Top Moments from Buddy Vs Duff

Relive the most decadent baking challenges and over-the-top cake creations from the competiton.

Save Collection

Photo By: Matt Harbicht/The Verbatim Agency

Photo By: Matt Harbicht/The Verbatim Agency

Photo By: Matt Harbicht/The Verbatim Agency

Photo By: Matt Harbicht/The Verbatim Agency

Photo By: Matt Harbicht/The Verbatim Agency

Photo By: Matt Harbicht/The Verbatim Agency

Photo By: Matt Harbicht/The Verbatim Agency

Photo By: Matt Harbicht/The Verbatim Agency

Photo By: Matt Harbicht/The Verbatim Agency

Photo By: Matt Harbicht/The Verbatim Agency

Photo By: Matt Harbicht/The Verbatim Agency

Photo By: Matt Harbicht/The Verbatim Agency

Photo By: Matt Harbicht/The Verbatim Agency

Photo By: Matt Harbicht/The Verbatim Agency

Photo By: Matt Harbicht/The Verbatim Agency

Photo By: Matt Harbicht/The Verbatim Agency

Photo By: Matt Harbicht/The Verbatim Agency

Photo By: Matt Harbicht/The Verbatim Agency

Photo By: Matt Harbicht

Photo By: Matt Harbicht

Photo By: Matt Harbicht

Photo By: Matt Harbicht

Photo By: Matt Harbicht

Photo By: Michael Moriatis

Photo By: Michael Moriatis

Photo By: Michael Moriatis

Photo By: Michael Moriatis

Photo By: Michael Moriatis

Photo By: Michael Moriatis

Photo By: Michael Moriatis

Photo By: Matt Harbicht/The Verbatim Agency

Photo By: Matt Harbicht/The Verbatim Agency

Photo By: Matt Harbicht/The Verbatim Agency

Photo By: Matt Harbicht/The Verbatim Agency

Photo By: Matt Harbicht/The Verbatim Agency

Photo By: Matt Harbicht/The Verbatim Agency

Photo By: Matt Harbicht/The Verbatim Agency

Photo By: Matt Harbicht/The Verbatim Agency

Photo By: Matt Harbicht/The Verbatim Agency

Photo By: Matt Harbicht/The Verbatim Agency

Photo By: Matt Harbicht/The Verbatim Agency

Photo By: Matt Harbicht/The Verbatim Agency

Photo By: Anders Krusberg

Photo By: Anders Krusberg

Photo By: Anders Krusberg

Photo By: Anders Krusberg

Photo By: Anders Krusberg

Photo By: Anders Krusberg

Photo By: Anders Krusberg

Photo By: Anders Krusberg

Photo By: Anders Krusberg

Let the Baking Games Begin

The time has finally come for two of baking's biggest names to compete and see who truly is the king of cake! Each week, Buddy and Duff will tackle a baking challenge and a cake decorating challenge. "We're kicking this competition off here in LA, because we've both got bakeries here, Buddy said. "No home field advantage."

Family Dessert Showdown

The competition will be judged by Sherry Yard, an award-winning pastry chef and executive pastry chef for Wolfgang Puck. For the first Bake-Off, Buddy and Duff will make their signature family desserts.

An Apple a Day

Duff's signature family dessert is his great-grandmother’s apple strudel. "My great-grandmother came over from the Ukraine," Duff said. "This was one of the recipes that she brought with her."

Italian Pastry Time

Buddy's signature family dessert is the Italian lobster tail. "The lobster tail is probably regarded as the most difficult Italian pastry to make," Buddy said. "It's important for me to come out on top for this first Bake-Off, because I want to set the tone. I want Duff to know what it's like to start losing."

Stretching Strudel

"Strudel dough is really hard to get correct," Duff said. "You have to mix it right, you have to stretch it right. When you bite into strudel, it explodes into a thousand tiny, little crispy pieces. There is no other way to get that texture in your mouth except for having super-thin dough. You have to be able to read a newspaper through the dough."

Boss Technique

"My lobster tail is unique and different, because it's filled with pate a choux, cream puff mix," Buddy said. "This is definitely a Buddy mastery technique," Sherry said.

On the Sweet Side

After three hours of intense baking, it was time to taste. In addition to Sherry, Buddy and Duff's families would also be tasting the desserts. Buddy's lobster tail was up first. "This is incredible. The cream is unctuous and lovely," Sherry said. "Really, really well done. The only thing I would say, it's a little on the sweet side."

Too Tart?

Next up was Duff's strudel. "I'm really starting to sweat," he said. "Fat always beats fruit. You can't put tart up against sweet." "The dough is so crispy and caramelized through and through," Sherry said. "The filling, even though it's cooked, the flavor is so bright. My only criticism would be, it might be a touch too tart."

Loving the Lobster Tail

After tasting both desserts, it all came down to technique, and the pate a choux in Buddy's lobster tail snagged him the win in the first Bake-Off. "Angels made that pastry dough," Sherry said. "I won the first one, and I'm gonna keep on coming for you," Buddy said.

Fast N' Loud Birthday

For the first Cake-Off, Buddy and Duff met Fast N' Loud host Richard Rawlings at the Petersen Automotive Museum. Their challenge was to make a cake to celebrate Richard's 50th birthday.

Los Angeles Lowrider

Of course, an over-the-top birthday cake for Richard Rawlings has to have something to do with cars, but Duff also wanted to embrace where the party was happening. "I'm thinking what I want to do is very LA," Duff said. "Lowrider. Some of the paintjobs are good."


"What else does that mean?" Duff's sous Geof asked. "Hydraulics," Duff responded with a twinkle in his eye.

See Duff's Lowrider Cake Come Together : Buddy Vs Duff: Making Cakes with the Ace of Cakes

Happy Hot Rod

Buddy and his sous, Ralph, decided to go for an exaggerated hot rod cake. "Our plan is to make a cake to show who Richard is and what he's all about," Buddy said. "We want to make a nice, big hot rod with a cool sculpture of him driving it."

See Buddy's Hot Rod Cake Come Together : Buddy Vs Duff: Making Cakes with the Cake Boss

Party Time

Back at the Peterson Auto Museum, it was time for Richard's birthday party and time to see Buddy and Duff's cake creations. Duff was up first.

Day of the Lowrider

Richard and Sherry were both impressed by all the intricate detail and hand-painted elements of Duff's cake. "The hand-painted works of art and the engine really made those details come to life," Sherry said. Even more impressive was the suggestion of a hydraulic lift, but unfortunately that didn't work as planned. "What's the point of making a lowrider if you can't make it bounce?" Geof asked.


"I'll give it to Duff," Buddy said. "His car had some nice detail work but wait until Richard sees our cake!"

Hot Shot Hot Rod

"Unbelievable!" Richard said as Buddy and Ralph rolled their hot rod cake out. "You care the car boss, I am the cake boss, and I had to make a car fitting of the boss," Buddy said.

"If I was a little kid and I got that cake, I would be stoked," Duff said. "It's big, it's cartoonish. Our cakes are just a little more subtle."

Judgement Day

Now it was up to Richard and Sherry to decide which baker took the cake, but the final decision was up to Sherry. "I really like this cake. It has that 'wow' factor," Sherry said. "There are some criticisms here. If you look at the treads, they're a little uneven. As a car buff myself, I'd like it a little more in detail. Less cartoon."

"This thing is super cool," Richard said of Duff's cake. "He nailed it on so many different angles from the car perspective." "All the detail is incredible," Sherry said. "It must have taken him hours. There are a few digs. It's not seamless."

Loving the Lowrider

"The execution on both was amazing," Sherry said, "but they both had issues. Duff's hydraulics didn't work and there were some visible cracks and Buddy's cake had some visible seams as well. This time for me, it came all down to detail. Today, Duff, you're the winner. It was truly your artistry that won me over."

Time-out

Almost immediately after hearing the results, Buddy walked off set.

Back with a Vengeance

After a few minutes off set, Buddy returned to the party. "I have a lot of respect for Duff and Geof," Buddy said. "I got robbed, but I am not a sore loser. I came in with the intention to win. I'm back, guns blazing."

Carnival Treats

After an explosive first week of competition, week two started off at the Santa Monica Pier. Buddy and Duff had to make carnival treats for 50 customers.

Hoboken Zeppoles

"When I think of carnival, I think of zeppoles," Buddy said. Instead of simply making his classic zeppoles, which are rolled in powdered sugar, Buddy made three. The classic, one stuffed with chocolate hazelnut spread and the third with an orange glaze and filled with cannoli cream."

Frozen Love Treats

For his carnival-inspired creation, Duff wanted to feature not one, not two, not even three, but as many techniques as possible. "I lost the first baking challenge, because Buddy had more techniques than me," Duff said. "I'm making waffle cones from scratch. I'm going to fill the bottom with milk chocolate and peanuts. Then I'm making dulce de leche ice cream. Then on top of that, little frozen ice cream balls. Whipped cream. Some sprinkles. A cherry. Then garnished with a rainbow funnel cake. There's no way Buddy is going to be able to top this."

Judging Peers on the Pier

Joining Sherry at the judges' station was YouTube star Hannah Hart and Chef Keegan Gerhard who will remain as a judge for the remainder of the competition.

Taste Over Technique

"This challenge was so difficult to judge, because you had old world and crazy carnival creativity against one another," Sherry said. After tasting and judging both treats, Buddy walked away with the win, just edging out Duff on flavor. "I was nervous, because Duff really brought his A game. He did a lot of technique, but when you've got fried, warm dough, it's hard to beat."

Aarti's Bollywood Party

This week's Cake-Off challenge was for a Bollywood-themed party being hosted by celebrity chef Aarti Sequeria. "In New Jersey and New York, we have a huge Indian population," Buddy said. "If there's one thing I know, it's Bollywood."

Golden Elephant

"Let's make a tiny, little gold elephant," Duff suggested. "I think it'll be cool to see a tiny, little elephant next to whatever Buddy makes. He's gonna make something big, and the bigger it gets, the sloppier it gets."

Buddy's Bollywood

"Details, embellishments, metallics, reds, magentas, golds. Flashy," Buddy brainstormed. Buddy wanted to include a variety of Bollywood elements into a multi-tiered cake. "I want to show depth here. I want to show them that we can use molds, we can use cake lays or we can pipe it. We can bring it any way they want it."

Decadently Detailed

"Oh my gosh. I can't believe that's a cake," Aarti said when Duff rolled his golden elephant out. "It looks like a statue." "They really loved all the details with Duff's cake," Buddy said. "They spent a lot of time talking about it, but I don't have to talk up my cakes. My cakes talk for themselves."

Bollywood Belly Dancer

"When my cake came out, it was drop the mic," Buddy said. "Piping and painting and stenciling. Cake lays, molds, sculpting. We kind of did it all."

Detailed Decisions

"I don't think this is going to be a hard decision for the judges," Duff said. "If we didn't win this one, I would be shocked," Buddy said. The judges commended Duff on his use of real gold leaf and the detail work, but Keegan noted that it showed a few techniques done over and over again. The judges commended Buddy on his variety of techniques but dinged him on the lack of realism on the bottom tier.

Buddy Won Bollywood

Buddy's variety of techniques snagged him the win in the second Cake-Off.

Piece of the Pie

This week the challenge is all about pie. The chefs must make a delicious, eye-catching pie. “I’ve been making pies for 30 years,” said Buddy. “I know I got this.”

The Flakier the Better

Duff chooses to make his blueberry pie with a super flaky dough. “Pie dough is a tricky thing,” said Duff. “You’ve got to keep pie dough really, really cold ... That’s the trick. You’ve got to keep it cold and you have to work fast.”

All About the Filling

Buddy is making banana cream pie. “It was one of the first pies that I learned how to make,” he said. “I’m going to add a layer of depth and flavor by adding Bananas Foster.”

Judging the Pies

While the chefs are creating their pie masterpieces, the judges will be watching the action on a tablet. Sherry and Keegan are joined by pastry chef and chocolatier Valerie Gordon and owner of Valerie’s Confections. “It’s so much fun watching these cake kings trying to attack pie,” said Valerie.

Duff Takes the Pie

Duff’s design is based on his fish Mango. “I am actually making the graffiti version of Mango,” he explains. Judge Valerie Gordon loved the idea, “We’re getting an Ace of Cakes moment here. He’s really showing us what he’s known for which is these decorative elements and this artistry that he does on his cakes.” Duff wins the bake-off. “This pie the surprise of day,” said Sherry.

It's a Dog's Life

For the cake-off, Buddy and Duff challenged to provide dog-themed cakes for Flip or Flop host Christina Anstead's dog-pampering party.

All About the Story

Duff’s idea for his dog cake is to create a Great Dane that is owned by three little girls and completely covered in little girl stuff. “Everything I do has a story. There’s a reason behind everything,” said Duff. “I think the most challenging part of building this dog is going to be carving its anatomy. I really want this dog to be very alive.”

Balancing Act

The cake Buddy and Ralph planned out has two large dogs at the base with a third smaller dog balancing on their noses. “These are not small dogs," said Ralph. "This is a lot of sculpting and carving, so timewise this is going to be a little close.” But, Buddy isn't worried, "When you make thousands of cakes a year, you learn to work fast."

Capturing the Spirit

“I think Christina is going to love this!” said Ralph. “I think we did a really good job of capturing the spirit and playfulness of dogs,” said Buddy. “This is cake is pretty phenomenal. I think I won this one,” said Buddy as they arrived at the dog resort. ‘My favorite part is the Frenchie,” said Christina. “How did you get the bone to balance?”

Proud of His Work

“This dog is one of the best 3-D carved objects I’ve ever done,” said Duff.

Judging the Dog Show

The judges score the cakes based on design, difficulty, representation of the theme, execution and creativity. “I think Duff did a wonderful job of telling a story, as he always does,” said Sherry. “The seams were where they should be,” said Keegan, “but I think I would have airbrushed the fur.” Sherry was impressed by the balancing act on Buddy’s cake and Keegan loved the attention to detail but saw a disconnect between the fondant-covered dogs and the piped base.

Top Dog

Judges Sherry and Keegan awarded the win to Buddy. His dog cake got high marks for playfulness, depth of texture and movement. “Buddy surprised me with attention to detail today,” said Keegan.

Restaurant Rivalry

For the fourth week of the competition, it was Duff's turn to pick the Bake-Off challenge and he brought Buddy to a place he hadn't been before — a restaurant kitchen. "I've never worked anywhere outside the bakery," Buddy said. "I'm a little out of my element today." The challenge this week was plated desserts.

Floating Islands

For his plated dessert, Duff was making ile flottantes, or floating islands. "A floating island is a very old school, classic pastry dish," Duff said. "Floating islands usually come with some chocolate. There's usually a caramel in there."

Classic Cream Puff Cake

Buddy was also taking it old school and making his dad's cream puff cake. "There's a lot of stuff going on in this cake," Buddy said. "If all the techniques I do in this challenge don't shut the judges up, I don't know what I'm gonna do."

Presentation vs. Taste

"I definitely think the presentation of Duff's dish is very meticulous," Buddy said. "My presentation was good. I don't think it was perfect, but I can tell you one thing — mins tastes delicious."

More Flavorful Meringue

The judges loved the presentation of Duff's dessert, but they thought it was lacking in flavor. "I would have liked a little more flavor in that meringue," Sherry said. "It went flat unless I started to mix it with other ingredients."

Duff Takes Dessert

"I'm feeling really good," Duff said. "I've been doing this a long time. I had to do what I was good at and it worked. It was incredible."

Matrimony Madness

It was Buddy's turn to pick the Cake-Off challenge, and he was heading back to his roots. "I'm gonna throw Duff down in a wedding cake challenge," Buddy said. "Wedding cakes is what I was born and bred on."

No Tiers Left to Cry

"I am versed on every cake decorating medium there is," Buddy said. "Duff don't stand a chance."

Sea Dragon Design

Duff's wedding cake was inspired by his fiancé, Johnna. "A leafy sea dragon looks like a plant, but it's a seahorse," Duff said. "They're very flowing, but they're also very gentle. Johnna is very beautiful, she's very gentle, and I think I want to make a cake with leafy sea dragons on it."

Stacked Showstopper

"We wanted to do a showstopper," Buddy said. "For me, it was thinking of a modern-day bride, but also paying homage to somebody old school, traditional things. I really wanted to wow the judges on every single technique that we can do, because we can do them all."

Duff Wins the Wedding Cake Challenge

"This is like no wedding cake I've ever seen," Sherry said. "You really feel like you're under the sea. I'm blown away."

Morning Rush

For this week's Bake-Off, Buddy brought Duff to Randy's Donut's in LA to fry up some breakfast for the morning commuters.

The More the Merrier

After four weeks of stiff competition, Duff really wanted to step his game up for this challenge and bring his all. Instead of just making one doughnut, Duff was going to make FOUR! And one was a fried chicken sandwich with a doughnut bun. Not wanting to be left behind, Buddy added another doughnut to his lineup.

Stopped by a Shard

While frying up his blueberry cake doughnuts, Duff noticed an issue with his doughnut dispenser. The bowl he was mixing his batter in had cracked, and a small piece of glass found its way into the batter. Duff has to throw out all his already made doughnuts and start from scratch.

Duff Does Doughnuts

Despite his dilemma with the glass, Duff was able to power through and impress the judges with his variety of flavors and techniques.

Magical Showdown

This week's Cake-Off was a party hosted by legendary magicians Penn & Teller at The Magic Castle, an exclusive members only club.

Now You See It ...

Buddy wanted to bring some actual magic to his magician-inspired cake. "I'd like there to be some sort of trick in the cake," Buddy said. "By creating a mirrored illusion where it spins, you're gonna see a cake. Then there's not a cake. It's a cake. It's not a cake. It's magic."

The Greatest Showman

"We're gonna put on a magic show, "Duff said. "I have a box that I'm gonna stuff Geof in. Half of that lid is going to be cake. That's the only cake here. All the decorations on the outside of the box are all going to be fondant and gum paste. Then, we need to make a bunny levitate out of a hat and then I gotta do a card trick."

A Cake Illusion

Even though the judges loved Duff's magic show, his thin layer of cake just didn't cut it for this Cake-Off. Buddy's illusion tier was a big hit with Penn & Teller, giving him the win.

The Final Bake-Off

After five weeks of competition, it was time for the final Bake-Off. This week, Buddy and Duff were in the Food Network kitchens making chocolate engagement desserts for two very special couples.

Chocolate Competition

"Buddy's good, and he's been doing this for longer than me," Duff said. "So, I wanted the finale to be something that was incredibly difficult. Chocolate is a difficult thing."

Diamond for Duff

"I just got engaged, so this challenge has a really special place in my heart, because I remember the day that I proposed," Duff said. "I expect a lot out of myself."

Chocolate City

The judges loved Duff's artistic vision and his varried uses of chocolate, landing him the win.

Go Big or Go Home

For the final Cake-Off, Buddy chose a challenge that was out of this world. Buddy and Duff had three days to make a cake inspired by science and space to be presented at The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. "It's gonna take eveything we got to pull this off," Buddy said "but when we bring out cake out, it's gonna be ground breaking."

Duff's Eye for Detail

"What we want to do is make something that's really impressive and really clean," Duff said. "Our cakes are just a little more subtle. I sweat the details. That's the thing with pastry, with cakes. It takes a lot of little things right to make one big thing successful."

Ben Franklin's Journey

"We started with under the sea," Buddy said. "We have out two prehistoric fish monsters and we built this beautiful coral reef. We come to our innovation electric tier and then over to our space tier. And one of my favorite parts is Ben Franklin."

Apollo Moon Lander

"This year, 2019, is the 50th anniversary of the lunar landing," Duff said. "We wanted to honor those guys."

Duff Takes the Competition

Even though he didn't win the final Cake-Off, Duff racked up enough points throughout the competition to snag the win!