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Spring is in the air: Food Network's baking competition is sweet on the season

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Andrew Warren / TV Media
Nancy Fuller, Jesse Palmer, Duff Goldman and Lorraine Pascale as seen in “Spring Baking Championship”

Nancy Fuller, Jesse Palmer, Duff Goldman and Lorraine Pascale as seen in “Spring Baking Championship”

The ovens are preheating, there are several dozen eggs in the fridge and the pantry is packed with enough sugar to please even the biggest sweet tooth. With spring in the air, it can only mean one thing: it's time for Food Network's annual spring baking competition.

"Spring Baking Championship" premieres Sunday, March 12, with back-to-back episodes to launch the seven-episode series.

Host Jesse Palmer ("The Bachelor") welcomes back the three returning judges who oversee the competition. Duff Goldman ("Ace of Cakes"), Nancy Fuller ("Farmhouse Rules") and Lorraine Pascale ("Worst Bakers in America") can be an intimidating trio to bake for, but their tough-love approach to the sweet side of cooking just ensures that the cream always rises to the top.

It's all about Easter in the premiere episode as nine of the best bakers in the country do their best to impress the judges. Of course, Easter means chocolate eggs, but these competitors need to up their games to make unique and unequaled Easter egg desserts. Then, with the flour barely settled from that little warmup, the bakers are tasked with putting together a classic bunny cake worthy of being served to the three judges -- the worst of the bunch causes one baker to be sent home.

And that's only half of the two-part premiere, but with only eight bakers left standing, the competition is already getting hotter. Spring is the perfect time of year for a vacation (spring break, anyone?), and the second episode calls for some tropical desserts and destination donuts. 

As the competition goes on through the coming weeks, the bakers make something nice for Mother's Day, celebrate the Kentucky Derby and work on some springtime renovations.

In the end, only one baker emerges from the cloud of flour dust. Up for grabs for the winner is a sweet, sweet $50,000 -- not to mention the bragging rights that come with beating out eight of the country's best bakers.

"Spring Baking Championship" gets underway with a two-episode premiere Sunday, March 12, on Food Network.