Top Moments of Kids Baking Championship, Season 3

Relive all the highs and lows of this kids' competition, including the young bakers' wins and losses.
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Episode 8: Pet Projects

"What is this?" Aidan asks, perplexed by seeing five animals in the kitchen. "One of these critters is going to inspire what you bake today," Valerie tells the kids. Duff explains that they can bake treats that look like an animal or something it would eat, adding "as long as you can tell us the connection." But some of the kids have unlikely stories. "I saw a rabbit eating pineapple," Kaniyah says to Valerie, explaining why she's baking a pineapple upside-down cake.

Tall Stories and Pie Promises

"I want to show Duff and Valerie that I'm one of the best pie makers," says Justice, but he doesn't yet know how he'll connect his animal, a guinea pig, to his dessert. "I think I'm really good at making up stories," he claims. After hearing Justice's off-the-wall story involving guinea pigs in peach trees, Duff can't help but crack up. Luckily his pie lives up to its promise. "This is ridiculous," says Valerie.

Crispy Piglet Pleasures

"I have to use bacon because, obviously, it's a pig," Cole says of his animal. "Oh, come on," Audra yells over when she smells his frying bacon. He presents the judges with maple-bacon baked doughnuts that Valerie thinks are as dense as pound cake. But the bacon works. "This is, like, the third time you've made bacon, and I think this might be the first time you've done it right," Duff says.

Turtle Shell Troubles

"They're just falling apart," Aidan says, frustrated his chocolate molds for his turtle cakes didn't work. He realizes that blast-chilling them would have prevented the disaster, so he makes a second and much more successful batch. But with little time, he rushes to decorate the cakes. "I think your turtle got a little messy," Duff points out disappointedly and advises the young baker to step it up.

Best in Show

Although still skeptical that bunnies eat pineapple, Duff and Valerie are impressed by Kaniyah's trio of desserts — but Duff says she's made a big mistake. "You made a pineapple upside-down cake that's better than mine," he teases her. Valerie calls it the best she's ever had. Although Kaniyah's cookie and ice cream don't live up to the cake's success, she joins Justice in the top two. The judges give her the win.

Going Bananas on Flavor

For her chicken-inspired dessert, Audra makes a banana cake, adding a little too much artificial flavoring to her batter. "Something is not right," Audra says after seeing both Duff and Valerie contorting their faces. Duff admits to liking banana flavoring but finds Audra's use heavy-handed. He does, however, call it her best cake so far. Unfortunately, she and Aidan end up in the bottom two, and Audra is sent home.

Episode 7: Baking App Developers for the Day

"I love virtual baking," says Audra as Duff and Valerie reveal that the kids' next challenge will involve creating sugar cookies inspired by make-believe mobile apps. The kids rush to a giant smartphone to grab the apps they'd like, except for Justice, who stands back from the chaos. "I'm just going to get my apps without dying," he says, standing back as Kaniyah rips one away from Cole. "She's strong," says Cole.

Citrusy Twists and Turns

"I already have rosewater in there," Justice complains after Duff and Valerie announce the citrus twist, but now he has no choice but to comply. "I'll make an orange buttercream so that it will mask the rose flavor," he says. And it works, because the judges don't notice the rosewater. But that's not the case with Cole's cookie glaze, which features rosewater too. "I think you've got a little too much in here," says Duff.

Baking by the Beat of His Own Drum

"OK, I'm not doing orange," says Aidan upon hearing many of his fellow bakers are using it, so he grabs a lime. But his dough comes out really wet from his many additions of lime juice. "The flour is going to help it," he says, fixing the consistency. "They seem really blonde," says Valerie, looking at the cookies, but Aidan insists he likes them underbaked. "I can still taste the flour," says Duff, disappointedly.

Sweet-and-Salty Finish

The last to finish rolling out her cookies, Audra finds herself with barely enough time to decorate them, rushing up until the time call. And despite the fact that Audra nearly burned her cookies, the judges find them tasty. "You put salt in there?" Valerie asks Audra. "Depends, is it too salty?" Audra asks. "Oh, yeah, well, I did," she says once she knows Valerie is pleased. However, Duff and Valerie find the decorating very messy.

Can't Talk His Way Out of It

"It's kind of hard to decorate with glaze," says Jason, making an excuse for his barely recognizable app icons. What Jason calls a sandwich, Duff thinks looks like a meatball. "I'll go with the meatball," says Jason, joking. But when it comes to describing the concepts of the apps, Jason has nothing to share. "You've said all along that decorating is not your strong suit," says Duff. "I believe you," he adds.

Baking Time Cut Short

At elimination time, Duff and Valerie decide Justice and Cole have done the best work; they make the top two, with Justice taking top honors for the second week in a row. Aidan and Kaniyah are safe to move on to next week. But Jason and Audra land in the bottom. "Fourth time," says Jason under his breath, before Duff announces he's going home. "Go get that crepe truck," Valerie tells him. "Chocolate!" Jason shouts as he exits the kitchen.

Episode 6: Team Breakfast Cake-Off

"Waffles versus pancakes," says Valerie, announcing the kid bakers' next challenge. "Let's see whose side makes the best dessert." Each competitor draws from a bag to find out whether he or she will be baking pancake cakes or waffle cakes. But Duff reveals the big news: The winning team will be safe from elimination. And per Cole's suggestion, if Team Waffles wins, Duff will get a tattoo.

Putting the Pancake Puzzle Together

"Try using some oil — some spray," Jason tells Reese, seeing him struggling to keep his pancakes from sticking to the griddle and falling apart. But when it comes to assembling the cake, Reese has to use the scraps. "It looks like it's going to taste good," says Duff, with that being his only compliment. "You went over the edge," Valerie says to Reese of his overuse of nutmeg.

Going Above and Beyond

"I just need to get back into the competition," says Aidan, hoping to rise from the bottom, which is where he placed last week. But his first batch of cinnamon roll-inspired waffles is a disaster; fortunately for him, his second batch is just right. With the breakfast cereal twist, Aidan's able to use cinnamon crunch cereal in his favor, and he also makes an ice cream. "Dang," says Duff upon tasting Aidan's creation.

Ending with a Frosting Avalanche

While Audra's stacking her waffles, an entire side of her cake collapses. "There's no recovering from this avalanche," she says, trying to push it back together. "Where's the waffle?" Valerie asks. "Under the frosting," Audra answers hesitantly. Looking past the cake's appearance, Duff likes the crispy texture, and Valerie loves the flavor, but she says the frosting is too sweet.

Breakfast of Champions

Cole presents his chocolate waffles with chocolate-strawberry cream cheese buttercream, hazelnut spread, strawberries, toasted hazelnuts and bacon in between each layer. "Where's the kitchen sink?" Valerie asks jokingly after his laundry list of components. But she compliments his cake's professional look. "I'm loving the bacon in there," she adds, although Duff wishes it were crisper.

It's What's on the Inside That's Missing

"The joy that you had in making that is really evident," says Duff upon seeing Jason's cake. "Enjoy your 2,000 calories," jokes Jason as he serves them each a slice. "I'm not blown over by it," says Valerie, finding it too sweet. "I feel like your pancake cake has your spirit on the outside," Duff explains to Jason. "I just don't feel like you gave it your spirit on the inside," he adds, noting that it's dry.

Waffles Defeat Pancakes

Duff announces the waffle side has won the challenge, with Aidan as "the best waffle cake baker in all the land," says Duff. From the pancake team, Kaniyah moves on, but Jason and Reese land in the bottom; Reese is eliminated. "This is one of the best things that's happened in my whole entire life," he says. Cole reminds Duff he now has to get a waffle tattoo, which the host promised he would do if his team won.

Episode 5: Throwback in Baking History

"To become a champion, you guys really should know some baking history," Valerie tells the kids before showing them a video presentation on throwback desserts from the '70s. "How old are these people?" asks Reese, later calling the dishes the kids are shown "old people desserts." But the kids have no choice during this challenge but to create "on-trend eclairs," Duff explains.

Baking Up Perfection

"I'm hoping that I do not get that Black Forest cake," says Justice, having never eaten one. But, of course, that's the assignment he receives. He dives into the challenge, making what he says is an eclair dough "between runny and firm," which is his secret. Duff calls the baked product "perfect." Despite not tasting the apricot twist, the judges praise the chocolate-and-cherry-cream-filled eclairs.

Which Ingredient Doesn't Belong?

"I can do eclairs. They're easy," says Aidan of the challenge, excited about getting banana cream pie. But when he receives dates as his twist, all he can think of is hiding them with the addition of strawberries. "I'm not crazy about the strawberry," says Valerie, noting it muddles the banana cream pie flavors. "It's not the dates that threw you for the loop; I think it's the strawberries," Duff stresses.

High Expectations, Middling Results

"I want to win again, but I'm not really excited about this challenge," says Cole, admitting he doesn't like eclairs. "Cole just gave us the stink-eye," says Duff after a time call. Struggling with the dough, Cole has to make a second batch, which bakes up fine. The judges think the eclairs are too pale, though. "You did a really good job," Duff tells him of his coconut cream pie rendition. Still, Cole falls into the middle.

Nailing the Outside but Not the Inside

Duff and Valerie worry about Reese's time management, seeing the kid baker just getting his eclairs into the oven. But by waiting so long, Reese was able to put his raisin twist ingredient into the dough. "Like raising bread," Duff says, impressed. But the judges question Reese's use of chocolate for his pineapple upside-down cake rendition. And there's not enough filling — Valerie's eclair is empty.

Third Time's Not the Charm

Maya goes through three batches of dough for her eclair rendition of German chocolate cake, but it's still too runny. "I just have to go with it because I have no time," she says to herself. Seeing her struggling to fill the baked eclairs, Audra comes to help and they finish in time. "It's a little flat," says Valerie of the treat. Although she and Duff like the filling, it's too fudge-like.

Sticking to Her Gut

"I'm going to make the best cheesecake eclair ever," says Kaniyah, who doesn't want to end up in the bottom again. She decides to make her filling without sugar, finding the cherries she's using sweet enough. "That filling is perfect," Duff reveals after some initial skepticism. "Yay!" Kaniyah shouts. The judges feel her eclair totally captured the assignment.

Eclair Highs and Lows

Duff and Valerie feel both Justice and Kaniyah did the best with the challenge, and both kids make the top; Justice is awarded the win. Unfortunately, Maya, Reese and Aidan land in the bottom. "Today was just not his day," says Duff of Aidan and his fall from the top. "I'm kind of expecting it," says Maya, before Duff announces that she is leaving the competition. Her fellow bakers surround her in a big group hug.

Episode 4: Competition with Color

The kids are perplexed to find Duff and Valerie dressed like hippies. "We're looking for a tie-dye cake bursting with color, sort of like Duff's shirt," says Valerie, revealing the kid bakers' challenge, inspired by the age of bright colors and freedom. "I don't know what happened to all the hippies, but I'm pretty sure it just, like, got out of style," says Keili.

Coordinating Flavor with Color

"When they take a bite with each flavor, I think it's going to really pop," says Aidan, taking the challenge of making a colorful and flavorful cake to heart. He's paired each color with strawberry, orange, lemon and lime. "I really like that you can taste the different flavors in each color," says Duff. And Valerie says the cake is moist and "inventive."

Lesson in Time Management

"Are you worried about that?" Duff asks Reese about not having his cakes in the oven yet, to which Reese replies, "No." Duff's response? "I am." Reese soon realizes how much time he's lost, leaving him rushing to make ice cream and just four minutes to frost his cake, which he presents incomplete. "The cake is almost too dry," says Valerie after tasting it. Reese places in the bottom three.

Underbaking Tribulations

"What is happening with Kaniyah's cake?" asks Valerie, seeing the young baker having issues when leveling off the top of her cake. "I need to pull myself together," says Kaniyah, almost brought to tears when she discovers her cake is not completely baked. "It's not terrible at all," says Duff upon tasting the cake, although it's unevenly baked. Kaniyah ends up in the bottom three.

Delivering Too Much Punch

"I know the '60s were all about peace and love, but right now all I'm feeling is the pressure to get this cake done perfectly," says Audra, deciding to use orange extract to flavor her cake as well as the swirled ice cream for the twist. But after seeing the judges' faces, she realizes her heavy-handedness. "Extract is not juice," Duff emphasizes.

Trials in Texture

"I don't know why it's falling apart," Valerie says of Jason's cake. It turns out, Jason cooled the cakes in the blast chiller, which affected the texture. But what the judges find even worse in texture is his ice cream. "Their faces go kind of sour," says Jason, seeing the reactions. Duff points out Jason's starch-thickened raspberry swirl created an off-putting texture once frozen.

Underbaked by Ratio

"I have never added apples into my cake before," says Keili, who decides to grate an apple into her batter for extra flavor. "I'm not sure if that's going to affect the baking time," she says, but it does. Upon unmolding the cake, she sees the batter oozing everywhere. "I'm just going to call it a lava cake," she says. Duff points out there was way too much liquid because of the apple. Keili ends up going home.

Baking for the Competitive Edge

"Cole is my biggest competition," says Aidan, seeing his fellow baker covering his cake with fondant, which includes an airbrushed finish "to look like Duff's shirt," Cole says. After tasting Cole's cake, both Valerie and Duff find it super moist, and Duff says Cole's ice cream reminds him of his mom's. "Cole, you are formidable," says Duff. Although Aidan makes the top two, he's beaten by Cole for the win.

Episode 3: Diner Dessert Impostors

"What is going on here?" Keili asks when she sees Duff and Valerie sitting in front of plates of fish and chips. The kids soon realize they'll be baking dessert impostors. "It's not the Kids Baking Championship without dessert impostors," says Cole. But the excitement wanes for some. After Justice picks fried chicken he realizes the feat at hand. "I'll see what I can do," he says, falling back on baking a cake.

Hot Dog Condiment Q&A

"How do you eat your hot dog?" Duff asks Dylin about his assigned impostor. When Dylin answers ketchup and mustard, Duff says ketchup belongs on only fries. After a survey of the room, Duff is unanimously outnumbered by the support for ketchup. Dylin makes a vanilla cake "bun" with buttercream dyed pink, yellow, red and green to represent a hot dog topped with mustard, ketchup and relish.

Chocolate Overkill, Part 2

"That's going to go perfect with my burrito," Jason says, hearing the kids must make chips and salsa as their twist. To complete his dish, Jason's making refried beans. "How are you going to make that chocolate sauce look like refried beans?" Valerie asks. Jason adds more chocolate chips to make it chunky. But both judges worry he's repeating last week's mistake of using too much chocolate.

Expert in His Faux Field

Cole, who claims to be very adept at dessert impostors, starts on a chocolate cake to represent a meatloaf, but he runs into trouble. "The cake is oozing out of the side," he says upon checking the oven, but a foil cover comes in handy. "It's incredibly impressive-looking," Valerie says of his meatloaf with mashed potatoes and green beans.

Friends Helping at the Finish Line

"I'm not even going to be able to start my chips and salsa," says Audra after hearing the 40-minute warning. Making pastry "pasta" by hand for her impostor mac and cheese has taken up too much of her time. She whips up a lemon curd as quickly as possible to represent the cheese sauce before getting to the chips and salsa. With time counting down, Jason and Keili help Audra plate.

Getting Feisty While Awaiting Feedback

"You eat it, you swallow it and you like it," Kaniyah tells Duff, after impatiently waiting for him to finish chewing her grilled cheese impostor before giving his critique. Both he and Valerie can't help but burst out in laughter. "I'm wondering how many times you've heard that in your lifetime," says Valerie. Both judges agree it looks just like a grilled cheese and tastes great, too, but the chips and salsa? Not so much.

Redeeming Himself with Chocolate

"I really hope I didn't go overboard on chocolate again," says Jason, heading into judging and tasting. But Duff's not so sure, until he tastes Jason's salsa and loves it. "It even looks like a burrito," Valerie says excitedly. "I think you just redeemed yourself from last week," she adds. Aidan, Cole and Jason make the top three, but Jason wins the challenge. "Monster comeback," Duff says, congratulating him.

Cutting It Short on Creativity

"I think that you're a lot more creative than this," Duff tells Dylin, disappointed in seeing just cake and buttercream for his hot dog. Maya's roast beef sandwich gets similar reactions from Duff: He calls her out for using dyed coconut for both her salsa and lettuce. Audra also ends up in the bottom with her unsuccessful sugary and bitter mac and cheese. The judges decide to send home Dylin.

Episode 2: Erupting Cake Volcanoes, Back-Talking Kid Bakers

Duff and Valerie reveal the kids will each have to bake a volcano cake complete with realistic smoke. But after hearing the kids whine, Duff says, "No one said $25,000 was supposed to be easy." Audra's retort: "But it wasn't supposed to be this hard." The kids have two hours to create their cakes, but like Duff demonstrates, it's as easy as baking a Bundt cake. "How hard can all of that be?" Keili asks sarcastically.

Master of Sweet Manipulation

"I think it is really smart to know what everyone else is baking," says Aidan, surveying his competition. Keili, however, decides to cover her mixer — "to make sure that nobody sees what I'm doing," she says. Inspired by a volcano's tropical location, Aidan settles on a passion-fruit cake with banana buttercream. "I've never actually baked with passion fruit, but I bet this will turn out well," he says confidently.

Chocolate Overkill

Realizing his larger Bundt cake is underdone and falling apart, Jason decides just to use the smaller one for his volcano. But its size hides a big surprise. "That's intense chocolate flavor," Valerie says after tasting it, with Duff comparing it to a brownie. But Jason's boulders, which he made out of ganache, put the judges into hysterics. "A solid-chocolate boulder might be a little much," Duff says.

Jawbreaking Boulders

When Duff reveals the twist, to make four edible boulders, Reese grabs the ingredients for rice cereal treats. "I hope your recipe tastes good," says Dylin, who's copying the idea. Valerie points out the oversize scale of Reese's boulders. "I could change my mind if it tastes really good," she says, but the treats are rock-hard, as Reese forgot the butter. "We didn't mean an actual boulder," Duff jokes.

Too Pretty to Be Realistic

"I can make it in my sleep," says Cole of his chocolate cake recipe. He's even made a volcano cake before, and he is the first kid to have it baked and chilled. "I really want my cake to look like a volcano," he says, decorating it with different colors of white chocolate ganache. Duff thinks Cole's cake looks too pretty to be a volcano, but he can't argue Cole's skills. "You are an impressive baker," Duff tells him.

Self-Imploding Volcano

"My volcano has, like, imploded." says Charlotte, whose Bundt cake falls apart entirely. Her second is slightly better, but it starts collapsing. She fills in the "dent" with extra cake and decorates it quickly. Duff notes the volcano's short stature, but Charlotte explains that "it's a crumbling volcano." Duff sees right through her. "Now, did you work on that story after you made the volcano?" he asks.

A Lesson That Paid Off

"I didn't learn how to do that until I was probably about 25," Duff admits, impressed by Aidan's sugar work. Asked where he learned the technique, Aidan says he saw it on the show at home. "It tastes like it was soaked in passion fruit," Valerie says of the cake. And Duff agrees that all the components go well together. Aidan makes the top three, along with Cole and Kaniyah, and he wins the challenge.

Underbaked Out of the Competition

"Unfortunately one baker was swept away by today's challenge," Duff says after revealing that Jason, Charlotte and Dylin are in the bottom three. Jason's cake was too dense and chocolatey, and both Dylin's and Charlotte's cakes were underbaked; in the end Charlotte is sent home. "This is not going to stop me from baking," she says. "I want to inspire other kids to bake."

Episode 1: Old-Fashioned Fun at the Fair

"You are just in time for the carnival," says Duff, gearing up for "Duffball." Whoever throws the best will gain an advantage in the Big Bake. Jason makes the bull's-eye and chooses twist ingredients for his fellow bakers, taking cotton candy for himself. But it melts on top of his whipped cream, so he ends up using just the cotton candy as a topping. "But cupcakes are all about frosting," Valerie says, disappointedly.

Bacon for the Bossy Judge Only

"I've only cooked bacon once before," Aidan admits after deciding to make maple-bacon cupcakes. "If you have any extra, I'd like to eat some," says Audra. But Duff puts the kibosh on that, saying, "Bacon's got my name on it." But when it comes to tasting it, Duff points out that Aidan didn't render the bacon enough. "It tastes really good," Valerie says of her cupcake, but Duff steals her bacon garnish.

Misleading Color Mix-Up

"The purple's mixing in with the blue and it's making it dark," says Keili, realizing her cupcakes aren't going to look tie-dyed, as she planned, but she can't turn back now. Her move to personalize the cupcakes with the hosts' names, however, earns her brownie points: "Flattery will get you everywhere," both Duff and Valerie say. But the odd color makes Valerie think the cupcake is chocolate.

Grabbing Everything at the Carnival

"I had the best cupcakes, and you ruined it," Cole says after receiving cotton candy from Jason. The new ingredient doesn't mesh well with his root beer, marshmallow and deep-fried sandwich cookie cupcake, so he decides to use the cotton candy as just a decoration. Duff loves Cole's creatively thought-out carnival grab bag, but Duff wishes Cole would have utilized the cotton candy better.

A Storm in the Kitchen

Justice had big plans for his storm-themed cupcakes, with multicolored frosting, but he realizes decorating uncooled cupcakes was not a good idea. Not even the blast chiller could save them. "Maybe it got a little hot at the fair, and it was windy," Justice tells Duff and Valerie of his inspiration, partly an excuse for the weathered look of his cupcakes. Duff and Valerie find the cupcakes taste really good, despite the looks.

Frosting Mishaps

While beating her egg whites over a double boiler for a Swiss meringue buttercream, Brooke accidentally knocks over the bowl, spilling almost all of the mixture. "This isn't going to be enough for the frosting," she says, and without any time to remake it, she decides on a simple frosting. But Duff finds the cake underbaked and the frosting undermixed. "It's got a big bite of butter," says Valerie.

Some Cupcake with Your Frosting

"Wait a second," says Audra, realizing she forgot a cup of sugar in her frosting. She beats in another cupful for safety's sake. "That's a lot of frosting on a little short cupcake," says Duff, looking at the result. "Not real sure about the frosting," says Valerie before Audra admits to having used more than three cups of sugar to a half-pound of butter. But Duff does, at least, taste the caramel apple flavor.

Just a Minor Meltdown

"It's like soupy and separated and stuff," says Kaniyah, realizing that adding cola to her buttercream messed it up. "I don't know what to do," she says, after hearing there's just 20 minutes left. Valerie tells her to make the easiest frosting she can do. "You had a little meltdown," says Duff, "but you didn't let it faze you." Both he and Valerie love the cupcakes so much that Kaniyah wins the challenge.

The Least-Convincing Frosting

Duff and Valerie announce the least successful cupcakes are from Brooke, Jason and Charlotte. "Something was a little off," says Duff about each of their desserts. Jason had no frosting, Brooke's cupcakes were underbaked and had undermixed frosting, and Charlotte called her runny frosting "a glaze." Brooke is sent home. "This isn't the end of the road for me," says Brooke. "I'm only 9."

More Kids Baking Championship

Go behind the scenes of the competition, learn more about the kid bakers, get recipe ideas and more.

Kids Baking Championship

Host Duff Goldman watches contestant Justice Faustina preparing his Main Heat dish, Black Forest Éclair with Chocolate Cherry Whipped Cream and Apricot Ganache, as seen on Food Network's Kids Baking Championship, Season 3.