The nation and Twitter were gripped as #GBBO, Mary Berry, Paul Hollywood and Mel and Sue all trended on Twitter with over 70,000 tweets made in the opening episode of the show. We were back to familiar territory with the lovely marquee, but there was a new twist with 13 contestants rather than 12. Perhaps one week two bakers will have to sadly leave the show.
Amazingly the show started off with what seemed like a comparatively simple challenge. The bakers had to cook a twist on a classic sandwich cake. Surely any cook worth their salt can make a sandwich cake. But as Paul Hollywood said, “There’s nowhere to hide with a sandwich cake. If they burn it, if they sink it, if they don’t weigh it up correctly they’re in serious trouble”.
It was good to see the first gluten free cake making an appearance amongst the Victoria sandwiches, carrot cakes and grapefruit sandwiches. Well done to Howard for showing that rice flour can make for a very light bake.
Mary didn’t want to see a classic victoria sandwich filled with strawberry jam and cream. But guess what Glenn thought? ”I think Mary will love the classic nature of this strawberry and cream victoria sandwich”. Ultimately Paul thought it looked a bit awkward and too large. Although Mary said the moisture had run into the cake the immortal words “soggy bottom” were not heard.
My particular favourite was Frances whose sandwich cake literally looked like a sandwich as she used loaf shaped silicon moulds to make her cake, complete in a “paper bag” made from fondant icing. We also saw some creativity in Mark’s poppy and lemon seed cake which he was attempting to carve into the shape of a lemon. Sadly the bits he wanted to chop off were some of the few parts that were cooked!
The first episode was not without its casualties as blue plasters were handed out with gusto. Just more proof that baking a sandwich cake wasn’t as easy as it first appeared. Lucy, Christine and Howard all completed their cakes with injuries.
Mark had problems with the temperature setting on his oven. Ruby’s cream curdled on her rhubarb and custard cake leading to the first tears of the show. Luckily she got a comforting hug from Sue.
However most of the cakes scored well - particularly Lucy, Howard and Ali. Even though Paul did his best to not like some. There was tension when after a suitable dramatic pauses Paul announced: ”annoyingly I really liked it” about Beca’s grapefruit sandwich cake. ”It left a refreshing flavour in my mouth”.
Kimberley’s blood orange cake pictured above “tastes a lot better than it looks” according to Mary, which meant that I would have adored it as I thought it looked very pretty!
Robert’s pecan and apple cake was described as “neat” by Paul. ”A good flavour” said Mary.
Christine ran out of time at the end to complete the “weaving” in the icing on her basket cake with strawberries, but both judges were happy with the taste.
Next up was the first technical challenge. The contestants had to make an Angel Food Cake - so called because although it’s light and airy there’s no fat in the cake.
However, don’t think it’s completely angelic as it is topped with whipped cream and drizzled with a lemon and passion fruit curd.