Eight of America's top bakers gather to put their baking brilliance to the test. Host and editor of Bon Appetit magazine, Adam Rapoport, announces that in the first Skills Challenge, the bakers must create flawless mini upside-down cakes. Then, in the Master Challenge, the bakers are tasked with making a double barrel or three-tiered wedding cake for 50 people using lemon as the featured flavor. After deliberation with the judges, Food Network Star winner Jason Smith and The Kitchen's Marcela Valladolid, one baker is eliminated.
Seven bakers remain, and for the Skills Challenge they are charged with making two different flavors of macarons. Then, in the Master Challenge, the bakers must make their own highly-creative take on the dessert classic, baked Alaska, using torched meringue, cake and ice cream, with strawberry as the featured flavor. One baker is sent packing by host Adam Rapoport and judges Jason Smith and Marcela Valladolid.
The six remaining bakers must make perfect mini fruit tarts using pate sucree, or sweet pastry, in the Skills Challenge. Then, for the Master Challenge, the bakers are given their hardest task yet: their original version of a St Honore Cake, which must contain elements of puff pastry, pate au choux, and creme chiboust, as well as feature the required flavor of coffee. One baker is sent home by host Adam Rapoport and judges Jason Smith and Marcela Valladolid.
Five bakers are left, and for the Skills Challenge, they tackle the deceptively simple creme brulee. For the Master Challenge, the task is to bake up their take on the complex and beautiful opera cake, a six-layer masterpiece said to evoke the tiers of the Paris Opera House, which must feature the flavor of hazelnut. One baker is given his or her marching orders by judges Jason Smith and Marcela Valladolid and host Adam Rapoport.
The four remaining bakers vie for the finale as they make mini mirror glaze cakes -- perfectly mirrored on the outside with layered mousse on the inside -- in the Skills Challenge. In the Master Challenge, the bakers must bake, plate and present a two-course dessert tasting menu feature chilies and fennel. Host Adam Rapoport and judges Jason Smith and Marcela Valladolid decide which bakers have what it takes to move on to the finale.
The pressure is on as the final three bakers take on the most revered and beloved of all baking ingredients: chocolate. In the Skills Challenge, the bakers must make a perfect version of the ever-temperamental chocolate souffle. For the final Master Challenge, the bakers must create the ultimate chocolate cake -- a truly spectacular, elaborately-decorated cake, using some type of liquor as the required featured flavor. In the end, host Adam Rapoport and judges Jason Smith and Marcela Valladolid will declare one baker the Best Baker in America and award them a $25,000 prize!