Princess Bubblegum assigns Finn and Jake a dangerous assignment: carrying rare tarts for a Candy Kingdom ceremony. They decide to protect the tarts using various deceptions and tricks, but discover the difficulty of completing their job the hard way.
The episode opens with a narration by Princess Bubblegum set over a galaxy of flavors describing the nature of the Royal tarts. According to her, they are considered the most delicious treats in the entire Candy Kingdom and many thieves would risk their lives for a single bite. The only one who was trustworthy enough to transfer these prized tarts across the kingdom and into the Badlands for the sacred Back-Rubbing Ceremony was the Royal Tart Toter. Once the narration finishes the scene cuts to Princess Bubblegum holding a picture of the Royal Tart Toter with Finn and Jake looking on in wonder.
Princess Bubblegum explains to them that the Royal Tart Toter has become too old and crazy to fulfill his duties this year, so she must find a new Tart Toter to take his place. She tells them that Cinnamon Bun has volunteered for the position, but Princess Bubblegum considers him a little half-baked for such an important task. She motions over to Cinnamon Bun standing in the corner who is trying to impress her with a failed attempt at a flip. Finn and Jake gracefully offer up their services in toting tarts to the Back-Rubbing Ceremony. Princess Bubblegum tells them that the tarts must be delivered properly and on time or else the congress of the Candy Kingdom will behead her, but Finn assures the Princess that he will not fail her. Accepting their proposition, she leads them to the middle of the Tartorium where conveyor belts are busily producing hundreds of tarts at a time. Princess Bubblegum tells Finn and Jake that these tarts are merely imperfections and provides them with an Anti-gravity tote chamber filled with the real desserts. She instructs them to take a safe and well protected route through the Royal Tart Path. She then gives Finn her Holo-pendant which can relay messages and maps, departs through an elevator to prepare for the upcoming ceremony and reminds them that her head is on the line.
After she leaves, Finn is struck by a seemingly brilliant idea. Taking a few imperfect tarts off of the conveyor belt and dousing them in a nearby paralyzing potion, he hands a case of them to Cinnamon Bun and sends him down the tart tunnel. He explains to Jake that Cinnamon Bun will serve as a distraction while they venture out with the real tarts through the Desert of Doom. Along the way, Finn and Jake deliberately take the most dangerous routes, reasoning that no thief would ever expect them to do anything so stupid while toting the tarts. Finn's plan goes horribly awry, though, as they run up against a pack of hobos, a cave full of zombies, and a butterfly with a laser gun. Eventually, Finn and Jake's stock of tarts is completely depleted so they resolve to save Princess Bubblegum from her beheading instead.
Finn and Jake rush to the Royal Congressional Hall, and see what they believe to be the princess about to be beheaded. However, it turns out they were just using an axe to chop the tarts in half. Finn and Jake are momentarily relieved upon realizing that Cinnamon Bun was able to deliver the tarts on time, but they quickly remember that the tarts he was carrying are poisoned. Finn tries to stop Princess Bubblegum from eating one by knocking it from her hand, but she eats another one anyway. In a horrified gasp, Finn believes that the princess has been paralyzed forever as she freezes after taking a bite. However, Princess Bubblegum tells him that she is simply gripped by the flavor and is still able to move. It turns out that Finn and Jake had been carrying the poisoned tarts and that Cinnamon Bun had been carrying the real tarts all along. After explaining his failed plan to the Princess Bubblegum, she admits that she is not mad about being lied to since she lied to Finn and Jake. She was never going to be beheaded; she just told them that so they would not eat the tarts, and the two hug each other in reconciliation. As the ceremony is about to proceed, the old Royal Tart Toter suddenly bursts through the door, announcing that the royal tarts have arrived. Instead of tarts, he is actually holding a pigeon and a squirrel. Princess Bubblegum tells everyone that he can neither see nor hear the guests so long as they do not move, and he will eventually leave. Unable to see the people before him, the Toter is seen floating in the galaxy of flavors from the opening scene and gives an inspiring, yet insane, speech:
- "This cosmic dance of bursting decadence and withheld permissions, twists all our arms collectively, but if sweetness can win, and it can, then I'll still be here tomorrow to high-five you yesterday, my friend. Peace."
As he drifts away in the galaxy of flavors, Lumpy Space Princess floats by and grabs on to a big doughnut. Back at the Royal Congressional Hall, Finn responds with a simple, "Geesh..."
- Candy People
- Lumpy Space Princess
- Butterfly With Laser Gun
- "Real Heroes"
- "Easy Tarts"
- In the promo for this episode, there are clouds in the background while the Royal Tart Toter is floating through space and saying his final speech; however, in the episode there are no clouds.
- After the first five/six tarts were stolen, Finn was close to swearing.
- When Finn and Jake arrive at the ceremony thinking that Cinnamon Bun has delivered the decoys, the title card music plays.
- Finn's big eyes appear for the last time in the series.
- The part where Princess Bubblegum admits that she lied to Finn about the tarts as well was cut out of the UK version for unknown reasons.
- Despite being aired as the ninth episode of Season 2, it appears as the twelfth episode on the Complete Second Season DVD and Blu-ray, switching places with "Her Parents."
- At the end of "Power Animal" Jake says to Finn "Let's go eat Cinnamon Bun"; however, in this episode, he appears just fine.
- One of the hobos who steals the Royal Tarts looks like one of the Science guys at Princess Bubblegum's Science Barbecue in the episode "The Real You."
- In "The Red Throne", after Cinnamon Bun is hit in the face with fire, it causes him to become fully cooked, making him smarter and more well-spoken. Princess Bubblegum says his limited intelligence is due to the fact that he is "half-baked" in this episode.
- The venue for the Annual Backrubbing Ceremony is the same place where the Sesquicentennial Grand Meeting of Ooo Royalty takes place near the end of "The Duke".
- Finn passes again through the Galaxy of Flavors.
- The part where Princess Bubblegum sticks her head out of the elevator until it nearly closes on her is similar to a scene involving Droopy in Who Framed Roger Rabbit.
- When Finn and Jake exclaim "Tote sweet!" it is likely referencing the "Toot Sweets" from the film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
- This episode was previously titled "Death by Dessert."
- This is the first Adventure Time episode to air in 2011.