There’s nothing quite like sitting in front of the TV and watching others excel – or fail – at making delicious and mind-boggling desserts. Baking contest shows are a staple of the Food Network and streaming services that know what people want to see and eat.
There’s a certain method to these baking shows, and it’s managed to stick with it for a long time. They both have two to three sets of challenges and end with a prize valued in large sums of money, usually ranging in the tens of thousands. But what makes these 10 shows so popular is that they put their own spin on the formula structure that has been used for years in cooking and baking competitions.
The Great British Bake Off
The Great British Bake Off, or better known as The great British pastry fair in the United States, delights with its delicacy and serene brilliance. The show sticks to a similar format each season, ranging from cakes, breads and culture of the week. Judges Paul Hollywood, Prue Leith and earlier Mary Berry can be hard to impress, but hosts such as Mel Giedroyc and Noel Fielding balance it all out with comic relief. Pastry shop does not rely on the fast pace of American competitions, and instead allows its competitors to take their time to put their skills to good use.
Series 5 to 9 of The Great British Bake Off are currently streaming on Netflix.
Who would have thought that sweets could cause such a war? Not when these contestants are vying for $10,000. While cupcake wars‘ over nine seasons, hundreds of contestants fought through elimination challenges that left viewers in awe. The toughest part of the competition is the final round where the two remaining teams bake 1,000 cupcakes that are better than the first two rounds, sticking to the theme they were given. It’s no surprise that the stress and wonderful content has been made entertaining for American viewers.
To watch the judges pit cupcake against cupcake, stream Cupcake Wars on Discovery+.
With a format and fashion similar to cupcake wars, Cake Wars premiered in 2015 but hasn’t lived as long as its successful predecessor. The only difference between the two shows is obviously the dessert being cooked, and the change from three rounds to two rounds. The first round, “Batter Up”, requires a number of ingredients chosen by the contestants to match the theme of the round. If they have avoided elimination, they move on to the second and final round, “Cake Off”. Some of the themes include Captain America, Minecraft and The sound of music.
All five seasons of Cake Wars are currently streaming on Discovery+.
sugar rush may look like any other baking show, but its third season – dubbed Sugar Rush: Extra Sweet — offers an alternative rarely seen in baking contests. If a team wins the cupcake or baking challenge, they have the option of adding 15 minutes to the cupcake challenge or receiving a bonus prize of $1,500. Other highlights include celebrity guest judges such as actors Tyler Posey, Naya Rivera and singer Jordin Sparks.
Sugar Rush is currently streaming on Netflix.
Children’s Baking Championship
There’s a weird fascination with watching kids be better than adults, but viewers just can’t look away. Children’s Baking Championship Season 1 offered plenty of prizes for the young winner, including $10,000, a feature of Food Network Magazine, a remodel of their parents’ kitchen, a recreation of one of their cakes that will be sold by Charm City Cakes, and the title they deserved of course. These kids are masters at what they do, but sometimes it can be hard to watch them fall apart over the smallest detail.
New episodes of The Kids Baking Championship Season 11 air on Discovery+ every Monday.
Halloween Baking Championship
Some of the best competitive shows come during the holiday season, and in this case, Halloween. This seasonal show only airs in October, but uses whatever time it has to suck viewers into its spooky creations. Contestants compete to win $25,000 using superb baking and artistic strategies to create the most elaborate and spooky desserts. If Halloween isn’t enough for the second half of the year, there’s always Holiday Baking Championship to listen in November and December.
To get you in the Halloween mood already, stream Halloween Baking Championship on Discovery+.
Hosted by YouTube baking sensation Rosanna Pansino, Baketopia takes up the concept of Guy Fieri Guy’s Grocery Games because contestants have unlimited options to fill their basket with everything they need to make their dessert. Rosanna brings her knowledge of internet trends to HBO Max with each award-winning spin based on these colorful and exciting fashions. With a bubbly personality like Rosanna, it’s hard to do a typical baking show with stressful mayhem and it’s more like an adventure in Candyland.
Baketopia Season 1 is currently streaming on HBO Max.
Cooking not possible
As host Justin Willman says, “Science has never been so sweet.” Cooking not possible takes the impractical and turns it into something practical. The show creates teams of two with a baker and an engineer who have never met before as they work together to create edible structures and pass the “stress test”, which experiments with the creation based on its performance. The show’s concept is dubbed “bakineering” and its fantastical creations are what make the show so captivating – along with its high-stakes prize of $100,000.
Season 1 of Baking Impossible is currently streaming on Netflix.
America’s Worst Bakers
As a spin-off from the highly successful and humorous America’s worst cooks this show about the worst bakers found in america may not be as well known, but it deserves some credit for what it tries to accomplish. There are currently only two seasons of the show but was never officially canceled by Food Network. Like The worst cooks, it tests the knowledge of candidates who know nothing about pastry and at the end of the competition, the worst become… not the best, but come close.
Seasons 1 and 2 of Worst Bakers in America are currently streaming on Discovery+.
Nailed it! has a premise similar to that of America’s Worst Bakers: Three bakers with a history of failing in the kitchen compete to win $10,000. The catch is that they have to replicate complicated cakes and treats, which is the trend that inspired the show in the first place. It’s a show designed to entertain audiences who like to see others fail, except those who root for underdogs. Nailed it! has ruled Netflix’s cooking/baking side with six consecutive seasons and multiple iterations from other countries, and it doesn’t plan to stop soon with proof of two Emmy nominations in 2021.
To watch the hilarious mess, stream Nailed It! on Netflix.
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