mark

Since his last creation wasn't well-received by the judges, Damien decides on a "zombie brunch" for something different from the others. He ends up borrowing some of Michelle's molds, which were part of her advantage, to create organ shapes to decorate his chocolate-espresso mousse cake. "From the first challenge to now, the change is gigantic," says Damiano, and Damien makes the top two.

What Happens to Bad Hired Hands

"No zombie hand is complete without maggots," says Amy, who created a rice cereal and fondant replica with gaping wounds to top her mocha raspberry cheesecake. "I was inspired by a particular hand that tried to double-dip in my icing bowl," says Amy, hinting at Jeff. "It makes my flesh crawl," says Carla. Although the filling tastes good, Sandra finds it too loose. Amy wins the Main Heat over Damien.

The Road Ends Here

"The dessert looked absolutely beautiful, but it fell flat when it came to flavor," says Sandra of Brad's tart. "[It] looked like it would be at a baby shower," says Carla about Tamara's meringue brain-topped tart. "Zombies are supposed to be scary," Sandra adds. Both Brad and Tamara place in the bottom. The judges decide Brad's journey must come to an early end.

More Halloween Baking Championship

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

Halloween Baking Championship