A cake decorator from Surprise is among the dozen bakers from across the country competing on Food Network’s Holiday Baking Championships.
Aaron Davis says as soon as he learned to use the TV remote, he was watching Food Network. Now he’s vying for bragging rights and $25,000 on the holiday baking competition’s ninth season.
“Having the opportunity to be on the Food Network to participate like this is something I’ve wanted to do my entire life,” he says.
Davis works at Abbie Cakes Sweet Kitchen, a custom cake and bake shop that has served confections and coffee since opening its doors on North Dysart Road in Litchfield Park in 2019.
After six years in the industry, Davis was ready for the challenge. He drew on his experience, which has included some competitive cooking. As a high school student, Davis trained for the Careers through the Culinary Arts Program cooking competition, which tests students’ abilities in the kitchen for the opportunity to receive a postsecondary scholarship. Davis received a full-ride that he was to use at the Culinary Institute of America.
“A combination of those things helped me a lot through this competition – having to stay level-headed, thinking on my feet, adapting as needed – but it was a really fun experience,” he says.
Davis has been baked since he was a toddler. He grew up in the kitchen with his grandmother, who previously owned a bakery in California and sparked his affinity for pies and bread.
“Being in the kitchen is something I’ve always known that I wanted to do,” he says.
His tips for home bakers who are firing up their ovens this holiday season? Invest in a small kitchen scale. Davis says not only will it increase the accuracy and consistency in your baking but measuring everything into one bowl will also cut down on your time and dishes.
He also says to head to the fridge and pull out your butter – he leaves a pound or two on his counter at all times – and eggs. Having those ingredients at room temperature when you start baking helps ensure they will emulsify properly when you mix them together.
For Davis, the heat is on right now as he and the Abbie Cakes crew gear up for the holiday season. You can try some of the treats Davis made on Holiday Baking Championships there. He bakes seasonal scones for the shop and this month is baking hot chocolate scones with marshmallows. Stollen-inspired scones with almonds, rum-soaked fruit, candied citrus zest, and marzipan, are also available, and draw on a challenge where he puts his own twist on a Chilean fruitcake.
Davis “will most definitely be doing some baking,” for his family when they celebrate the holidays, including pies, cinnamon rolls, and scones including a cranberry, orange, and pistachio batch his mom specifically requested.
Highlighting his family and heritage through his creations and decorations is something that the show puts in focus for Davis, he says, and something he hopes to continue to do through his social media.
“I think of food as an extension of yourself, your story, and your life, so being able to bring more of that to the table has been really cool,” he says.
Spoilers ahead: As of episode 6, which aired on December 5, Davis has punched his ticket to the semifinals as one of the six remaining bakers.
He said connecting with the group was the best part of the experience, and he stayed in touch with them over calls and texts, swapping recipes and visiting each other.
“We have a really good group of people, where we genuinely care about each other and the success of each other,” he said, adding that the diversity of bakers, from experience to personal background shows viewers the many ways people can approach each other. challenge. “It gives a really unique perspective to the viewers.”
Holiday Baking Championships: Airs Mondays, 6 pm on the Food Network or streaming on foodnetwork.com and Discovery+