Ten of America's elite professional bakers gather to begin the first in a series of baking challenges designed to test their limits. Host Carla Hall announces the Southern dessert theme and the first master challenge from Kentucky: baking a May Day PieCaken using bourbon as the featured flavor, of course. The bakers in the elimination bake-off have to create a unique dessert using all the elements of Florida's Key lime pie. After judging and deliberation with judges Jason Smith and Gesine Prado, Carla announces which baker is heading home.
Host Carla Hall gives the nine bakers their Mid-Atlantic-themed master challenge: making their own upscale version of Maryland's Smith Island cake that incorporates a classic Maryland ingredient, boardwalk popcorn. In the bake-off round, the least successful bakers must make a dessert inspired by the Pennsylvania classic shoofly pie. Carla and judges Gesine Prado and Jason Smith eliminate one baker from the competition.
The competition heads west toward the Rockies as the eight bakers must feature Montana and Idaho's beloved huckleberries in their huckleberry pie-embouche pastry tower for the master challenge. In the bake-off challenge, it's time to get jiggly and honor Utah's state snack -- gelatin -- with a visually stunning creation containing both baked and gelatin components. Host Carla Hall and judges Gesine Prado and Jason Smith evaluate the desserts and give one baker their marching orders.
The seven bakers left in the competition are tasked with putting their own spin on kuchen, the official state dessert of South Dakota. The featured flavor is cookies, and they have to serve their kuchen with a side of ice cream. The competitors in the bake-off challenge must do a switcheroo with Minnesota's scotcheroo bar, making a new dessert using its classic ingredients of chocolate, peanut butter, rice cereal and butterscotch. Host Carla Hall and judges Gesine Prado and Jason Smith decide which baker to send home.
The competition's six remaining bakers must turn Michigan's bumpy cake into a bumpy entremets using the featured flavor of cherries in the master challenge. In the bake-off, the competitors have to make mini versions of Missouri's beloved gooey butter cake, and then host Carla Hall and judges Gesine Prado and Jason Smith eliminate one baker from the competition.
Host Carla Hall challenges the five remaining bakers to reinvent the Boston cream pie using that great Massachusetts ingredient, coffee syrup. In the bake-off, the competitors learn that Maine was the first state ever to make whoopie pies, and they're tasked with creating beautiful plated desserts based on this favorite treat. Carla and the judges, Gesine Prado and Jason Smith, decide which baker's time in the competition has come to an end.
With one last chance to claim a spot in the finale, the remaining bakers must get creative with Nevada's famous Basque cake using Southwest chile peppers as the featured flavor. In the most-critical bake-off of the competition, the bakers must take flan and biscochitos, the official state cookie of New Mexico, and turn them into one highly original and decadent dessert. Host Carla Hall and judges Gesine Prado and Jason Smith dash one more baker's dreams by sending them home before the finale.
The pressure peaks in the Best Baker in America finale as host Carla Hall challenges the bakers to turn California's famous chiffon cake into the hottest cake sensation -- a tsunami cake -- featuring lemons and avocados, ingredients commonly associated with the Golden State. In the final bake-off, the competitors are baking to win as they each build a 2-foot-tall Hawaiian-themed dessert showpiece featuring lilikoi (passionfruit), haupia (coconut custard), malasada (Hawaiian doughnuts) and intricate chocolate work. Finally, Carla and judges Gesine Prado and Jason Smith decide which baker has earned the title of Best Baker in America!