Desserts have always been the bane of Top Chef contenders, and more than one would-be-winner has been sent home after preparing a sweet dish that couldn’t hold a candle to their savory efforts.
But for all the regrettable desserts in Top Chef history, there have been some stellar exceptions to the rule. And even more surprisingly, there have been a number of successful wedding cakes across the various seasons and spin-offs.
So, here they are in no particular order: my favorite wedding cakes in Top Chef history. These are the cakes that are a feast for the eyes, yet still moist and delicious. Well, for the most part…
1. Mocha Explosion Cake
Top Chef: Just Desserts
Season 1, Episode 3
Created by: Ericka
Even the name sounds delicious! When Sylvia Weinstock issued a Quickfire Challenge to the chef’testants to make a flavorful wedding cake in only 90 minutes, the kitchen was littered with disasters. But the one cake that…well…takes the cake…was Ericka’s Kahlua Mocha Explosion Cake. It was elegant, but also tasted phenomenal…not bad for 90 minutes work!
2. The “Betty Crocker” Cake
Top Chef San Francisco
Season 1, Episode 8
Created by: A team headed by Lee Anne
I couldn’t write about the wedding cakes of Top Chef without talking about this culinary disaster. The remaining chefs have to work together to put together food for a wedding reception literally overnight. However, none of them have any background in pastry.
So, rather than risk baking a cake that might have been a mega-disaster, the team agrees to use Betty Crocker cake mix to ensure that they at least have a cake to serve. Sadly, it’s not a pretty cake, and the chefs also let an eggshell slip into the batter that makes one diner very unhappy. But even though it’s a bad cake, it’s great television.
3. Chocolate Hazelnut Groom Cake
Top Chef Chicago
Season 4, Episode Nine
Created by: Lisa
Okay, this cake’s a little homely. But it’s also a groom’s cake, not a traditional wedding cake, so the masculine look is totally acceptable. And even though she was on the losing team, the judges actually preferred her cake to the cake put up by the winning team. Sure, it looks like it was pretty much encrusted with every kind of chocolate in the book, but that’s not always a bad thing when it comes to sweet treats.
So there they are: my top three Top Chef wedding cakes. Probably not the list you were expecting, and definitely not a list that focuses on the “prettiest” cakes. But what makes for good eating doesn’t always make for good TV.