Timonium’s Jason Hisley is a king of the Christmas cakes.
He and his team, Bah Hum Bakers, were declared the winners of The Food Network’s “Holiday Wars” dessert competition in last night’s series finale. Their mammoth, colorfully decorated cake, depicting a hillside sledding fracas pitting elves against reindeer, with poor Santa caught in the middle, earned the show’s $25,000 grand prize.
Hisley’s team started the final competition at a disadvantage, having lost the evening’s kickoff “Snowball Fight," in which the two teams that had reached the finals were tasked with creating an “Abominable Snowman Makeover” cake, one that would give the mythical snow beast a more wholesome holiday image. Their creation, which re-imagined the Abominable as a festively decorated Christmas tree, impressed the judges. But their opponent, team Ginger Snappers, impressed them even more by turning the Snowman into a Snow-woman and gussying her up in bright red feathers.
Did we mention that everything on both cakes was edible? If nothing else, both teams proved that awesomely imaginative desserts can be created given enough sugar, cake, chocolate, wafer paper, isomalt and other confections.
Winning the Snowball Fight gave Ginger Snappers an extra assistant to help them in the final round, during which each team had five hours to create a Christmas scene pitting elves against reindeer. But as impressive as their creation was, a dorm room in which pranking elves and reindeer were having-at one another, with poor Santa caught in the middle, Bah Hum Bakers’ snow-covered hill scene, with multiple reindeer and elves and Santa partially buried in the snow, won the evening.
Hisley and his teammates, Robert Nieto, from California, Bethany Davis, from Texas, and Kim Simons, from New York, used 80 sheet cakes for their snow scene. And they were only slowed down briefly when the head rollled off one of their characters and fell to the floor early in the competition. From such calm under pressure are champions made.
Hisley, of Timonium-based Cake by Jason, is the former owner and executive chef of Baltimore’s La Cakerie. He’s also been a mainstay of Food Network competitions, estimating he’s been on more than a dozen Food Network shows.