The seventh episode of this season’s “Next Great Baker” was a great one for San Jose local Jen Kwapinski, as host Buddy Valastro awarded her a trip to Italy for being the Most Valuable Baker in the Elimination Challenge. The competition this week had two teams building cakes to fit an Italian cooking theme, and Kwapinski led teammates Chris Luna (of Roseville, CA) and Gretel-Ann Fischer (of Colchester, VT) to victory with a cake that featured sculpted chesses, a cake that resembled a pot of spaghetti, and a fondant checkerboard tablecloth, among other decorations. After winning, Kwapinski said that “it's so rewarding to have Buddy smile and look at me and tell me I'm the MVP. It's just this amazing feeling."
Kwapinski would have been eliminated after this cake, however, if Fischer had her way. Earlier in “Cakes Al Dente,” Fischer was awarded “temporary immunity” after demonstrating her superior piping skills, and had planned for her team’s cake to look sloppy and lose the competition. Though Luna found Fischer’s work a bit sloppy throughout the process, Kwapinski was not shown to suspect anything, even noting that "knowing that Gretel-Ann is a friend and I know her well, being that she has the immunity, I'm not worried. I think that she's gonna put out her best effort and she's gonna do a good cake with us." Luckily, though the other team’s cake was seen as more detailed, it failed to meet the height requirement of three feet and was demoted to the losing product.
The piping competition, as the Baker’s Challenge of the episode, initially had Kwapinski excited, as "this is something that I specialize in. I take a lot of pride in being able to do piping work." However, the twist to the assignment was that the bakers were forced to pipe in a freezer that was -10 degrees Fahrenheit. The temperature affected many of the competitors, with Kwapinski noting that, “two minutes into the challenge, my forearm completely locks up,” and that her fingers were completely numb by the end of the fifteen minute contest. Despite her best efforts, Fischer won for her swags, drop lines, and swirls.
Watch “Cake Boss: Next Great Baker” Mondays at 9pm ET/PT on TLC.