Holiday Baking Championship's New Challenge Asked Bakers To Transform A Store-Bought Cake

If you think it's hard scraping yourself off of the couch to make a passable dinner every night, just imagine how much harder it would be if you were doing it in front of a television camera, being judged on the outcome. Food competition shows, in general, combine all of that with the added pressure of food pros risking their reputations when they compete — after all, who wants to buy a cookie from a baker who got bad reviews from celebrity chefs on TV?

There are a lot of challenges to face on cooking competition shows. Baking shows, which require creativity as well as precision, can be even more difficult. One of the most difficult aspects of these shows is not knowing exactly what ingredients you'll be working with, and as competitors recently found out on "Holiday Baking Championship," sometimes the secret ingredients can be totally unexpected. On a recent episode, bakers were given something shocking to work with: a pre-baked, pre-decorated, store-bought cake. For contestants who are used to making every element of a cake, from the sponge to the filling to the frosting, the surprise challenge caused quite a stir.

The re-heat challenge had tasty results

In Season 9, Episode 7 of "Holiday Baking Championship," contestants were faced with a new challenge: The re-heat round, where they were tasked with transforming a grocery store cake into one that was worthy of being a Christmas dessert table centerpiece (via Discovery+). Sound like a piece of cake? Not quite. Often, contestants and judges on cooking competition shows will remark that it's harder to transform a finished meal into something new, because many of the decisions about the ingredients have already been made. Still, the contestants on "Holiday Baking Championship" forged on, and came up with some inspiring ideas in the process.

One contestant transformed a vanilla cake by giving the cake layers a soak in an orange, fig, and cherry mixture, and then added a cookie butter crunch layer before re-assembling and re-frosting the outside of the cake. A contestant with a confetti cake jazzed their dessert up with a spiced raspberry and orange liqueur filling, a fresh coating of American buttercream, and chocolate Christmas tree decorations. One person tasked with a chocolate cake glow-up soaked the cake layers in orange juice, added an orange marmalade filling, and finished with orange buttercream. 

The episode was a good reminder that you don't have to turn up your nose at store-bought sweets, and that in less than an hour, maybe you could transform a store-bought cake into something special, too.