Helloooo and welcome to the fourth series of the Great British Bake-Off! If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ll remember that I blog recaps of each episode, plus bits of GBBO news for all us GBBO fanatics! Welcome to this years Bake-Off, and to The Great British Bake-Off Series 4 Episode 1 Recap!
This week, we’re introduced to this years fresh new batch of contestants (a bakers dozen – 13 in total, which apparently means that if two contestants do particularly poorly, they could both find themselves out). They also have amazing ice blue/pastel yellow KitchenAids to match their pastel workstations – sigh.
Up first is signature cakes! What better way to start the Bake-Off? There are plenty of carrot cakes, Victoria sponges and a grapefruit sandwich cake too. Howard even makes a gluten free cake, with rice flour and xanthum gum. Fancy.
The cakes go into the oven and the contestants start on their fillings – Ali experiences the bane of my life, that white powder explosion that comes when adding icing sugar to a stand mixer. Glad to see it happens on Kitchen Aids too!
Lo, the first cake disaster of #GBBO13 strikes, when Mark’s oven apparently refuses to cook his cakes. His solution is to growl at the oven, which I suppose is as good a response as any. I have a feeling Mark may not be around long… We’ve seen many a one like him on the Bake-Off before!
The second, third, fourth and fifth disasters follow shortly after, with frostings melting, and poor Ruby’s cake becoming flavoured with her tears as well as rhubarb and custard.
Judging time, and the first few cakes are all reasonably well reviewed, with some constructive criticism. Lots of these cakes wouldn’t fly with Paul and Mary later on in the series, but for now, everyone seems content to be nice! Ali, Howard and Lucy do particularly well, getting enthusiastic praise from Paul and Mary.
Time for some cake learnin’! Sue gives us a history of promenading and courting cakes – basically a baking audition to be a wife!
Up next is the first technical challenge of this years Bake-Off – Angel Food Cake! They’re very common in America – popular as they contain no fat and are very light and airy. The contestants are only given partial instructions, so as ever, they wing it, with some interesting results… Toby manages to add salt to his cake instead of sugar.
So who wins the battle of the angels? Surprisingly, most of the cakes turn out incredibly well considering how unfamiliar we tend to be with Angel Food cakes in this country. Ali, Kimberley, Christine and Howard do particularly poorly… but none as poor as Toby – Paul hilariously spits out his salty cake!
Time for this weeks showstopper and the contestants biggest challenge…. an amazing Chocolate Cake. YUM. Just look at those massive bowls of chocolate chips! Lucy decides to go for an unusual chocolate thyme cake, while Ali adds raspberries to his cake batter.
Some of the contestants temper their chocolate, something I’ve never tried my hand at before, and there are lots more creative flourishes too – chocolate stripes (so cool!), a chocolate bear (huh!), and even a cake with a squirrel hidden inside … but will the contestants have time to pull all of this off?
Well, apparently not – poor Mark has issues with his chocolate casing, calling out for sellotape, while a horrified Mary looks on in disgust. I definitely agree with the judges that some of the contestants have been far too ambitious here! Stress levels in the Bake-Off tent reach fever pitch and its time for the judging…
Rob the space satellite designer (I’m pretty sure that career was never mentioned by our school careers officer!) is up first, and gets an enthusiastic reception from the judges. Toby is next with his under-decorated, poor tasting cake. As ever – Mary thinks of something nice to say in the face of a crappy cake – the levels are exactly the same size!
Lucy is up next, and her chocolate trees are whimsical and cute, but the taste of her cake is a bit lacking… Christine’s hat cake is amazing, or should I say UFO cake!
A few better results, and Howard shamelessly tries to curry favour with the judges with his bear named Paul, Frances does really well too with her squirrel themed cake and Ruby gets good feedback too with her chocolate ginger cake.
So, who will be star baker, and who will go home? Rob is deservedly crowned star baker, showing that science skillz really do come in handy when baking. Poor Toby goes home in the first week, and is clearly devastated, luckily Sue and Mel are there to envelope him in a great big lovely comedy duo hug.
Next week, breadsticks, muffins, and decorative loaves. Bread is Paul’s forte, I think the bakers are in for a tough week!
Links and GBBO news
- Meet the contestants here, in case you can’t remember all their names yet!
- Interested in baking a light as air Angel Food Cake? Anna Olson’s recipe is a great one
- Got a sudden, inexplicable craving for a showstopping chocolate cake? Try my amazing Chocolate Fudge Cake with Espresso Cloud Frosting
Number of loud gasps and covering my face in my hands this week – seven. Lucy edging her chocolate tree to the edge of the workbench was a particularly tense moment!
So, one episode down! Any inklings as to possible frontrunners? It’s looking good for Lucy and Rob. Let me know your thoughts in the comments!