RED WING - When all the cookies and cakes were baked, and all the judging and tasting were done, Robyn Hanisch and her teammate Leigh Henderson were the winners in the Big Time Bake competition which aired Monday, June 15 on the Food Network.
Henderson lives in California and was selected by the Food Network to be on the Season 1, Episode 2 edition of "Big Time Bake." Henderson, who has worked with the Food Network before, chose Hanisch as her assistant and the pair traveled to New Jersey for filming.
While the two hadn’t met in person until the night before the competition, they had talked by video chatting and felt they could work well together.
Four teams were assembled for the episode, and each team had six hours to create cookies, cupcakes, and a large cake based on the theme “Fantasy.”
“We were given a specific ingredient list,” Hanisch said. “We both added ideas into what we would make. It was a team effort, but the flavors and recipes were Leigh’s.”
Three judges moved from team to team, asking questions about what they were baking and how they were approaching the theme and how they would manage the time to make sure that each of the products was ready at the right time.
At the end of two hours, the judges examined and tasted each team’s cookies, and one team was eliminated from the competition. At the end of four hours, the same process happened with the cupcakes, and another team was sent home.
Henderson and Hanisch had decided to make habanero dragon cookies and coffee cupcakes with swords in them, a sword-in-the-stone symbol for the fantasy theme. Both were good enough to get them through to the final round where they would be judged on the sculpted dragon cake they were making.
“I had certain things to work on, and she focused on the dragon cake which took almost all of the six hours,” Hanisch said. “Time management was the key to it all.”
When the judges looked over the work Henderson and Hanisch did, they were impressed with the way the dragon cookies, the cupcakes with swords, and the dragon cake with a sword in the dragon worked together to tell the fantasy story. Judges liked the use of colors, the wafer paper for the dragon’s wings, and the lifelike teeth the pair had created.
When the judges gave their final comments, Henderson and Hanisch were declared the winners.
“It was very emotional at the end,” Hanisch said. “It could have gone either way. We felt throughout the process that we had a better end result. We had a more difficult plan that we put in place, and we had more unity.”
Hanisch has watched many shows on the Food Network and said she often gets ideas for recipes and learns about people to follow in the baking world. That didn’t prepare her for seeing herself on TV last Monday night.
“It was weird,” she said. “You never know what they are going to take from the show and what they are going to edit out. It was very interesting to see yourself on TV and to know that everybody else can see you on TV. For us to have no association until the night before the competition and to have never worked together, to pull that off was a pretty awesome feat.”