Welcome back to Sue and Mel and silliness, as the Great British Baking Show hosts try to decide if our contestants this year are warriors or worriers. Only in British English is this a joke. The season, which actually taped over a year ago, and originally ran from August-October of 2015 on the BBC took its sweet time getting over here. And then it took its sweet time airing, as the lack of a Masterpiece Theater like mothership meant there was nothing to enforce most PBS stations to air at the same time.
PBS, it is very hard to live tweet when half the audience won’t see it until Sunday–and the main PBS Food account is tweeting along to one that started 30 minutes prior to your own. Furthermore, it is difficult to get event television to work if it’s not eventing across the country all at once. Please make a note of it, and rectify this promptly.
Still, it was lovely to be back among friends, and the long wait between the first time I watched and the second meant I had forgotten quite a bit, including but not limited to: Sandy’s bawdiness, Flora’s anxious behaviors, Dorret’s mousse meltdown, and what the name was of that idiot in the hat who though he didn’t actually have to do what he was asked and could still stay in the competition. (Pro-tip: NOAP.)
This being cake week, right out of the gate our contestants had to make Madeira Cakes for the Signature (practiced at home, of course.) The main event, and first show stopper was Black Forest Gateaus (also practiced at home), with a pause in the middle for the Technical, with a detail-light recipe via Mary Berry and her Frosted Walnut Cake.
Let’s review how this season’s twelve bakers did for their first time out.
Nadiya (Orange and green cardamom Madeira cake): Pass. Both taste and looks scored high
Ugnė (Lemon and thyme Madeira cake): Fail.Crack was too small, taste was too lemon
Ian (Somewhere west of Madeira cake): Fail. Paul called it “wallpaper paste.”
Stu (Marley Madeira cake): Fail. Was not actually a Madeira cake.
Flora (Blood orange Madeira cake): Pass. Despite oven drama, cake was deemed practically perfect.
Alvin (Orange, vanilla and fig Madeira cake): Middling. His fruit fell to the bottom.
Sandy (Madeira cake with almond liqueur&chopped apricots): Pass
Paul (Lemon, ginger and caraway seed Madeira cake): Fail. Cake was flat.
Mat (Gin and tonic Madeira cake): Fail. No taste of gin.
Tamal (Pistachio and rose Madeira cake): Pass. Paul loved it.
Dorret (Madeira cake with candied lemon): Fail. Too bland.
Marie (Zingy citrus Madeira cake): Pass. Judges ranked high.
The technical was a walnut cake, which meant there was much agonizing over proper size of nut chopping, proper distribution throughout layers, and the frosting and walnut decorations, which not everyone managed very well on.
12. Nadiya: Icing instructions fail
11. Stu: Got exactly one walnut on.
10. Paul: Cake very granular.
9. Sandy: Icing too sugary
8. Ian: Failure to distribute nuts properly
7. Mat: Looks passable but granular
6. Flora: Looks good, icing crystalized
5. Dorret: Uneven buttercream
4. Tamal: Well put together but grainy.
3. Marie: Passed on all marks
2. Alvin: Only the caramel around the nuts was “off.”
1. Ugnė: Her extra sugar work carried the day
And finally, the Showstopper. This was the Back Forest Gateau, and though there were lots of ups and downs during baking, including Dorret racing her mouse to the freezer on a wing and a pray only to have it collapse completely when unmolded, the answer to who would go home from the getgo was clearly Stu. Not only was he in the fail pile for the Signature due to not following the instructions, he was 11th in the Technical. And then he shot himself in the foot for any sort of comeback when he insisted in not actually making a Black Forest Gateau at all but a “Purple Forest Gateau”….out of beet root.
The entire purpose of the exercise was chocolate work. The cake was beet, not chocolate, and the outside looked exactly the same as his walnut cake, sans the single walnut.
Let’s drool over the results, shall we?
Alvin’s Black Forest Gateau
Dorret’s Enchanted Forest Gateau: She was inconsolable it collapsed, but somehow Paul made calling it a “mudslide” sound kindly.
Flora’s Black Forest Gateau:
Ian’s Black Forest Cherry Tree: An inconspiuous start, what with that gold 80s tray.
Marie’s A Walk in the Forest: The trees were 2D but they worked.
Mat’s Black Forest Gateau: Looked alright, tasted better than expected.
Nadiya’s Quadruple Chocolate Black Forest Gateau: How to change up the recipe properly–extra layers, extra chocolate, a shine so high Paul Hollywood could see his reflection.
Paul’s Black Forest Chocolate Creation: I rather liked the flat Tim Burtonesque tree myself
Sandy’s Black Forest Gateau: The picture hides how tall it was. It was very tall.
Stu’s Purple Forest Cake: Nope, not a lick of chocolate work, and it tasted godawful.
Tamal’s Black Forest Gateau in a Chocolate Shell: When Mary Bery marvels how much trouble she has doing collared cakes ina tent, you know you’ve scored high marks.
Ugne’s Falling Cup Gateau: Very pretty, but the taste wasn’t there.
In the end, Marie took star baker for high marks in the Signature, high in the technical and a Black Forest gateau with spot on taste. Stu was eliminated to the surprise of no one but Dorret.
Next week? BISCUITS!