- Not impressed with new host’s SNL-like cold open. Not sure I’m going to like him
- Really cute, how they opened and explained how they did this during a pandemic
- Didn’t realize that they had to leave their families behind (UPDATE: THEY DON’T. Immediate families were allowed to come with them and quarantine.)
- Already SO SO much drama. WHAT FELL ON THE FLOOR??
- The cast/crew is staying at Down Hall
- 98 bedrooms
- In Bishop’s Stortfort, 35 miles north from London
- BATHTUB (I was very excited about the bathtub.)
ROUND ONE: Battenburg
- TWO HOURS
- Started to like new host a little better with the bake joke
- Has to reveal a design when cut, can be any color or flavor, two flavors, covered in handmade marzipan
- Marzipan is a light, candy-like mixture made by mixing finely ground almonds with sugar, corn syrup and egg whites.
- They want a color contrast between the 2 (or more) flavor spongers
- Loriea – “Hot Summer’s Day Treats”( Bubblegum & Cream Soda? OMG WHAT. Using all artificial flavorings. She put hers into the oven and it looked SO SMALL)
- Laura – “Celebration of Summer” (raspberry ripple (a british ice cream that’s vanilla with ribbons of raspberry) and coconut. Doesn’t like marzipan. Making her own jam, which makes it look like she’s murdered someone at her station)
- Lottie – Rhubarb and custard (doing a pinwheel sort of design, had lumps of butter in her cake so she tossed it. She got SO BEHIND because of that, and was frazzled towards the end)
- Dave – Chocolate espresso martini (says his recipe is a “guide”.)
- Marc/Hamish – Bittersweet (sour cherry, chocolate and walnut, decided to go after his dog’s name, like Indiana Jones. HAS ONE LEG)
- Peter – Chocolate & Orange (gluten-free sponges, says he’s more used to GF than normal baking. Older bro is GF. Big fan of John Waite from series 3, something about listening to cakes)
- Sura – Lemon & Orange (poor thing had her cake boil over, but her headscarf is really beautiful. Making tiny marzipan fruits for the top, doesn’t like battenburg and says she’s tested too much cake.)
- Difference between hijab and headscarf: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/reducing-hijab-to-the-hea_b_9075126
- Mark – Turkish bazaar-inspired (for his wedding anniversary today AWWWWW.)
- Rowan – ‘The Magic Flute’ (inspired by Mozart, with night sky marzipan and a temple inside the Battenburg. When they cut to his background montage, he’s standing in a garden playing a flute. When it comes to cutting time, he makes a hot mess. Like 2 pages of instructions and he has this CD holder thing he built to try and get the pieces right, then his cake is a puddle in the middle when he pulls it out.
- Linda – Ambulance (raspberry buttercream, dedicated to her cousin.)
- Mak – East India (only baker using pistachio in his marzipan instead of almond, orange and spiced stem ginger sponges.)
- Hermine – Chocolate & Orange (making marzipan with marmalade instead of eggs. Says she’s really great at French patisserie)
Everybody starts to look REALLY TERRIBLE towards the end
Lottie makes a mess and WHAT IS THAT ON ROWAN’S CAKE. OMG.
- Peter – Paul likes the way it looks, Prue enjoys the polka dots and the texture of the chocolate cake, says it’s crumbly AND moist. PAul likes the thin marzipan, and the decadent chocolate flavor.
- Mak – It’s offset – the layers aren;t lined up. Prue says it looks very neat and I had to clean my glasses and rewind a couple of times. Prue says she likes the orange, Paul says the ginger, orange and pistachio are too much and it would have been better with the almond marzipan.
- Hermine – Prue and Paul both compliment the appearance, Paul says the marmalade and marzipan compliment each other really well, and PRue says it’s a pleasure to eat.
- Laura – Prue says (rather backhandedly) that it’s messy…and it is. Kind of looks like blood and it’s everywhere, but Paul likes her rose decorations even though there’s no difference in the sponge colors. Says there’s no flavor.
- Dave – Prue says the coffee overpowers the chocolate, but the edges are clean and it’s delicious. Paul says it’s a lovely coffee and vanilla battenburg, but there’s no booze.
- Linda – it looks a hot mess and Paul kind of calls her on it but says it’s bone dry. Prue says she wishes Linda could get points for her handsome cousin, which comes off really oddly.
- Loriea – it’s so blue. Paul makes some crack bout blowing bubbles with her cake and then says it’s bone dry, and the flavors are way too intense. Prue points out the thick marzipan
- Mark – Prue likes the marzipan, though it’s a bit thick, Paul says it’s a nice texture.
- Mark/Hamish – Paul says something about a lady named Fanny Craddock, and I get distracted by Googling her, but Mark’s cake is GAUDY. Prue says it’s too busy, but she likes the sour cherry and not the overpowering rosewater.
- Phyllis Nan Sortain “Primrose” Pechey, better known as Fanny Cradock, was an English restaurant critic, television chef and writer. She frequently appeared on television, at cookery demonstrations and in print with Major Johnnie Cradock who played the part of a slightly bumbling hen-pecked husband.
- Lottie – wrapped up her cake like a halloween candy. Paul says the starburst is messy, but it’s there. She tried to frost it when it was still hot. Prue says she’s only getting one flavor, but its; delicious. Paul likes the jam and Prue agrees.
- Rowan – Oh, Rowan. It’s an abstract art piece, but the sparkly marzipan is pretty. PAul says he can tell by the way the knife went in that’s it’s a heavy sponge,
- Sura – Prue says it’s pretty, and those little fruits she made are really stunning. Prue likes the flavors, Paul likes the neatness, the texture and the buttercream. Matt asks what the stem is made of on the fruit (possibly because he ate one). It’s a clove, and his mouth is going to be very Christmassy
TECHNICAL CHALLENGE: Mini Pineapple Upside Down Cakes
- Paul’s recipe (so you know it’s some sadistic wild thing)
- 6 of them in 90 minutes with a caramel syrup
- Peter says he made these in school and I immediately want to move to England an send my kids to this school, even though Wolfgang has graduated
- Most people haven’t made them before
- The caramel seems to be really sticky for some people – Mark/Hamish says he hasn’t made a lot of caramels before
- Some people have a lemon wedge in the caramel and I am HORRIFIED (apparently it’s common cooking advice: if you want a somewhat softer caramel, add some lemon juice to the sugar)
- They get whole pineapples and have to slice them into rings
- Caramel adding goes a little sideways – some people are adding it after the pineapple and cherry, but it’s supposed to go first
- Linda’s come out of the oven and she’s put so much caramel in the tins, it’s hampered the rise and they’re hockey pucks
- Some of these look amazing, others (poor Linda) look TERRIBLE, Mark didn’t GREASE HIS TINS, Dave is trying pretty hard
THEN IT HAPPENS. Sura is trying to shoo away a fly and knocks almost the whole tray right out of Dave’s hands. Sura starts crying, Dave is trying to have a happy face, and lovely Matt is trying to make everybody happy and tries to take the blame, while Noel comforts Sura.
- Hermine: nice height, nice color, cream went on when it was still hot. They cut it open, and say it’s nice and light
- Mark – cream is sliding off the top because they were too hot. Says good flavor, doesn’t look right.
- Lottie – says they look pretty good, they all look uniform. Likes the balance, says it tastes good.
- Mak – says they’re a bit deflated, doughy.
- Rowan – nice color, lovely cake, very uniform.
- Laura – looks a bit dark in places, caramel is darker.
- Loriea – cream was added when the cakes were still hot, and it just slid off. Too light, super sweet and the caramel isn’t right.
- Mark/Hamish – stuck to the tin and the caramel is WAY too dark, the cream looks weird, like worms. Caramel is actually burnt.
- Peter – they like the look of it, the uniformity. Says the flavor is great, they can find no issue.
- Sura – Cream went on at the right point, it’s well-balanced and lovely.
- Linda – too many issues to list here…not sure they even tasted it
- Dave – they picked the nicest one and said they’d judge from there, and it was delicious.
12 – Linda (duh)
1- Sura (who cries and feels guilty)
Going into Showstopper, Sura, Peter and Hermine are in the top, Loriea, Marc and Linda at the bottom. Then Paul and Noel start humming some song from The Hulk and I melt a little
SHOWSTOPPER ROUND: 3D Cake Bust of their Hero
- Must have a head, must be made mainly of cake.
- FOUR HOURS
Marc/Hamish (have we dropped the Hamish joke?) – making a chocolate and Vanilla Ziggy Stardust bust. Immediately struck by how little the sketch looks like Bowie.
Linda – making a Bob Marley busy of Lemon and Orange with a coconut rum mascarpone buttercream.
Laura – Lemon and Elderflower Freddie Mercury. Says the last time she made it, the head exploded.
Loriea – starts sneezing from too much chili – a possible harbinger of doom. Making a spicy bust of Louise Bennett-Coverly, a Jamaican poet. Says her poem about identity goes nicely with her “mismatch of accents”, that her first attempt looked like Dobby.
Sura – making Sir David Attenborough bus with coconut and raspberry italian meringue buttercream,
Mark – making a spiced ginger bust of Darwin.
Lottie – doing the smart thing and starting with a skull cake pan. Making a coconut and lime Louis Theroux, a British documentary filmmaker and journalist.
Rowan – making a chocolate cake Marie Antoinette with kir-soaked cherries and choux buns for her hair. His choux aren’t rising at one point.
Peter – Making Sir Chris Hoy with a helmet and goggles, with strawberry jam and whipped cream filling
Dave – making a strawberry, chocolate and mint Tom DeLonge from Blink 182, which sparks a chat with Noel about how much he likes Black Sabbath
Hermine – making Lupita Nyongo out of chocolate and almond, and some super creepy isomalt eyes.
Mak – Making Bill Bryson (a travel writer) out of lemon Madeira sponge.
While they’re assembling, it’s one of the most terrifying bunch of cakes I’ve ever seen. Everything is collapsing and cracking and melting, or looking like all of my baking nightmares at once. Laura is covered in black food coloring, none of these people are recognizable and the assembly of Freddie Mercury makes me lose a thumbnail.
Then Sura’s Sir David just dives onto the counter off the plate. She has to prop him up with a roll of what looks like trash bags, but is actually piping bags. She says “it’s a travel cushion!”
Rowan: had to use rice paper for Marie Antoinette’s hair. Paul points out there’s a pattern of overpromising and under delivering. They cut through her face and it’s kind of horrifying. The cherry flavor is complemented.
Lottie: Prue says it’s recognizable, Paul says he likes all the flavors but it’s bone dry.
Mak: they both say he’s recognizable, and tasty but DRY.
Linda: Bob doesn’t have a face. They both say it’s delicious, and the sponge is excellent.
Peter: Obviously not a sculpting kind of dude, because Sir Chris’ shoulders are linebacker-wide. Paul says it’s delicious, Prue agrees and says she likes the concept.
Dave: It looks like a Garbage Pail Kid (which causes me to have to take a break for a bit because I cannot stop laughing). The inside is weird colored, Prue says the mint is strong and chemical. Paul doesn’t like the texture.
Mark/Hamish: Bowie has melted into himself. The lightning bolt makeup is okay, but otherwise it’s a cake blob. Mark/Hamish says it’s very Jabba the Hutt and I don’t disagree. Prue says it’s dense, Paul says good flavor but slightly underbaked.
Hermine: puts “GUESS WHO” on her cake plate. Because nobody would know that is Lupita. The fondant is great but her face is not great. Paul says it’s rich and delicious
Mark: They say he’s recognizable, the cake is lovely with a good flavor and well-spiced.
Loriea: They say some accessories are recognizable but her face not so much. She starts listing off the ingredients and my throat starts to itch, because the only time I had a severe allergic reaction was to Scotch Bonnet chilis. There’s a lot of flavors and both of them take a bite and look like they’re going to cry. Too much chili and ginger.
Sura: They agree he looks recognizable, and both of them like the flavor.
Laura: looks like one of those playschool people. Laura seems to have an issue with exploding cakes. Prue loves it and Paul agrees after Laura pokes at him.
STAR BAKER: Peter