5 Holiday Baking Shows You Don't Want To Miss


I'll admit that I'm somewhat addicted to baking shows. And this is my favorite time of year for gorging on these delightful little morsels of holiday entertainment. Is it the anticipation of seeing the final result of someone's creativity? The tension I feel when the cupcakes are a disaster and the clock is down to 15 minutes? Or the ideas I get from watching?

All three, for sure. If you're like me and can't get enough cake-making fun, check out my top 5 baking show picks for this holiday season:

1. Holiday Baking Championship

Food Network

Mondays 9pm EST

Who doesn't love a baking competition? This one follows the standard formula, where contestants are up against a time limit, a theme, (often) quirky ingredients and general guidelines for execution. Ace of Cakes star Duff Goldman is one of the judges, and the contestants range from amateur home bakers to semi-pro bakery owners. They all need some serious artistic skills to win the $50,000 prize. Whether it's Grandma's Turkey Day Favorites, Holiday Party Delights or Live from the North Pole, if you enjoy watching the creative process in action, you'll appreciate this show. (Just don't walk away during breaks or you'll miss the great holiday recipe ideas).

2. Cupcake Wars

Food Network

Thursdays 10am EST

Four contestants (usually owners of bakeries) vie for a $10,000 prize and the chance to have their cupcakes and displays featured at a high-profile event. I love baking cupcakes, so this is fun for me. The bakers have to come up with three unique cupcakes using ingredients based on the theme of the event (think Elvis party = peanut butter and banana). Their efforts are judged on taste and presentation. The two finalists must design and build a display to hold 1000 cupcakes, and the winner goes on to feed guests at movie premieres, holiday festivals and Hollywood parties. The best part? There's sure to be at least one cupcake disaster, and it always makes me feel better about mine,

3. Cake Boss

TLC

Saturdays 8pm EST

This one has been around for a while, but for me, it never gets old. No show beats Cake Boss for the wow factor, and every episode is loaded with design inspiration. Yes, the sheer talent represented by this team of artists, sculptors and professional pastry chefs can be overwhelming to the humble home baker or novice, but it's fun to watch nonetheless. And, much of it is completely doable if you pay attention to the tips and techniques used to make these custom cakes. My favorite episode? A cake chandelier hung upside down from the ceiling. Getting it down was a catastrophe, but the cake was amazing.

4. The Pioneer Woman

Food Network

Saturdays 10am EST

Ree Drummond has built an empire based on simple homespun values (she is the Martha Stewart of country living). But make no mistake--just like her more elegant counterpart she is a master marketer of all things home. Living on a ranch "in the middle of nowhere", her show takes us into her world, and it's a wonderful place where the kids, ranch hands and cowboys get Good Morning Muffins, Apple Pecan and Bleu Cheese Salad and Ice Cream Freezer Pops to keep them going while they burn down barns, fix fences and feed the cattle. Can't get enough.

5. Giada at Home

Cooking Channel

Food Network

Fridays 10am EST

Yes, she is the granddaughter of famed producer Dino De Laurentiis. What I like about her and her show is the fact that she chooses recipes that are simple to make but sophisticated enough to impress guests. Her recipes are generally not complicated and ingredients are not exotic. And, she is not above using store-bought crust, for you who like short cuts. If you entertain a lot you'll appreciate that angle here (she always ends her episodes with some kind of sit-down tasting with friends and family); however, you don't have to be a big time host or hostess to benefit from her skills.

These holiday baking shows are sure to help you de-stress and enjoy this festive time of year. Do you have a favorite? Share it here, or better yet, with family and friends. Happy baking!

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