The Great British Bake Off: Cake Week

Thank the merciful gods of cake, Bake Off is back! Since the entire nation was waiting in trepidation to find out whether or not their beloved Bake Off had been abominated,  I thought I’d do my very own round up of my thoughts on Cake Week… 

I settled down on Tuesday evening fully prepared to despise the latest series of The Great British Bake Off. Like much of the nation, my loyalties rested firmly with Mel, Sue and the almighty Berry, all of whom I hope were having a mirthful viewing party over a freshly baked fougasse.

 

 

Full of doubt and derision, I was poised to pour scorn like a mirror glaze over an inevitably soggy-bottomed sponge of a new format. (I think that’s it for the cake analogies but I can’t be sure). Apparently, though, all it takes is a jovial Sandi Toksvig and a self-deprecating Noel Fielding in a hot air balloon for me to throw myself down on the Bake Off alter once more.

As cake week commenced, Peter boldly declares that he’s “ready to go” which is handy since it turns out that he’s about to be booted off. However, before his swift exit, the twelve budding bakers must face the daunting task of crafting a family-sized fruity cake. Whilst new double-act Paul and Prue explain the dangers of being foiled by the pesky fruit element of this challenge, I’m left wondering how one defines a cake as ‘family-sized’ and whether I ought to be worried about my level of cake consumption.

Barely five minutes in and we’re introduced to James, our first smug, ‘I foraged this myself’ baker. Using enough rhubarb to keep a family of ten alive for a year, this coupled with the fact that he thinks he’s going to somehow avoid a soggy cake is enough for me to dismiss him outright. Yan’s down-to-earth demeanour gives me brief hope until she singlehandedly surpasses the great ‘Baked Alaska scandal of Series 5’ and unceremoniously dumps her very first bake in the bin. Then, by the time we reach Chris’ “no butter, no oil, no marg” (aka no fucking joy) tropical cake, I’m ready to relinquish all belief in these godforsaken bakers and wonder what sort of cake tin they’ve been scraped from the bottom of.

That is until we’re finally introduced to Kate, the only one who seems to have any idea what she’s doing and who manages to take my mind off Paul’s tragic attempts to find common ground with fellow scouser, Flo, and the fact that Tom is gold-leafing an effing pear.

As the bakers serve up their initial offerings, I start to discern the contestants who are worth my emotional investment based on the amount of air-time they receive. After some textbook weirdness from Noel, Paul adopts the same aplomb with which innuendos are showered on us throughout the programme and dishes out not one, but two, slightly creepy handshakes to fruit cake top-dogs, Steven and Sophie.

 

Next up is the “fiddly” technical challenge of chocolate mini rolls served with a side of obligatory giggling at the mention of bare bottoms. The usual tally of who has and hasn’t previously made a chocolate roll ensues and I’m already salivating at the thought of demolishing at least five of these bad boys. Julia’s overly expressive eyebrows and frequent pigeon noises are a reassuring presence in the bewilderment that is a skeletal technical recipe.

Whilst the bakers frantically search for the answers in the very fibres of the famous white tent, I scream with sadistic glee as both Stacey and Chris are forced to start over and Liam rolls his sponge with the finesse of a burly carpet fitter. Our contestants are then duly judged and, after hearing the word “swirl” for what seems like the four hundredth time, Kate gracefully glides into first place with some delicious looking mini rolls (I knew I liked her).

 

Nerves are jangling, and rightly so, as we approach what is, quite possibly, the most difficult first-week showstopper ever witnessed on Bake Off. Paul practically ejaculates with joy as he considers the sleepless nights that the ‘illusion cake’ may have caused our beloved bakers and Sophie slathers herself in self-congratulation over her previous champagne cake attempts. After hearing Noel utter the phrase “moist clutch”, I realise that I take absolutely no notice of what Tom is making until he actually presents it at the end and wonder to what depths the innuendo can truly sink.

Undeterred by Paul’s overt selection of Kate as his woman of fancy for this series, I am genuinely excited to see what the bakers come up with. As time grows ever tighter, yet more bakes are thrown away, Yan runs incessantly backwards and forwards to the fridge, and Julia makes a heartwarming comparison between her cake and multiculturalism in a way that would’ve made the BBC proud.

The string quartet, who I presume are based behind a grassy hillock somewhere nearby, then begin their stressful descent into the showstopper countdown music and frantic scenes give way to sighs of frustration or joyful high-fives.

First to the judging table is Yan who absolutely slays with her incredible banana-ramen cake. Having already used up his daily kindness quota in the first round, Paul desperately tries to find something negative to say and opts for a default “it’s bit dry” comment usually reserved for patrons at the cafe in Debenhams.

Not so kind comments are also doled out to Tom’s lacklustre pile of books, Peter’s wooden looking loaf of bread and Stacey’s handbag that I neither want to eat nor take on a night out. Let’s also take a moment to appreciate Chris’ utter surprise at finding that the egg he purposefully put inside his pork pie cake was indeed inside his pork pie cake.

Although Flo’s ‘one in a melon’ watermelon cake was a delight to behold and Liam’s mouth-watering pancake stack was enough to redeem him, my weekly Bake Off props are reserved especially for Steven’s jaw-dropping sandwich cake. Never have I so excitedly screamed about lettuce before now and, for that reason alone, I feel he deserves the Star Baker crown which he subsequently receives.

 

However, it’s a sad goodbye to Peter who has received so little air-time that I fail to actually care about him at all. Instead, I choose to revel in Steven’s adorably teary conversation with his mum, Flo’s self-affirmation, and the fact that Bake Off hasn’t been ripped from my life after all.

Bring on biscuit week.

 

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Want more From The Fringe? Good news! You can follow me here:

Bloglovin' | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest
Share:
  • cluelesspixie

    This post made me so happy! Also, I don’t pick up on most of the patterns you do – I register that Paul is a creep, but not that he’s got a favourite, etc. I’ve only watched maybe two seasons, so I wasn’t that invested in Mel and Sue, but Noel still was a bit of an adjustment, much as I love him in everything else. I miss Mary Berry and the way Sue said “bake!”. No one can say it like that.