The American Baking Competition

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The American Baking Competition
Title card of The American Baking Competition.jpg
Presented byJeff Foxworthy
JudgesMarcela Valladolid
Paul Hollywood
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes7 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s)Jay Bienstock
Richard McKerrow
Production company(s)Love Productions USA
Original networkCBS
Picture format1080i (16:9 HDTV)
Original releaseMay 29 (2013-05-29) –
July 10, 2013 (2013-07-10)
Related showsThe Great British Bake Off
The Great American Baking Show (2015–)
External links
Official website

The American Baking Competition is a reality competition television series that aired on CBS from May 29[1] to July 10, 2013. It was adaptation of The Great British Bake Off (which is aired in the United States under the title The Great British Baking Show). The series aimed to find the best amateur baker in the United States. The series was hosted by Jeff Foxworthy and judged by Marcela Valladolid and Paul Hollywood.[1] The competition was won by Brian Emmett.[2][3]


The show aimed to find among its contestants the best amateur baker in the US. Ten contestants were chosen for the first season. In each episode, the amateur bakers were given three challenges: a signature dish, a technical challenge, and a show-stopper.[4] The three challenges took place over two days, and the dishes made by the contestants were assessed by the judges after each challenge. At the end of the 3 challenges, the judges chose a Star Baker for the week, and a contestant was also eliminated. In the finale three bakers were left and a winner was chosen from the three.

  • Signature dish – a dish using their own tried and tested recipe that the amateur bakers make for their family and friends.[5]
  • Technical dish - a dessert using the same ingredients and recipe provided by the judges. The recipe given however has missing instructions and is designed to test the knowledge and skill of the bakers. The bakers are not told beforehand what the challenge might be, and the judges do not observe the bakers at work and judge the resulting dish without knowing who made them.[5] This round is the only one where how each contestant performed is directly revealed. The contestants are given a ranking, but that ranking is not their total score for the episode.
  • Show-stopper dish - a recipe designed to impress the judges.[5]

The competition was held in one location in a specially constructed marquee. Interspersed in the show were short videos on the background of the contestants, as well as information on the history of baking and visiting various locations.

The entire season series was shot over a one-month period.[6]

The winner of the competition received a $250,000 grand prize and a publishing contract with Simon & Schuster.[7]


On October 17, 2012, CBS ordered the series under the original title Bake-Off.[8][9] Since Pillsbury Company held the trademark to the name (using it for its Pillsbury Bake-Off), the show was later renamed The American Baking Competition.[6]

CBS placed casting calls for participants on November 14, 2012. Auditions were held between December 1 and December 15, 2012.[10] The competition took place at the Gibbs Gardens in Ball Ground, Georgia in March 2013.[6]


The first season of The American Baking Competition premiered on May 29, 2013.[1] It aired four episodes in the Wednesdays at 8 p.m. Eastern/9 p.m. Central timeslot. On June 26, 2013, it moved to 9 p.m. Eastern/8 p.m. Central, to make way for Big Brother, and aired its three remaining episodes in that timeslot. Both of these timeslots put the series opposite Fox's MasterChef.

In 2015, ABC premiered a second U.S. version of the format, The Great Holiday Baking Show. The Christmas-themed revival ran for four episodes as part of ABC's December lineup, and featured Johnny Iuzzini joined by British judge Mary Berry. The series returned for a second season in 2016, renamed The Great American Baking Show.[11][12][13]


Baker Age
(on show debut)
(on show)
Hometown Notes
Brian Emmett 43 Marketing Executive Itasca, Illinois Originally from Glendale Heights, Illinois
Carlo Fuda 35 Social Marketing Consultant Stamford, Connecticut Originally from Ellwood City, Pennsylvania
Darlene Pawlukowsky 51 Project Manager Johns Creek, Georgia Originally from Mt. Prospect, Illinois
Effie Sahihi 40 Attorney Hendersonville, Tennessee Born in Israel and raised in Winter Haven, Florida
Elaine Francisco 63 Retired Claremont, California
Francine Bryson 44 Homemaker Pickens, South Carolina Born in Greenville, South Carolina and raised in Wakulla, Florida.
James Reddick 26 Photographer Hollywood, California Originally from Indianapolis, Indiana
Jeremy Cross 35 Firefighter San Diego, California
Kolette Biddle 30 Home Health Care Provider Norco, California
Whitney Beery 21 College Student Lubbock, Texas Originally from Castle Rock, Colorado

Results summary[edit]

Elimination chart
Baker[14] 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Elaine SB SB OUT
James OUT
Effie OUT
Kolette OUT
Jeremy OUT
Whitney OUT
Carlo OUT

Color Key:

     The baker got through to the next round.
     The baker was the week's Star Baker.
     The baker was one of the judges' favorite bakers that week, but did not win Star Baker.
     The baker was one of the judges' least favorite bakers that week, but was not eliminated.
     The baker was eliminated out of the competition.
     The baker was the season runner-up.
     The baker was the season winner.


Episode 1: "Pies & Tarts"[edit]

Episode one aired on May 29, 2013. The theme of the episode was sweet and savory pies and tarts.

For the signature bake, the bakers were given two hours to bake an American pie. On the technical bake, the bakers were required to bake a free-standing savory pie using Paul Hollywood's own recipe. The pie would be a hot water crust pastry and the bakers were given two hours. For the showstopper, the bakers needed to make 36 sweet tartlets within three hours.[15]

Color key:      Eliminated      Star Baker      Winner.

Baker Signature
(The All American Pie)
(Freestanding Savory Pie)
(36 Sweet Tartlets)
Francine Peanut Butter Bacon Pie 3rd Chocolate Cherry Tartlets
Brian Maple Bourbon Chocolate Pecan Pie 1st Raspberry and Dark Chocolate Tartlets
Elaine Peach Cobbler Pie 2nd Lemon Ginger Tartlets
James Mile High Apple Pie 8th Ricotta and Greek Yogurt Honey Tartlets
Kolette Chocolate Hazelnut Pie 5th Goat Cheese and Cherry Tartlets
Effie Apple, Quince, Rose pie 6th Orange-Almond-Vanilla and Ricotta Tartlets
Darlene Sweet Potato Pie 9th Blooming Apple Tartlets
Whitney Lemon Meringue Pie 7th Rum Coconut Tartlets with Custard and Orange Zest
Jeremy Sweet Potato Pie 4th Kiwi, Mango and Blueberry Tartlets
Carlo Ricotta Easter Pie 10th Calabrese "Pite" Tartlets

Episode 2: "Cookies"[edit]

Episode two aired on June 5, 2013. The theme of the episode was all kinds of cookies.

The bakers were set the challenge of baking 12 cookies in an hour and a half using their own recipe, and all the cookies baked should be presented to the judges. For the technical challenge, the bakers were required to make in two hours 18 S'mores using Marcela's recipe. For the final showstopper, the bakers were given four hours to bake 40 sandwich Macarons. They must be of two different types, have a delicate crisp shell and soft chewy center.[16]

Baker Signature
(40 Sandwich Macarons)
Elaine Ginger Cookies 7th Coconut Ganache and Lemon Buttercream Macarons
Jeremy "Fat Pills" 5th Strawberry and Chocolate Peanut Butter Macarons
Francine "Slap-Yo-Mama" Chocolate Fudge Cookies 2nd Drunken Orange and Raspberry Ganache Macarons
Effie Rosemary Cherry Meyer Lemon Cookies 1st Saffron Rose and Curry Coconut Lime Macarons
Darlene Red Rose Crumbles 6th Black Sesame and Chocolate Cinnamon Macarons
James Brutti ma Buoni with Hazelnut Glaze 9th Clementine and Earl Grey Macarons
Kolette White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies 3rd Candied Ginger and Meyer Lemon Macarons
Brian Cakey Chocolate Chip Cookies 8th Coffee Cream and Mint Chocolate Macarons
Whitney Soft Lemon Poppyseed Cookies 4th Mocha and Chai Macarons

Episode 3: "Cakes"[edit]

Episode three aired on June 12, 2013. The theme of the episode was cake.

The bakers were set to make a One-Layer Cake in 90 minutes in the signature bake. In the technical challenge, they were given two hours and fifteen minutes to bake a Chiffon Cake with Tequila Orange Glaze using Marcela's recipe. For the showstopper, the challenge was to make a Surprise Inside Cake where, when sliced open, a surprise design is revealed. The bakers were given five hours for the challenge.[17]

Baker Signature
(One-Layer Cake)
(Chiffon Cake)
(Surprise Inside Cake)
Elaine Coconut Pineapple Upside-Down Cake 3rd Valentine's Day Cake
Francine Cherry Soda Pop Cake 1st Floating Hearts Cake
Brian Dark Chocolate Truffle Cake 5th All-American Hamburger Surprise Cake
Darlene Banana, Pineapple and Pecan Tiki-time Cake 4th Give a Dog a Bone Cake
James Coffee Cake 2nd Underground Surprise Cake
Effie Orange Cardamom Pistachio Cake 7th I Love You to the Moon and Back Cake
Kolette Oatmeal Spice Cake 8th Check, Check, Check it out Cake
Jeremy Cinnamon Chocolate Cake 6th Single layer Cherpumple Cake

Episode 4: "Breads"[edit]

Episode four aired on June 19, 2013. The theme of the episode was bread and pastries.

For the signature bake, the bakers had three hours to make a free-form loaf of bread. The bread had to be yeast bread, and hand shaped. In the technical bake, the bakers were given one hour and 45 minutes to make eight large soft pretzels using Paul's recipe. Immediately following the technical challenge, the bakers went on to make the showstopper, which was two types of croissants, one plain and one filled. They were given two hours the first day, allowed the dough to rise overnight in the fridge, and then three hours the next day to finish the bake.[18]

Baker Signature
(Loaf of Yeast Bread)
(Soft Pretzels)
( 24 Croissants)
Darlene Twist-and-turn Pesto Wheel 1st Plain and Apricot and Pecan-Filled Croissants
Brian Onion-Braided Loaf 3rd Plain and Ham-and-Chive-Filled Croissants
Francine Red Hot, Pecan, and Brown Sugar Loaf 2nd Plain and Date, Nut and Honey-Filled Croissants
James Prosciutto, Capicola, and Pepperoni Loaf 7th Plain and Chocolate-Filled Croissants
Elaine Old-Fashioned Potato Loaf 4th Plain and Raspberry and White Chocolate-Filled Croissants
Effie Enriched Challah Bread 6th Plain and Pear-Filled Croissants
Kolette German Pumpernickel 5th Plain and Almond-Filled Croissants

Episode 5: "Desserts"[edit]

Episode five aired on June 26, 2013. The theme of the episode was sweet baked goods.

For the signature bake, the bakers must make 8 individual custards, either sweet like a crème brûlée, or using a more savory recipe. They had 90 minutes to finish the task. In the technical bake, the challenge was to bake a chocolate soufflé, however. As the soufflé can fall within minutes of coming out of the oven, the start time for the bakers was staggered so that each bake can be judged immediately after it was baked. The bakers were each given an hour and 45 minutes. For the final challenge, the bakers were required to produce a layered dessert featuring meringue in five hours.[19]

Baker Signature
(8 Custards)
(Chocolate Soufflé)
(Multi-layer Meringue Cakes)
Darlene Vanilla Custards 3rd Chocolate Meringue Cake
Francine Dreamsicle Custards 4th Raspberry, Lemon and Meringue Chiffon Cake
Elaine Crab and Fresh Corn Custards 2nd Nutty Meringue Stack
James Caramel Espresso Custards 1st Pavlova and Lemon Layer Cake with Berries
Brian Jalapeño and Chorizo Custards 6th Almond Meringue Cake
Effie Lime Pots de Creme 5th Hazelnut Meringue Creation

Episode 6: "Patisserie"[edit]

Episode six aired on July 3, 2013. It was the semi-finals of the competition. The theme of the episode was French pastries, often called patisserie.

The tarte tatin was the signature bake. The contestants were required to complete it in two hours and fifteen minutes. For the technical bake, the bakers were required to make 4 Napoleons, using Paul Hollywood's own recipe, in two and a half hours. For the showstopper, the contestants had to make a choux tower in four and a half hours.[20]

Baker Signature
(Tarte tatin)
(4 Napoleons)
(Choux tower)
Brian French Onion Tarte Tatin 1st Chocolate Mousse Choux Tower
Darlene Apple, Pear, Cranberry Tarte Tatin 3rd Orange and Grand Marnier Cream Choux Tower
Francine Peach Tarte Tatin 2nd Vanilla Cream Choux Tower
Elaine Bartlett Pear Tarte Tatin 4th Chocolate Espresso Cream Choux Tower
James Asian Pear Tarte Tatin 5th Chocolate and Orange Liqueur Cream Choux Tower

Episode 7: "Finale"[edit]

Episode seven aired on July 10, 2013. It was the finals of the competition. The theme was patriotism, with dishes that were all related to the United States.

The contestants could make anything for the signature bake but had to include the official state crop of Georgia, the peanut; they had a time limit of two hours thirty minutes. The contestants had two hours forty-five minutes to complete a Paul Hollywood recipe; a dozen Boston Cream Donuts. For the showstopper the final three contestants had five hours to make 72 miniature desserts inspired by the American flag; 24 mini-meringues, 24 mini-tarts and 24 mini-cakes.[21]

Baker Signature
(Dozen Boston Cream Donuts)
(72 miniature desserts)
Brian Vanilla Peanut Chiffon Roll with a Peanut Mousse Filling,
topped with Peanut Praline
3rd Whipped Cream filled Mini-Meringues with White Chocolate dipped Popcorn
Mascarpone Cream filled Mini-Tarts with berries
Raspberry White Chocolate Mini-Cakes with berries
Darlene Peanut Cake Roll with Peanut Cream Filling 1st 4 July Mini-Meringues with Pop Rocks Candy
Peach and Grit Mini-Tarts
Strawberry USA Mini-Cakes
Francine Spiced Peanut Peanut Butter Torte with a Cream Cheese
Filling and a Cookie Crumble Shell
2nd Blueberry Cream-Filled Mini-Meringues
Red, White and Blue Mini-Cakes covered in White Chocolate
Peaches and Cream Creampuffs pastries


Critical reception[edit]

The American Baking Competition has received mixed reviews from critics.

Liane Bonin Starr of HitFix stated that the series was "surprisingly nice" for a reality TV series. She felt that it was very mellow, so "it was up to judges Marcela Valladolid and Paul Hollywood to provide some acid to the recipe." She did appreciate the series's showcasing of the food, saying "what the show lacks in intensity it makes up for in food."[22]

TV Line's Michael Slezak described the series as "half-baked" stating that there was "not really enough time to focus on getting to know the players" or to get "a real insight into their baking philosophies." Additionally, the pilot's outcome was described as "as predictable as the use of butter in a pie crust." He expressed hope that "future installments might take a few tips from various Food Network competition shows and put a little more emphasis on the actual dishes."[23]


The series premiered to a disappointing 1.0 rating in the Adults 18-49 demographic and 5.11 million total viewers.[24] This made it the worst ever Wednesday premiere for a CBS show.[25] However, it rose in ratings for the first two weeks, a feat ratings experts called "extremely rare."[26] It had seemed like the series would be boosted by moving behind Big Brother on June 26, but it didn't end up that way, as the ratings were generally the same after the move.[27] The last two episodes did not help the series, as it went down slightly, a movement that was not good for the series's renewal prospects.[27] The show was cancelled in July 2013.[28]

Episode list
Episode Air date Rating / share
Rating / share
Weekly ranking
18–49 Total viewers
1[24][29][30] May 29, 2013 (2013-05-29) 3.4 / 6 1.0 / 3 5.11 41 27
2[31][32] June 5, 2013 (2013-06-05) 3.1 / 6 1.1 / 4 4.73 >25 29
3[33][34][35] June 12, 2013 (2013-06-12) 3.9 / 7 1.2 / 4 5.68 24 22
4[36][37][38] June 19, 2013 (2013-06-19) 3.7 / 7 1.2 / 4 5.80 23 14
5[39][40][41] June 26, 2013 (2013-06-26) 3.3 / 5 1.2 / 4 5.10 23 >25
6[42][43] July 3, 2013 (2013-07-03) 1.1 / 4 4.70 23 19
7[44][45][46] July 10, 2013 (2013-07-10) 3.1 / 5 1.1 / 3 4.83 >25 25


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External links[edit]