When the Great British Bake Off first aired seven years ago, no one could predict it would rise to this level of sweet success
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(L-R) Rav, Tom, Kate, Lee, Val, Candice, Benjamina , Michael, Selasi, Jane, Andrew & Louise Image: Cult, Photographer: Mark Bourdillon
Great British Bake Off - Week 1
Last night the pressure was on and the proof was in the pudding! The Great British Bake Off returned, and none of the Food Heaven team could contain their excitement. The familiarity of the white tent set in those Berkshire grounds was just a little slice of heaven. As expected, Mel and Sue were at the ready with their witty innuendos, the judges were as mysterious as ever, and we got a slice of the action in each challenge - particularly as they kept binning their bakes and starting again!
To start, the bakers were asked to make a drizzle cake. Easy, traditional, a classic you might say. Well, the tent featured many a baking brain all in a muddle. From forgotten ingredients to un-risen cakes to flavour flops, the nerves were running away with the bakers, a bit like that icing!
The second challenge was a fresh one. The contestants were asked to construct 12 jaffa cakes complete with superb jelly and beautifully decorated with chocolate. The judges discussed their dream jaffa but instant disapproval arose from Mary when Paul dipped his Jaffa into his cup of tea! The master has spoken so watch out, because you certainly do not dip these treats.
Selasi glided through this first technical, looking so incredibly cool, calm and collected that Mel questioned him – “Are you actually doing anything?” Meanwhile others were at their usual bases, glued to the ground and eyes fixed on that oven to ensure that they got just the right finish. Andrew, the aerospace engineer from Derby, failed this challenge due to his upside down cakes and it might not have helped that he produced a 'crunchy' texture, words from the 25 year old himself. Selasi, who works for the Financial institution in London, excelled with praise from Mary who classed them as “evenly baked, well finished and they taste jolly good.” You couldn't ask for more than that!
Finally, the all-important showstopper. Who was going to get that dazzling title of star baker in the first week?!
The showstopper brief: a mirror glaze cake, with a Genoese sponge. Mary was looking for 'sheer perfection' whilst Paul was asking for 'small and beautiful'. These judges have some very high expectations, but we'd expect nothing less. We watched in anticipation, seeking out which hopeful amateur was likely to wow the judges in every category: shine, taste, texture and the knock-off-Mary-and-Paul's-socks factor.
Jane wasn't put off by the jaffa cake challenge and went for similar flavours, Kate couldn't hold back from her Swallows obsession, opting for a very bold blue glaze, while Val went for a blackberry theme which was saved after it almost ended up featuring cornflour instead of sugar, oops!
Jane got very emotional as the judges delighted her 'less is more', smooth, chocolate orange cake, Andrew rose to the challenge and set right his place in the bake off and Michael went overboard with his Matcha Tea grassy flavour, not to mention Kates 'penguins on the sea cake’ as it was renamed by Paul.
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Image: The Telegraph
When it came down to it, sadly Lee didn't quite make the cut and was first to leave the tent. Jane was crowned star baker this week as she beat the bunch, her “drizzle [was] as fine as a summer holiday.” Lee, a pastor from Bolton, closed the show agreeing not to give anyone at his church his own jaffa cakes - instead he'll just buy them a packet! You're still one in 12 of the best amateur bakers in the UK Lee!
Anyway, bring on episode 2! We can't wait!