The pressure in the Bake Off tent was on and had this year’s twelve bakers shaking from the very beginning of the first challenge. Everyone knows how tough the competition is and no one wants to leave!
With Cake Week kicking things off, the Bake Off we know and love was back with a bang and filled with plenty of innuendo. There was burnt caramel, lopsided cakes and even a full mudslide that ended in tears! So here’s our thoughts on tonight’s bakes and their makers.
The first Signature Challenge of the series was the Madeira Cake. This classic cake also got the innuendo going as all the bakers were talking about achieving the perfect crack. The first stumble of the show came from Flora who forgot to turn on her oven – first world problems of having an Aga at home. With some bakers sticking to the traditional recipe and others adding a twist, the variation was echoed in Paul and Mary’s mixed responses. We loved anaesthetist Tamal’s apple flowers and were glad to hear he matched his decoration with great flavours.
The battle of the chopped fruit went to Sally, who kept an even distribution, whilst Alvin’s all dropped to the bottom. Both Nadiya and Marie sighed relief as they passed the candied fruit drop test – an important thing under Mary’s watchful eye. But the line of the night went to Paul Hollywood as he compared the texture of Ian’s cake to wallpaper paste!
Onto the Technical Challenge with all still to play for in their attempts at Walnut Cake – the ‘caffeine free’ version as the brilliant Mel and Sue put it. For this round it was all about chopping nuts into the perfect size (without knowing what that size is!) and attempting the perfect caramel. As the challenge was revealed Sandy remembered baking it before… but it not working. Her quirky approach has granted her the rights to funniest baker of the first episode. We particularly liked her approach to baking, commenting that she often starts to make a cake and ends up with a meat pie – we wonder how Paul and Mary would judge that!
With a technically challenging meringue icing and the sponge texture so dependent on the size of nuts, there were many flawed bakes – leaving Stu and Nadiya at the bottom. The lucky rule of three helped Alvin out, who after making three batches of caramel for his coated walnut decorations managed to reach second place. The baker with the most confidence in this round, Ugne took the top spot with her beautifully smooth and pillow-like meringue icing.
Black Forest Gateaux was the Showstopper Challenge and the bakers pulled out all the stops for this 70s spectacular. Again, we were impressed by Tamal’s chocolate collar and Flora’s perfect piping. Ian showed himself to be a bit of a dark horse, after two less than impressive challenges he showed a lot of skill and lovely presentation in this challenge – even if his forests had elephants passing through. But sadly it was not all well in the Bake Off tent. After describing the cake as her perfect bake, due to the combination of chocolate and alcohol, Dorret’s hopes slid off the plate as her cake collapsed under the pressure of un-set chocolate mousse.
Nevertheless, it was Stu, the musician/hipster that left the competition at the end of the first week. With weak performances in the first two challenges, Stu attempted to bring it back by putting a spin on the Black Forest classic. But a beetroot cake and meringue icing was too far from the original cake for Paul and Mary. Not to mention that it tasted almost raw because of too much moisture in the cake and cream.
Sticking to the brief and executing it perfectly is what placed Marie as this week’s Star Baker. After the experienced Nancy won last year, Marie is definitely one to watch!
So with week one finished and the countdown for Biscuit Week already underway, we’d like to know your predictions. Who do you think will win The Great British Bake Off 2016?
Tell us your guess in our poll now!