Jen Kwapinski, a professional baker from San Jose, made it to the final round of Next Great Baker, on TLC. with competitors Gretel Ann Fischer (Colchester, VT) and Ashley Holt (Louisville, KY). The finalists will be competing in Las Vegas for the season finale in a two-part challenge special. The challenge, judging from the trailer, appears to kick off with a similar challenge as last season’s finale – bake and sell as many Carlo’s Bakery specialties to make the highest profit along with creating the best Las Vegas themed cake.

Jen is the owner of Willow Glen cake store, Jen’s Cakes. She specializes in wedding cakes and has been recognized for her clean, intricate piping skills.

The challenge before heading to the finale was to create a tribute cake for moms. Teamed with Paul and their own moms for two hours, she delivered a strong, clean cake with lavender tones, covered with kid’s drawings, alphabet fridge magnets, a baby and a plaque: “I hope you have kids like you.” The two teams ended up tying, which left all competitors on the line to go home in the box truck (to add insult to injury the truck is specially labeled, “Not The Next Great Baker”). The judges recognized Jen for her perseverance and her decorating skills, so she got named as one of the top two finalists with Ashley, leaving Gretel-Ann as the underdog and Paul sent home.

Jen’s ability to hold her ground and stay focused combined with her skill set in cake decorating makes her a worthy finalist above all the other contestants—usually hot tempered or egotistic. She always serves as the voice of reason and composure for her team whenever fights or team manipulations broke out, especially seen when Paul and Ashley fought incessantly during the Kelly Ripa birthday elimination challenge. She’s also been nominated MVB (Most Valuable Baker) twice by her teammates for her mediation leadership and her decorations. 

The Next Great Baker airs at 6pm on Feb. 11, on TLC.