Top Chef Just Desserts S2Ep2

We start off with a Quickfire where our chefs have to make an original lemon dessert. On the one hand, lemon is acid and the peel can be bitter, so it’s a challenge as an ingredient; on the other, it’s used so often that it’s hard to be original. Which is why we have several types of lemon cakes and curds and puddings going on. Rebecca does this practically one handed, as she broke her left one the night before.

Much lemony goodness ensues, mixed successfully with hazelnuts and cocoanut, and less so with mango (too similar) and chocolate (which Orlando uses as a palate cleanser and which the guest host doesn’t like in combination.) Guest host was Margaret Braun, who makes elaborate, sculptural cakes. Matthew wins with his lemon/hazelnut concoction.

Three of the chefs plus Matthew are picked to be team leaders. They then pick their teams. As there are fourteen chefs, that means, eventually, two teams of three and two of four. I wonder if that will make a difference? Matthew is stuck with Melissa whom no one likes. She is determined to prove herself not a liability.

The challenge is to make cakes for a party for the LA Philharmonic, held in their home, the architecturally interesting Walt Disney Concert Hall. The cakes have to reflect the building, each layer has to be made by a different chef and they have to be delicious.

Katzi loves that both cakes and architecture are the product of art and science; later we find that Nelson studied to be an architect.

Note. Not only am I NOT a pastry chef, but I spent a year and a half in engineering school. Where one thing I learned was that architects are problems, not solutions. So, I’m also on the other side of THAT equation.

Two teams decide to make cohesive decorations; two decide that each layer will look different. We have several chocolate cakes, one cake soaked in smoked salted caramel, one cardamon cake (by Melissa and it sounds so good I’ve decided to make one for Rosh Hashanah. Especially since she used a ginger cream and a jam filling.) We see good use of fresh fruit as well as jams, and often several flavors/colors in various combinations.

But the cakes themselves – Marco’s team has an ugly color, but it’s shaped and decorated beautifully and cohesively, and the cakes are yummy. Matthew’s team is all lovely and all delicious. Katzi’s has odd shapes, and Venarin’s caramel cake was over baked and there was no taste of salt, smoke OR caramel. Too bad because that sounds heavenly. He also made, badly, instruments as part of the décor. Nelson’s team’s cake broke, the bottom layer was too dense and Craig’s devil food cake marshmallow cream was toooo sweet.

Matthew’s team wins. Which is actually meaningless because there was no prize and no immunity. And Venarin goes home. Since everyone else’s cake was properly cooked and he made those ugly decorations, it makes sense.

What doesn’t make sense is the time frame. 8.5 hours is just not enough for cake decorating – that can take days. Even the competitions include weeks of planning. But with that considered, they did a fine job.

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About mamadeb

I'm a devoted fan of Adam Lambert, but also of cooking, knitting, science fiction and pretty anything pop culture. I'm @_mamadeb on Twitter.
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