Nine of America's elite professional bakers gather to begin the first in a series of 14 challenges designed to test the limits of their baking mastery. Host, Chef Scott Conant, tasks the bakers with baking perfect Petit Fours in the first Skills Challenge. In the Master Challenge, the bakers must create a mind-bending cake for fifty people using vanilla as the featured flavor. After deliberating with judges Marcela Valladolid, Jason Smith and guest judge Gemma Stafford, one baker is eliminated.
The remaining eight bakers are charged with making perfect wedding-themed mini mousse cakes in the Skills Challenge. In the Master Challenge, the bakers must create a croquembouche-inspired wedding tower that includes two types of pastry and uses champagne as the featured flavor. Pastry chef and dessert wizard Zac Young joins Marcela Valladolid and Jason Smith to judge the final round and send one baker packing.
The seven remaining bakers begin by making perfect strawberry shortcake in the Skills Challenge. In the Master Challenge, the bakers must create a "fire and ice" dessert that features one frozen element, one bruleed element and has mint as the featured flavor. Guest judge, acclaimed pastry chef Sherry Yard, joins Marcela Valladolid and Jason Smith to judge the final challenge and decide which baker is given his or her marching orders.
The six bakers left in the competition face a Skills Challenge to create flawless mini Boston cream pies. For the Master Challenge, they're asked to bake their version of the "ultimate" New York cheesecake with apple as the featured flavor. Cake genius and social media star, Joshua John Russell, joins Marcela Valladolid and Jason Smith as a guest judge for the Master Challenge, and one baker is sent home.
The five remaining bakers must make mini meringue pies in the Skills Challenge. In the Master Challenge, they're challenged to feature raspberry flavor in a classical French layered meringue cake called a marjolaine. Pastry chef Shinmin Li serves as a guest judge, joining Marcela Valladolid and Jason Smith to eliminate one baker from the competition.
The four remaining bakers have one more chance to get into the Best Baker in America finale. Their Skills Challenge is to make historic Mont Blanc cakes, which are tarts topped with a tower of chestnut paste. In the Master Challenge, the bakers have to make a striking cake called a Charlotte Royale -- also known as "brain cake" -- with peanut butter as the featured flavor. Acclaimed pastry chef Florian Bellanger joins Marcela Valladolid and Jason Smith on the judge's panel as one baker's dreams are dashed and the remaining competitors head into the finale.
In what is becoming a Best Baker in America tradition, the finale is all about the world's most beloved ingredient -- chocolate. In the Skills Challenge, the three remaining bakers must create a perfect version of the glazed Austrian chocolate cake called sachertorte. The final Master Challenge is to create the ultimate chocolate cake for 100 people that features caramel flavor and elaborate chocolate decorations, three types of chocolate and three flavors of chocolate bonbons. Social media baking sensation Yolanda Gampp is the guest judge joining Marcela Valladolid and Jason Smith to decide which baker is named the Best Baker in America.