The holidays are just around the corner, and we all know what that means: all the treats and baked goods we can possibly handle. Who better to inspire us to bake up delicious cakes, cookies, and treats than a new batch of The Big Bake: Holiday competitors?
When the third season of this series kicks off, host Brad Smith welcomes new teams of professional bakers who hope they have what it takes to nail grand-scale cakes inspired by classic holiday themes. In each episode, three teams face off to create an impressive cake, but with just five hours to do so, the pressure is on. After all, only one team can walk away with the $10,000 grand prize per episode.
Want to see which teams are heading into the kitchen for their shot at sweet victory this holiday season? Read on to get to know this year’s baking teams — including three trios from Canada.
Team Cake Conductors
Lead: Baindu Squire
Hometown: New Orleans, LA
Occupation: Owner and Operator, Lady B’s
Team Members: Daena Cunningham-Hunte and Jessica Tatham
Baindu is a classically trained chef specializing in custom cakes, 3D structures, wedding cakes, and celebratory cakes. Her teammates are Daena, a self-taught baker who loves creating beautiful and flavourful desserts, and Jessica, who specializes in gravity-defying structures and special effects.
Team Tennessee Treats
Lead: Timmy Norman
Hometown: Johnson City, TN
Occupation: Owner and Operator, Cake Buds
Team Members: Angela Bowes and David Norman
Timmy has 13 years of baking experience and specializes in realistic and extraordinary cake architecture. Timmy’s teammates are his dad David, a retired coal miner turned baker highly skilled in structure and mechanics, and Angela, a self-taught baker proficient in icing, stacking, carving and molding.
Team Zest is Best
Lead: Laura Miller
Hometown: Basingstoke, U.K.
Occupation: Owner, Sugar Spice Cakes
Team Members: Sarah Carr and Lynne Davidson
Laura specializes in large-scale 3D sculpted cakes and once made a Venom cake for Tom Hardy’s birthday party. Her teammates are Lynne, who has more than 30 years of experience, and Sarah, an award-winning baker.
Lead: Manal Bashir
Hometown: Vaughan, ON
Occupation: Owner, Manal Bashir Pastry Co.
Team Members: Joash Dy and Justine Del Rosario
Manal studied Culinary Arts at Humber College in Toronto before working for some of the city’s top bakeries. In 2020, she decided to open her own bakery in nearby Vaughan. Manal’s teammates are her husband Joash, who has extensive knowledge of dessert flavours and techniques, and Justine, who brings her excellent piping skills and organization to the team.
Team Supreme Buttercream
Lead: Ana Laura Rodriguez
Hometown: Guadalajara, Mexico
Occupation: Owner, Cupcake Art
Team Members: Lili Cuellar Castelazo and Willie Soto Dominguez
Ana Laura holds a BFA in Graphic Design and Sculpture and has been baking for 15 years. She specializes in creating detailed, hyper-realistic sculpted cakes and loves competing professionally. Ana’s teammates are Lili, one of the best cake designers in Mexico, and Lili’s husband Willie, a professional chef with more than 10 years of cake decorating experience.
Team Iced is Nice
Lead: Mara Hodge
Hometown: Phoenix, AZ / Santa Clarita, CA
Occupation: Owner, Geek Desserts
Team Members: Rebecca Hauger and Molly Sullivan
Mara specializes in custom cakes with ultra-realistic designs. She won her local gingerbread design competition so many times, they stopped running it. Mara’s teammates are Rebecca, an expert at building cakes with structure and architectural features, and Molly, who specializes in repli-cakes with dynamic elements like lights and movement.
Team Buttercream Bosses
Lead: Sherry Clarke
Hometown: East Lyme, CT
Occupation: Owner and Operator, Get Your Bake On
Team Members: Frank Gonzalez Aguilar and Sarah Tafur
Sherry is a self-taught, life-long baker who specializes in sculpting 3D custom cakes. Her biggest bake was a 3’ hanging sloth cake. Sherry’s teammates are Frank, who has a bachelor’s degree in culinary arts and has been caking for more than a decade, and Sarah, an accomplished pastry chef who is highly skilled at fine detail work, including piping and sugarcraft.
Team Cake It Up
Lead: Davonta Greer
Hometown: Atlanta, GA
Occupation: Owner, Cak’d by Tae
Team Members: Brandon Jones and Daquan Huff
Davonta dropped out of college due to financial hardships and started selling $1 cupcakes out of his truck. He now owns his own cake shop and is the go-to baker for celebrity cakes in Atlanta. Davonta’s teammates are his life and business partner Brandon, a fondant expert, and Daquan, whose love for sweets and chemistry inspired his interest in baking.
Team Cake Buds
Lead: Gwen Shen
Hometown: Vancouver, BC
Occupation: Owner, Great Day Bakery
Team Members: Sarah Lau and Winnie Fong
Gwen has 10 years of baking experience and is proud of turning her baking hobby into a successful business. She specializes in fluffy chiffon cakes, clean fondant figures and large bust cakes. Gwen’s teammates are Sarah, a fondant wizard who has recently ventured into sculpted and structured cakes, and Winnie, a part-time cake decorator who is highly skilled at creating cake toppers and cute fondant figurines.
Team Sugar Sleigh
Lead: Ann Alaboud
Hometown: Apple Valley, MN
Occupation: Owner and Head Baker, Sweet Treasures Bakery
Team Members: Brie Lourdes Darling and Julie Jensen
Ann holds an associate degree in Culinary Arts and Baking. She has extensive experience creating cakes with dynamic elements such as music, erupting volcanos and light-up features. Ann’s teammates are Brie, an artist who works well under pressure, and Julie, a self-taught cake artist who has run her own cake shop for 14 years.
Team Buttercream Besties
Lead: Magda Zerbe
Hometown: Rockaway Park, NY
Occupation: Owner, Confectionery Madness
Team Members: Jennifer Moshier and Orlando Leon
Magda is a self-taught cake designer and decorator who has won many local and state-level baking competitions. Magda’s teammates are Jennifer, who uses cake decorating as her primary artistic outlet, and Orlando, known for his unique flavour profiles.
Team Cake Elves
Lead: Amy Goff
Hometown: Huntsville, UT
Occupation: Owner, Frosted Custom Cakes and Sweets
Team Members: Kylie Holt and Catrina Jones
Amy is an award-winning cake artist and pastry chef. Her biggest bake was a 4’ tall Italian fountain with isomalt water streaming from tier to tier. Amy’s teammates are Kylie, who specializes in 3D and gravity-defying cakes, and Catrina, a self-taught baker who loves to compete.
Team Jingle Bakes
Lead: Marie Mallari
Hometown: Winnipeg, MB
Occupation: Owner and Operator, Sugar Blooms and Cakes
Team Members: Geraldine Ong and Erika Rotor
Marie has 10 years of baking experience. Her bakery is best known for its Filipino-flavoured cakes and specialized fondant work. Marie’s teammates are Geraldine, who has strong piping and fondant skills, and Erika, a skilled cake decorator whose talents include replicating pets using fondant.
Team Cake Squad
Lead: Cynthia Knox
Hometown: Baltimore, MD
Occupation: Owner and Operator, Cakes by Cynthia
Team Members: Kenishea Simms and Monique Saunders
Cynthia has been baking her whole life and describes herself as “the speed” of the team. Her teammates are Kenishea, who specializes in sculpting and figures, and Monique, who loves working with chocolate and sugar.
Team Pastry Party
Lead: Vanessa Greeley
Hometown: Warwick, NY
Occupation: Owner, Vanessa’s Cake Designs
Team Members: Silvina Barboza and Carolina Lara
Vanessa graduated from the French Culinary Institute in New York City and her skills include sculpting, modeling and special effects. Her biggest bake was a chocolate Phoenix with smoke, a moving beak and lights for eyes. Vanessa’s teammates are Silvina, an experienced baker whose specialties include armature and isomalt/sugar, and Carolina, a creative problem solver who specializes in flowers and texturizing.
Team Whisked Away
Lead: Maria Nitti
Hometown: Brooklyn, NY
Occupation: Founder and Owner, Isabella’s Creations
Team Members: Mario Nitti and Justina Lebron
Maria is a self-taught baker and skilled cake artist. She has won Best of Brooklyn for wedding cakes four years in a row and counting. Maria’s teammates are Mario, who’s known for his palate and unique flavour combinations, and Justina, an art student whose airbrush skills bring Maria’s designs to the next level.
Team Baking Buds
Lead: Jewel Johnson
Hometown: Jersey City, NJ
Occupation: Owner, Green Jeans Cake
Team Members: Sara Enos and Victoria Andrecchio
Jewel has worked as a pastry chef in many of New York City’s top hotels. Her specialty is large, 3D sculpted cakes. Jewel’s teammates are Sara, a talented cake artist, and Victoria, who is well-versed in dynamic cake elements and loves making custom birthday cakes for sick children in the hospital.
Team Festive Frosters
Lead: Michelle Doyon
Hometown: Austin, TX
Occupation: Owner, Michelle’s Patisserie
Team Members: Natalia Colom and Stacey Benitez
Michelle is an award-winning baker known for her creative flavour combinations and her “secret recipe” buttercream that ices as smoothly as fondant. She has extensive experience creating tall, tiered cakes with light and water features. Michelle’s teammates are Natalia who has been baking since she was young and studied baking and pastry at University, and Stacey, who is proficient in buttercream, isomalt, wafer paper, fondant and chocolate.
Team Cake Connoisseurs
Lead: Melanie Baker
Hometown: Stevenson Ranch, CA.
Occupation: Owner, Bake Me a Cake
Team Members: Monica Soderstedt and Hannah Edwards
Melanie is a skilled baker with extensive experience creating cakes with dynamic elements. She is constantly proving she can do anything when it comes to cake. Melanie’s teammates are Monica, who loves to build large, structured cakes and recreate characters in edible forms, and Hannah, who prides herself on her cakes’ detail and clean lines.
Team Jingle Sprinkles
Lead: Hemu Basumatary
Hometown: Katy, TX
Occupation: Owner, Hemu’s Sweet Sensation
Team Members: Joel Gonzalez and Kim Hall
Hemu has won many national and international cake competitions. She is highly experienced at making dynamic cakes with incredible detail. Hemu’s teammates are Joel, a pastry chef who specializes in chocolate and sugar sculpting, and Kim, a 3D modelling expert who has designed cakes for the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks.
Team Jolly Cakes
Lead: Lilian Halabi
Hometown: Harker Heights, TX
Occupation: Owner, Lily’s Cakes
Team Members: Lan Griffin and Janice Segarra
Lilian is a self-taught baker specializing in sculpting, gum paste and fondant work. Her biggest bake was a 4’ sculpted 3D Donald Duck cake. Lilian’s teammates are Lan who works at Lily’s Cakes in between courses at culinary school, and Janice, an utterly self-taught baker who excels at decorating, stacking and attention to detail.
Watch the The Big Bake: Holiday season premiere Sunday, November 6th at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Food Network Canada. Also Available on the Global TV App and STACKTV with Amazon Prime Video Channels, fuboTV, Rogers Ignite TV and Ignite SmartStream.