Let's start LEGO Friends 9th year with a Baking Competition show in Heartlake City!
Box front has the same doodle graphics on the purple flanges and BFF heart insert top right that started last year. The bottom left insert shows cake layers, lest anyone think the cakes are one big Duplo piece. The overall set-scene image appears upon a stage and it seems 2020 boxes have dark purple adjacent corner framing. Mini-doll cameos let us know the name of a new character.
Box back shows all the fun, like rotating the top cake sign to land on which flavor of cake contestants must bake. The inset image of baking tools shows all the great pieces we get to use!
Box contents: Instructions book, sticker sheet, three numbered bags, and loose in the box -- a white Wheel Ø56x22 with Spokes -- as the first time in any color other than metal cool silver diffuse (BL color: speckled black silver), which first came in the 2007 Castle Dwarves' Mine set.
Bag 1 parts: The 8x8 medium Lavender 1/2 circle plate is new to Friends, yet first appeared in 2019 Disney Frozen sets. New aqua cake frosting large and small. New torso prints and new mini-doll leg section called "skirt with hip" in White. Otherwise they are only in Disney's Frozen Enchanted Tree House 41164, on Lieutenant Mattias, although black with print.
Stephanie has a happy banana graphic on the bib part of her cooking apron. She has a clip-on name badge and yellow shirt, which matches her module and is one of her signature colors.
Lillie has a new Chef's jacket with her initial "L" in fancy script embroidered in gold on the upper right chest. It is very lovely, especially along with gold buttons and sash. Plus, matching gold shoes that really pop with those bright pink pants!
Kitchen Module that Stephanie uses has strawberries on a cutting board -- which she cuts with scissors, since there is no knife. The sink and oven with stove-top are within reach; plus a blender for strawberry puree. The 1x2 white curvy slope piece is somewhat new.
Module has rotating cake platform -- for easier decorating of course. The Aqua frosting sure is pretty!
Everything parts from bag 1 builds. A cake as big as a Mini-doll! Plus, do you see Stephanie already eyeing that trophy.
Bag 1 spare parts: All fun parts to me -- especially an extra Spoon!
Box top shows a scene with another look at our new mini-doll, David. One box side has an ad for the smartphone or tablet app called "Instructions PLUS" that is found via LEGO Life. This QR code scan was introduced last year; it allows digital manipulation of the set, such as rotating and ghost view.
Scene slice side shows the Baking Competition awards segment ... fingers crossed.
The instructions book (103 pages) cover shows the set build, plus the app ad. Luckily my sticker sheet was tucked inside of the book (page 2 or 3), so they are in perfect shape! Such cute graphics of all the different flavors; plus even the sugar cubes are happy! Oh, wait, is that a Doughboy or dough hamster in a chef's hat? Cute!
Inside the instructions book has more details about "Instructions PLUS" and a new-for-2020 graphic of opening the bag and dumping out parts. Although it doesn't indicate, it's still best with a hard surface table.
Also new for 2020's instructions is the mini-doll page -- with drawing of Stephanie for this set. She appears in several places throughout the pages with helpful building directions, such as rotating the builds for correct orientation to connect next bricks. The entire graphics of parts and illustrations appear new, as you can see a bit on the next page ...
The main set's mini-doll (Stephanie, in this case) is shown along the bottom -- as if a moving progress/status bar -- indicating how far along in the build you are at each step. Actual set image inserts are new and I really like them. All throughout the book are lovely and funny graphics which really inspire happiness while building with instructions. This helps those of us who don't follow instructions well ... maybe our minds drift ... oh look Strawberries ... LOL.
Bag 2 parts: Two more medium Lavender 8x8 1/2 circle plates. The 1x1x3 Arch bricks are new in bright purple (bubblegum pink). Otherwise not really new elements, just a few re-colors of existing ones.
The centerpiece stage comes together smoothly and securely. Thanks to those medium Lavender 45°A-frame plates, the modules will attach at an angle. This will allow the bakers to see the progress of their competitor. The white wheel with spokes gets all those adorable flavor stickers. After a black 2x2 plate, we build the top cake and crown the stage with it.
Here is the center stage with its rotating cake flavor wheel. What a clever re-purpose of that Castle wheel part! The cake decorations of flowers and bows (most likely representing fondant) get tucked into the drawers for baker's options. The left refrigerator holds eggs and a banana; the right keeps the milk and an apple cool. Boxes for sugar and flour set upon the shelf above cherries, chocolate and ... a Fish! Uhh ... hate to land on that flavor for a cake! The spiral star timer can turn and also points to the flavor as the wheels stops spinning. The stage lights can adjust a bit, yet the front judges table is stationary.
Back of the stage and the spare parts from bag 2.
Bag 3 parts: Another medium Lavender 8x8 1/2 circle plate. New cake frosting pieces in brown, both large 4x4 and small 2x2.
First we get to build and greet David. New in mini-doll form, he has hazel-brown eyes and black hard-plastic hair. The bib on his baking apron features a happy green apple. His shirt matches his baking module and his name badge.
Building the kitchen module for David is the same as Stephanie's, except for being Lime green and having different cooking tools. I still love the rolling pin, ever since it first appeared in LEGO Elves Bakery. The front graphic matches his apron and is a super shiny apple! It's a shame one of his stove-top burners appears to have a grease fire. :-(
The new cake frosting pieces are in chocolate brown. An insert shows the underside of square anti-stud connection. It connects to the newer turntable tile -- which is shown before the rotating platform is snapped on. Once snapped on, it's a bit hard to remove; so the cake certainly won't fall when moving the module around.
Everything bag 3 builds, including a fire extinguisher. Spare parts: an egg and Whisk are the winners to me.
The kitchen modules can connect to each other via those Technic pins.
The backside view shows the cooking apron straps go down the back of the mini-dolls.
Here is a close-up of the three main cakes you build for this set. There can be lots of other possibilities with the extra bows, cherries, apple, etc.
They would be great in a bay window of a Modular Bakery!
Apparently call-in Voters over-ruled Lillie's choice because they just Love Chocolate! Yay David! Stephanie can enjoy an extra banana.
One last look at the overall set build: Stephanie and David are both whipping up some toppings, while Lille enjoys some Lemonade. She might have swiped a cookie from one cake ... yum!
TV baking shows are super popular all over the world, so it's fitting that Friends have one. It's good to see Lillie taking a break from her restaurant to host for us.
When the set images came out for this wave, I was pleasantly surprised this set garnered so much attention and positive comments. Even though there's a blend of colors and pink is prominent, lots of non-so-much-Friends-fans seem eager to get it. Traditional Friends fans may be happy to see Stephanie return to her baking hobby. Sure, she's still competitive too.
As for parts, the clever use of that Dwarves' Mine wheel in White as the Flavor Spinner at center top stage literally takes the Cake! I love it. So much so, that I didn't mind adding all those cute stickers. Honestly, I was a bit relieved -- because from the product images, I wasn't sure if it was a bunch of slopes connected in a circle. I was worried about alignment.
As for the build, angling the 2 kitchen modules gives builders techniques for future use. The overall set build is sturdy and can be moved using 2 hands -- just mind the loose accessories!
New-for-2020 parts: the 2 sizes of cake frostings are lovely. Of course brown represents Chocolate -- yet I'm not sure about Aqua. As beautiful as it is, perhaps mint or pistachio? Otherwise, not many new parts -- other than a few recolors. Most notable is the new style of instructions. They are important for sets like this with lots of details.
Cake decorating itself is detail-oriented, so this set will satisfy those fans who love to bake -- or just watch others on TV.
DISCLAIMER: This set was provided by The LEGO Group for the purpose of sharing set details with fans.
Opinions provided here solely reflect those of our reviewer.
Photographs are property of Friends Bricks and are not directed by TLG in any fashion.