‘Counting On’ Season 9 Episode 4 Recap: A Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Bake-Off

Us whenever there’s an opportunity to make fun of the Duggars…

On this week’s episode of Counting On, the Duggar kids remind us once again why they should stay far, far away from kitchens, while Baby Felicity embarks on her very first meet and greet appearance, proving that she is already the most-likable of all the Duggar clan.

We kick this Fundie Fun Fest off at Jessa and Ben’s house, where Jessa is putting last week’s math lesson by Ben to use for a Duggar baking competition to “win” the opportunity to bake the groom’s cake for John David and Abbie’s wedding. (I mean…if this is the prize…does anyone actually win? We all know it’s gonna be poor Jana slaving over the oven making this damn cake the night before the wedding anyway!)

Abbie says she’s counting down the days until she’s becomes the 169th Duggar on this planet. This poor girl had to wait a whole month after getting engaged before getting hitched. The horror!

Before we can jump into this flour-covered frightfest, the producers have to, of course, ask a few of the former Duggar Family grooms about their groom wedding cake. (Unless someone’s groom cake was a replica of Jim Bob‘s big ol’ head, I’m just not interested. Can we move on?) 

Jeremy quickly learns that he was screwed out of getting his very own soccer ball cake, while Josiah talks about his own boring groom’s cupcakes. As for Ben, he tells producers that his groom’s cake was ice-cream. (Perhaps he still hadn’t worked his way up to eating solid foods at the time of he and Jessa’s wedding.?) So….basically none of the grooms even had a groom’s cake…so why the hell are we talking about this still!?

“At least Jessa let me eat it with a big-boy spoon…”

As for John, not only is he requesting that his siblings and in-laws audition for the chance to bake his groom’s cake, he’s also requesting that it be gluten free, sugar free and aviation-themed because in case you haven’t heard, JOHN IS A PILOT! John explains that the dietary requests are due to Abbie’s gluten-free, sugar-free diet. 

Oh….combine that with her monotuned voice and general dead-behind-the-eyes look and she seems like a party.

“It ain’t even worth lickin’ a plate that don’t have any gluten or sugar in it!”

Jessa decides that she and [Jana-in-training] Johannah will bake a banana-flavored cake for their entry based on a recipe that she fortunately got off of the Interwebs. Jessa admits that she’s never actually baked a cake before and is immediately shamed by the producers for never having done so.

The producers then decide to ask the group who the best cook in the family is and to no one’s surprise, they give the title to Jana. (Somewhere in Arkansas, Jill was preparing some disgusting-looking casserole as tears rolled down her cheek upon hearing that.)

All of the Dugs say that Jana is the best cook….all except Ben. Out of fear, he says Jessa’s name.

The producers— always eager to mock the Dugs whenever possible– treat us to a flashback of Jessa baking a literal owner’s manual in her oven, which we assume she ultimately threw some cheese on top of and served to Ben as a flatbread pizza. 

“I picked you! Please don’t hurt me!”

The Duggar kids are then asked to name the worst cook in the family and almost everyone takes the easy way out by naming youngest Dug Josie. (Evidently this family has completely forgotten that Jill and her treasure chest of diarrhea-inducing recipes exist?)

The only one who doesn’t throw the youngest Duggar kid under the bus is Joy, who, due to her exceptionally high self esteem that her husband Austin has undoubtedly contributed to, nominates herself for the title. 

“I can’t cook but I can sure as heck carry a canoe while pregnant, thanks to Austin!” 

Back in the Seewald kitchen, Jessa realizes one of her ingredients has expired and again, the producer (who we are growing to appreciate more by the minute) reminds Jessa of her culinary shortcomings. 

“So you didn’t have a mixer, a sifter, a scale and your baking powder is two and a half years past its date,” he says off camera. 

“Woah, this stuff expired 4 Duggar kids ago!”

Despite the producer’s shade, Jessa says she isn’t sweating the competition because she has ingredients and cake pans and that’s pretty much the maximum amount of effort she’s willing to put into this “experience,” as she calls it. 

(Hopefully the producers are standing by with a tourniquet for when Ben inevitably nearly hacks a limb of via hand mixer.)

Over at Josiah and Lauren’s house, Lauren is babysitting/baking with her elementary-aged in-laws Jordyn and Josie. The team has decided to go with an airplane cake made of cupcakes (because John is a PILOT). It looks suitable for any child under the age of 10. John David will love it.

Lauren says now that she has a bun in her oven, putting a cake in the actual oven may be less than enjoyable as her sense of smell is now really strong. This was a clear missed opportunity to incorporate those airplane sickness bags that John was hoping for. 

Next we head to Joe and Kendra’s house where Kendra and Jenni have decided to whip up a pumpkin spice cake, complete with paper airplanes.  While Kendra and Co. contemplate ways to incorporate office supplies into their cake, over at the Duggar Compound, Jana has tasked herself with baking what appears to be a complicated cake with a fondant airplane, all while being “assisted” by several of the background random kids.

Jana decides to let the boys handle that fondant molding, not because she thinks they’ll be good at it, but more so to keep their germy little hands far away from the actual baking process.

“Can we get this over with? I have laundry to do.”

Back in Lauren’s kitchen, the team hits a speed bump when Lauren realizes that the eggs she bought are stuck in the carton. Luckily, because Duggar kids and spouses are pros at squeezing things into and out of tight spaces (see what we did there?) Lauren MacGyvers her way to a solution that she admits may or may not be sanitary. Bon appétit, kids! 

Kendra and Jenni run into some issues as well due to the gluten and sugar modifications that were requested and they end up starting over. Across the board, the teams aren’t looking real strong at this point… between lumpy batter, watery batter and straight up lack of batter, it’s starting to look like Ben’s ice-cream delight might have been the way to go.

That or ya know… a cake from an actual bakery.  Gasp.

This looks about as promising as Ben’s teaching career.

“It’s pretty nasty. It looks like something that’s been swallowed and made a reappearance,” Jessa comments on the batter. 

And because Jessa hasn’t made enough of a mockery of the art of baking, she decides to put her lumpy mess of a concoction into a blender in the hopes that it will no longer have the consistency of potato salad.

Things at Kendra’s aren’t panning out either, as batter attempt number two ends up resembling something close to oatmeal, landing that batch right in the trash. Kendra and Jenni eventually make it work on their third attempt, which comes out looking nothing like anything Jill would ever serve to her family, which is a very good sign. 

What in Duggar hell is happening here?

Once the teams move on to the baking portion of this absolutely no fun at all challenge, Jessa is the first to make a mistake when she fails to set the timer on the oven, though in her defense, she only uses the thing when she has to put The Spurge, Henry or Ben in timeout. 

Next we head to Texas for a much needed baking break to check in with Jinger and Jeremy. The new parents are in San Antonio visiting their midwife Alisa to show off the literal fruit of Jinger’s labor, Felicity. Because the producers give not one single F anymore about the quality of content they are churning out, the decide to ask Jinger and Jeremy about Felicity’s “blowouts.”

Jesus God Jim Bob.

We’re then subjected to some “family cam” footage of a feces-covered Felicity, which she’ll certainly appreciate when she’s older. 

Well, at least the producers stayed on theme throughout this episode.

Back in baking hell, we learn from Jessa that John and Abbie aren’t even sure they want a groom’s cake, which means these crazy people have been doing all of this work in the kitchen possibly for nothing. Based on how everything is looking at this point (and the fact that Jessa doesn’t know the difference between fahrenheit and celsius) we wouldn’t blame John and Abbie for opting to never eat cake again. 

Once the cakes are pulled out of their respective ovens, Kendra and Jenni’s appears to be edible, though upon plopping it out of the pan, it crumbles into pieces, much like our will to live while watching this show.

Despite the crummy situation, Kendra decides it’s nothing that a little (or a hell of a lot of) icing can’t fix. 

Over at Lauren’s, the cupcakes have a cupcake-like shape, however, they quickly fail the taste test according to Josie, who declares that they taste like water. On the bright side, the team might be able to spin this and tell John the cupcakes are supposed to taste like air because they represent the very thing that pilots (AKA John, in case you’ve forgotten) fly through.  

“Raise your hand if your future husband has his pilot’s license!”

Back at the Compound, Michelle has jumped in to “help” Jackson and Tyler because she wants to make it appear that she did some sort of parenting this week. The boys (plus Michelle) do their best to cover paper towel rolls with fondant icing, but per usual, no one can do anything correctly and it looks like Jana will have to come in later and fix everything.

“Hi mom, nice of you to show up.”

As the decorating begins, Lauren starts to feel nauseated and tells her team she’s tapping out of the tasting portion of this challenge and instead channeling her energy on not throwing up—no easy feat during this exercise, pregnant or not.

Back at the Seewald house, we learn that Jessa is so over this challenge that she’s opted to throw a plastic airplane on top of her cake, which Ben was probably pretty upset to find out about, being that it was one of his favorite toys. 

If you look close enough, you can see Ben’s fingerprints on the “cake topper.”

Jana’s team (AKA Jana) has almost completed their cake, as have Kendra and Jenni, though for some reason, Kendra’s decorating takes a turn for the worse. Unable to replicate realistic clouds, she decides her cake needs cotton so naturally, she pulls some off of a dusty kitchen decoration to improvise/convince us this whole thing must be some sort of joke.

Oh, and she also adds those nifty Post-It note paper airplanes on some toothpicks. #DoLess

It’s a shame they don’t make some sort of edible cotton they could have used… oh wait.

It’s final judgement day at the Duggar Compound—for the cakes, that is—and much to our surprise, Jessa’s cake looks the best amongst the group, though her plastic decoration gave her a clear unfair advantage. That and the fact that she didn’t use FREAKING COTTON ON HER BAKED GOODS. 

John and Abbie arrive and are handed some scoring sheets to get ready for the blind taste test. First up is Jana, Jackson and Tyler’s cake, which we learn is topped by a fondant airplane that Jana did in fact redo herself. Upon sampling the cake, neither John nor Abbie gag or throw up, so things are looking pretty promising. 

When one person in a group project does all the work but still lets the others put their names on it.

Next up is Kendra and Jenni’s arts and crafts confectionary catastrophe, which John and Abbie shockingly say tastes very sweet and not very fuzzy, so kudos to them on avoiding those slices with the “clouds,” 

More like “On Aisle 9…of Walgreens…”

Lauren, Jordyn and Josie’s cupcake cluster F is up next and John and Abbie say it tastes kind of dry and eggy, which kind of sounds perfect for these two because they are kind of dry as well, though we can’t vouch for the eggy part.

Jessa and Johannah’s plastic fantastic cake is the final up for tasting, and despite being the most aesthetically pleasing, John says it has an after taste that lasts about 15 minutes… which is a very long time to a Duggar. (Annie will learn this on her wedding night…)

The economy seating of aviation cakes.

In the end, John and Abbie name Jana’s cake the Most Difficult—much like Jana’s life itself. Lauren’s team wins Most Original, Kendra’s cake wins Best Taste and Jessa—with the support of Johannah and also Ben’s toy box—wins Best Design. Taking the top prize of Best in Show is Jana’s cake, proving that hard work doesn’t always pay off, but it does earn you a purple ribbon you can hang in the room you share with a gaggle of siblings that are one-third of your age. 

Jana’s response when asked how this victory tastes.

John and Abbie ultimately decide to pass on the groom’s cake business, meaning that this whole exercise and episode (and series, if we’re being honest) were for nothing. 

After the sugar rush has worn off and the taste buds have recovered, we learn that Lauren missed out on the cake competition because she suffered a miscarriage, as The Ashley previously told you about. 

On a much brighter note, next week’s episode of ‘Counting On’ gifts us with the much anticipated return of modest wedding dress extraordinaire Miss Reneé! We’ll also see Jeremy babysit his daughter without any adult supervision… a responsibility Ben hopes to earn himself one day. 

To read our previous ‘Counting On’ recaps, click here! 

(Photos: TLC)

10 Comments

  1. I’m sorry but something is really off about John. Watching his segments makes me cringe. I don’t know if it’s his awkwardness or of there’s some kind of impairment going on but there is just something off about him. He and Abbie together are really hard to watch too.


  2. I always just thought of Kendra as the offspring of a Cabbage Patch Doll and Tickle Me Elmo, but I have to admit in this episode I really liked how sweet she was with Jenni.


  3. can someone for the love of god tell jeremy and jinger to gently bounce the baby not give it shaken baby syndrome


  4. They literally spent less than 3 minutes on Lauren’s miscarriage. That should have been the focus of the episode and would have been much more compelling to watch, than adventures in cake baking.


    1. Although Lauren did open up about her miscarriage, maybe she didn’t want to spend an entire filming day talking about it. Maybe they aren’t at that point yet. The fact that they said anything about it to begin with, should be enough for viewers. Having a miscarriage is so awful

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