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Previous Episodes
January 4
January 11

Four home chefs are looking for the sweet taste of victory as they compete for a coveted spot on TGI Friday's menu.

Recaps by Chico Alexander, GSNN

Host: Guy Fieri
Judges: Katherine Alford, Linda Fears, Michael Psilakis
Creators/EP: Jim Berger, Art Edwards, Joseph Levy
Packager: High Noon Entertainment for Food Network
Origin: Food Network Studios, New York City
Airs: Sundays at 9p ET on Food Network

In High-Definition Where AvailableStreaming Online

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January 18

We've had Rick Massa's comfort food and Harold Cohen's burgers, but tonight, we guarantee you're going to like this episode like a fat kid loves cake. Because... that's all we have is cake.

It's going to be cake.

Tonight's chefs...

JAMIE NONDORF, a dentist from Mesa, AZ. She thinks that it's okay to eat a lot of sweets as long as you brush afterwards. That's a twist, a dentist with a sweet tooth.

Jamie's signature dish: Key Lime Coconut Cupcakes with White Chocolate Frosting.

JULIE HESSION, a food blogger from Las Vegas. She started "Peanut Butter and Julie" as a creative outlet for her food desires. That's what got her comfortable in the kitchen.

Julie's signature dish: Sweet Potato Layer Cake with Spiced Pecan Buttercream Frosting.

MELINDA WINNER, a woman who cooks for Hurricane Katrina construction workers from Gulfport, MS. Cooking is a labor of love for her, as is helping people. She felt compelled to contribute tot he effort when Katrina hit. "To give back is the most incredible feeling you ever felt."

Melinda's signature dish: Ruby Red Grapefruit Bundt Cake.

DEBORAH BIGGS, a veteran food competitor from Omaha, NE. She watched every episode from last season.

Deborah's signature dish: Triple Hazelnut Cake with Chocolate Buttercream.

Four ladies have four hours to make the ultimate cake, which will be submitted to the judges for tasting and judgment. They'll judge on a 100-point scale...

- 50 on taste
- 25 on creativity
- 20 on appearance
- 5 on ease

The highest score will set the benchmark in the Speed Round, with the highest overall winning his or her chef $25,000 and a spot on the menu at TGI Friday's.

As a reminder, recipes for all of tonight's creations will be available on in case you want to whip it up yourself.

As you know, a baker's dozen is 13, but Jamie's only baking 11 cupcakes, a sign that she didn't aerate her batter enough. Meanwhile, Melinda's getting antsy about her oven fluctuating temperatures. It eventually averages out to the suggested cooking temp of 350, but with $25,000 it doesn't pay to take chances, so Food Network brought the manufacturing rep out for her. Add that to the fact that she's taking it out really early AND glazing really early. And Deborah... is dragging.

And that's time. Let's judge.

Jamie's Key Lime Coconut Cupcakes: Linda calls it a grown-up cupcake. Katherine is jarred by coconut first. Chef Psilakis wanted something more of an appearance.

Julie's Sweet Potato Layer Cake: Katherine thinks it was underbaked. Chef Psilakis thought the texture was "off-putting". Linda likes the flavor.

Melinda's Ruby Red Grapefruit Cake: Katherine likes the nuts and the grapefruit flavor. Chef Psilakis thinks that it's too wet (Melinda contends that it's the Southern way).

Deborah's Triple Hazelnut Cake: First impressions... it's TALL... Katherine wants more chocolate out of her frosting. Chef Psilakis wanted more of a dark chocolate to go well with the hazelnut.

The results of the scoring...

Jamie 48 20 17 5 90
Julie 45 22 17 4 88
Melinda 40 22 19 4 85
Deborah 47 22 20 4 93

That gives Deborah the advantage going into round 2, the Speed Round. It's the same battle, except now you're working on a clock of 45 minutes. Because of the abbreviated time, box mixes are allowed. Score to beat is 93.

And the recipes up for judgment this time...

Jamie: Lemony Sunshine Cupcakes
Julie: Double Chocolate Malt Shop Cupcakes with Cherry Vanilla Buttercream
Melinda: Flaming Wild Berry Mini-Bundts with a Shot of Peach Brandy
Deborah: Chocolate, Peanut Butter & Banana Cupcakes

Time.... starts .... wait for it... Wait for it... NOW.

Jamie wanted to make a cupcake that didn't need frosting. To that end, she's adding a dollop of lemon curd. Deborah again goes with classic flavor combination. Melinda's secret weapon... oatmeal. And her oven is still giving her the willies. The major issue with all kitchen... cooling the cakes in time to frost them. And Melinda just might've screwed herself out of $25,000, because when she made the batter, she forgot to put baking powder and baking soda. You woudl think that would be important. She's a winner alright.

So who's going to take the cake? Let's go to the panel.

Jamie's Lemony Sunshine Cupcakes: raves from Linda "Tears for" Fears and Chef Psilakis, even as it's served warm with no frosting on it.

Julie's Double Chocolate Malt Shop Cupcakes: Chef Psilakis thought the enttire dish was wonderful, but it was a little too sweet. Katherine is doing the I-like-happy dance.

Melinda's Flaming Wild-Berry Mini-Bundts: Melinda thinks she can win over with charm... Nothing doing. She gets all sort of flack for lack of leavening.

Deborah's Chocolate, Peanut Butter & Banana Cupcakes: the frosting is killer. Linda and Katherine think that the icing is dynamite, but the cake needs more frosting. Chef Psilakis thinks that the peanut flavor is intense and overwhelming.

So... Who wins this?

Jamie 90 94
Julie 88 95
Melinda 85 80
Deborah 93 90

As a reminder, the 80 points Melinda scored... Lowest in the season.

It's a close one, but Julie Hession's Double Chocolate Malt Shop Cupcakes will be worth about $5.95 for you and me... but $25,000 for her! They'll be heading to the test kitchens of TGI Fridays for refining and final prep for the menu.

Next week, four new cooks and eight new amazing recipes. Don't watch hungry.