The Great British Bake Off/Baking Show – Week 1 – Cake

Last week, Jenny introduced this season’s bake-off contestants and this week we were able to see them in action kicking off Cake Week. This year’s GBBO news will be tagged #gbbo2022 and the cookbook which will feature recipes from this season is available for preorder The Great British Bake Off: Favourite Flavours (US: .The Great British Baking Show: Favorite Flavors).

Before, we begin I would once again like to beg Love Productions to bring An Extra Slice to Netflix. Please, please, please. We have so little in the way of great entertainment in the States. Forgive us for the Revolutionary War, and send over Jo.

The show kicked off with a pun-filled Star Wars-themed opening. Matt was Luke Piewalker, Noel was Princess Layer Cake, Paul Hollywood was Darth Baker and Prue was Pruebacca. After Darth Baker pulled out his lightsaber and burnt Piewalker’s pie with the comment, “it’s just a little on the dark side”. I groaned as I smiled. There was one more pun about eating a flan solo and thankfully it was over. I wonder if Noel ate his bagels that were attached to the side of his head for breakfast? This being said the opening was much more tolerable than the Billy Cyrus number last year.

Signature: 12 identical mini-sandwich cakes in two hours.

Curdled buttercream, broken meringue and crumbling warm cake were a few of the problems the bakers had. There were a number of interesting efforts. Syabira brought her Malyasian roots to her signature bake with coconut, pandan and caramel and was judged as having delicious flavors but they lacked neatness. Janusz’ Polish background was featured with a pistachio, cherry vodka creation that Prue loved and deemed perfect, but Paul thought was too boozy. There were a flood of nice comments about taste and texture overall with just a few remarks on the other end of the spectrum such as disappointing and bland (Will) and caramel running and ganache too hard (Rebs).

Darcie’s $0.02: With 12 bakers it is difficult to keep track of who made what, so kudos to Jenny for keeping it all straight. It’s also amazing how, in the span of less than an hour, one can become invested in the bakers and develop attachments to them. I was impressed by Sandro’s calm and cool demeanor, Janusz’ enthusiasm and effervescence, and Syabira’ and Dawn’s interesting flavor combinations.

Technical Challenge: Set by Paul. A red velvet cake with 6 layers in two hours.

There were issues with the distribution of cream cheese frosting overall but most of the cakes (I thought) looked great. Ranking went from James and Reb being on the bottom and Sandro (2) and Syabira (1) in the top two.

Darcie’s $0.02: This was an interesting technical challenge and one I would not have relished as I am not a fan of red velvet cake. Syabira’s cake towered figuratively and literally over the competition. I sympathized with Abdul because cream cheese icing is my nemesis – I have rarely achieved a pipeable texture with it.

Janusz’s ‘Home Is Where The Flowers Grow’ Cake Week Showstopper (Love Productions/Channel 4/Netflix)

Showstopper: 3D replica of a home the contestants once resided in – in 4 hours.

Abdul forgot to turn his oven on and realized that error after forty minutes. There was some R rated comic relief with Syabira and her coconut tree which at first looked like a male appendage. The judging was more harsh on the showstoppers with comments from claggy due to too much buttercream for James, each layer was overbaked and the chocolate in the cake needed more punch in Will’s cake, and Sandro has too much alcohol and deemed too simple.

The cake that was deemed a “work of art” and “utterly delicious” was Janusz’ chocolate cake with a hint of soy sauce.

The star baker was Janusz and Will was sent home. Will had issues with his signature (his Swiss meringue buttercream which he made twice and which failed twice) and he came in at #9 in the technical.

Darcie’s $0.02: After so many years it must be difficult to come up with interesting challenges, but this was a decent one as nostalgia almost always works. I find it interesting that there were no structural disasters like I recall witnessing in earlier seasons. Either the contestants are better, they have learned not to go too far out on a limb, or maybe a little of both. It was a smart bet to concentrate on flavor and texture over decoration, although Janusz nailed both. Dawn took a big gamble on genoise but it paid off for her.

Best line of this episode: Rebs calling Paul Hollywood a whitewalker in the first few minutes of the show. Followed by Janusz’ who called his partner and said “I am Star Caker in bake week”.


No other recipes are available for any of the contestant’s bakes unless perhaps they are waiting for the cookbook release this year. (See first paragraph). Next week I will add the mark off of bakers in the photo – so that we don’t spoil it for people who haven’t seen the current week yet.

For a full breakdown of books that are GBBO related, see this post, This year we have debut cookbooks from Giuseppe Dell’Anno, Freya Cox, Lottie Bedlow and Rahul Mandal. As of right now, looking toward 2023, we have debut cookbooks from Jürgen Krauss and Crystelle Pereira along with repeat books from GBBO favorites.

Jane’s translation service: With bakers’ countries of origin of Poland, Libya, Angola, Malaysia, Sweden, Saudi Arabia, Ireland, Scotland (two), and just three contestants born in England, this is the most international group I can recall in GBBO history. So I thought I would have a lot of translating to do this week but it all seemed very clear to me. Though I may be kidding myself – the two Scots are from Lanarkshire (where my parents were from) so I may be finding the accents more intelligible than most. Apart from a basic translation of flat – apartment in the Showstopper I didn’t hear anything that might not be clear to non-Brits. Let me know if I missed anything!

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  •  on  September 17, 2022

    Love that Noel recognized one of the buildings from the showstopper bake!

    • Jenny  on  September 17, 2022

      I wasn’t sure if he was making a joke or serious – you can’t tell with him. 🙂

  • Foodycat  on  September 19, 2022

    I’m not a fan of red velvet cake but I was a bit concerned when they kept saying it should be tangy – I really don’t think the cake should be tangy! The vinegar is there to help activate the cocoa to get the rich red colour, as I understand it, not as a flavouring element.

  • Jenny  on  September 20, 2022

    Foodycat: I think the vinegar gives it a little tang – and did some “googling” – I found a load of articles but this from a pastry chef – states what most of them do:

    The purpose of the vinegar is two fold. First, it interacts with the baking soda to leaven the cake. Without it, the cake will be dense, flat, heavy, and the flavor will be flatter as well. Second, it also contributes to both the color (by interacting with the cocoa) and the flavor of the cake (contributing to the traditional ‘tang’ that red velvet is known for).

  • Micklin  on  September 23, 2022

    Being from the northeast USA, where Red Velvet Cake originated,(debatable, I know) I have never found it to be “tangy”. Truth be told I’m only there for the cream cheese frosting, the cake itself has always been a bit boring.

  • Vanessa  on  September 23, 2022

    Excellent round-up. Great kudos to Jenny who must have been taking notes non-stop — 12 x 3 bakes is a lot to get through in one hour.

    Regarding the translation service … in this episode it was not the words so much as the Scots accent that led to have to turn on captions! Hoping that my ear will get a bit more attuned to those two in the next few weeks.

  • Ceribells  on  September 27, 2022

    Is there anywhere that compiles a list of bakes from each episode? I always see flavor combinations that I think are great ideas, but forget to make a note! (Not recipes, just like titles/descriptions or the illustrations of each bake)

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