Nine elite professional bakers gather to begin the first in a series of 14 challenges designed to test the limits of their baking mastery; in the master challenge, the bakers must create a mind-bending cake using vanilla as the featured flavor.
The competition begins with nine of America's top professional bakers. Host Scott Conant announces a royal baking theme and challenges the competitors to create perfect mini princess cakes. In the Master Challenge, the bakers have to create spectacular royal baby celebration cakes for 100 people using elderflower and lemon as the featured flavors. Judges Marcela Valladolid, Jason Smith and Zac Young deliberate, and one baker is eliminated.
The theme is surprises, and the eight competitors are tasked with showing their mastery of molten lava cakes. In the Master Challenge, the bakers must create smashable desserts using meringue, sugar or chocolate and coconut as the featured flavor. Acclaimed pastry chef Sherry Yard joins judges Marcela Valladolid and Jason Smith to decide which baker goes home.
The seven remaining bakers start out by making perfect floating island desserts. In the Master Challenge, host Scott Conant asks them to create a flaming bombe Alaska with mango as the featured flavor. Chocolatier Valerie Gordon joins judges Jason Smith and Marcela Valladolid to deliberate and give one baker their marching orders.
Host Scott Conant challenges the six bakers left in the competition to recreate a beloved French classic, the eclair. For the Master Challenge, the competitors have to reimagine a classic French entremet cake using almond as the featured flavor. French pastry chef Florian Bellanger joins judges Jason Smith and Marcela Valladolid to decide which baker is sent home.
The five remaining bakers start by making Toy Story-themed mini desserts perfect for a movie premiere party. For the Master Challenge, host Scott Conant challenges the competitors to each choose a character from Toy Story 4 to replicate in cake, and they have to include a flavor that speaks to the spirit of their character. Pastry chef Shinmin Li joins judges Jason Smith and Marcela Valladolid to eliminate one baker from the competition.
It's the last chance to get into the finale, and host Scott Conant challenges the four remaining bakers to make miniature versions of two pastry classics. In the Master Challenge, they each create a tall dessert of their choosing with at least 12 solid layers and sesame as the featured flavor. Pastry chef Nancy Silverton joins judges Jason Smith and Marcela Valladolid to decide which three bakers move on to the finale.
The pressure mounts in the chocolate-themed finale as host Scott Conant challenges the three remaining bakers to create grown-up versions of a brownie sundae. Then the Master Challenge is to make a Happy Birthday USA chocolate fireworks cake to celebrate July 4th! The elaborately decorated cake for 100 people must feature fireworks-themed chocolate and sugar decorations, three types of chocolate and two types of macarons with salty snacks as the featured ingredient. Bakery owner Elizabeth Chambers joins judges Jason Smith and Marcela Valladolid to choose the winner of the title Best Baker in America.