First impressions are everything in the business world, so Valerie Bertinelli and Duff Goldman kick off the competition by giving the kid bakers free rein to show off their bestselling dessert using the psychology of color. Smart owners choose brand colors that highlight the most important aspects of their business, and one young baker is left feeling blue at elimination time.
A successful business often captures the public's attention with a unique product or a new spin on familiar things. Duff Goldman and Valerie Bertinelli challenge the biz bakers to tantalize their customers by combining two sweet treats into one dessert mash-up, such as Cheesecake and Eclairs, Pecan Pie and Donuts, Brownies and Tiramisu, and more. In the end, one baker is eliminated.
All businesses need a logo, so Valerie Bertinelli and Duff Goldman task the biz bakers with putting their own design on a logo cake. The kids will go head-to-head in a team challenge that finally decides which cake flavor is better, chocolate or vanilla. The winning cake earns immunity for their whole team, and one baker from the losing team is sent home.
The key to growing a small business is getting good reviews, and food festivals are the perfect place for new customers to sample food and create "buzz." Duff Goldman and Valerie Bertinelli ask the bakers to create festival-friendly desserts in a jar, like cheesecake, banana pudding, brownies, lemon meringue pie or strawberry shortcake. Then, the bakers taste each other's treats, and the business with the most "thumbs up" earns immunity from elimination, while the least successful dessert maker goes home.
As any business owner knows, sales trends change all the time, and you have to keep up. In this cupcake challenge Valerie Bertinelli and Duff Goldman assign each baker a cupcake flavor that reflects current market popularity, including snickerdoodle, s'mores, PB&J, strawberry lemonade, cinnamon toast and peanut butter chocolate. Then in a super-sized twist, each baker must pair up with their neighbor to create a new cupcake that will predict a trendy flavor in the future. When the flour settles, one baker is eliminated.
Duff Goldman and Valerie Bertinelli know that in business sometimes you need to go to a fancy restaurant and sit down over a nice meal to seal a deal. To honor this tradition, the bakers must create power lunch imposter desserts, like crab cakes with wedge salad, steak with fries and even escargot! When the check arrives, one baker is sent home.
Part of running a successful business is being a good leader, so Valerie Bertinelli and Duff Goldman hold interviews to hire two team leaders who will assign flavors in the cream puff cake challenge to give their team the best chance at winning. Bakers with the same flavors are put head-to-head during judgement, and the side with the most wins earns immunity for their whole team. One baker from the losing side heads for the exit.
As a bakery owner, Duff Goldman receives some VERY unusual requests from customers, and he's using them as the inspiration for a "Make It Work" desserts challenge. In this test, Duff and Valerie will ask the bakers to make a delicious dessert using an unexpected flavor combination, like strawberry and balsamic or banana and grapefruit. The kid bakers who can go with the flow move on, while the least successful dessert maker goes home.
This isn't your grandma's cookie! Valerie Bertinelli and Duff Goldman challenge the kid bakers to put their own stamp on one of today's biggest trends: the loaded cookie. They want the bakers to really go crazy while making batches of two different types of over-the-top cookies. The more toppings, filling and frosting the better for this semi-final challenge!
There is one event that is the staple of any baking business, and it keeps Duff busy all year round -- birthdays! In order to find out which flavor they’ll be making, the kid bakers must record a commercial for their baking business and sell Valerie Bertinelli and Duff Goldman on why they'd make a great birthday cake. The top commercial maker will assign the flavors, and the best young baker wins $25,000 and the title of Kids Baking Champion!