TV Show Reviews

Recap of Cake Week: Bake Off Episode 1


I just want to say, I pretty much guessed all the challenges right for this week based on the teaser clips and trailer! Here were my predictions.

Signature: Drizzle Cake

The humble drizzle cake is a classic cake and one that cannot be beaten with its sugary crust and moist cake. And “ultimate moistness” was exactly what the judges wanted from these drizzle cakes. But with Mary wanting invention, some of the bakers took a trip around the whole M25 before deciding what they wanted to bake.


Val, Lee and Andrew stuck to the classic lemon drizzle cake with Val and Lee adding orange and Andrew adding rosemary. Louise used the same flavours as Val and Lee but is shaping her cake as an orange and is adding an alcoholic kick with Cointreau. But Paul catches her out as she is not technically doing a drizzle cake, instead just doing a Cointreau icing over the cake. But Lee’s butter for his cake is stuck in the Kitchenaid paddle – he should have taken Val’s tip of using margarine! It’s also good to see Kitchenaids back instead of the Kenwoods!

Kate says that “she’s happy now she’s got some cake for company” and that’s exactly how I feel about cake! Next we see the youngest baker Michael starting off his Lime, Ginger and Honey Drizzle Cake, a few junctions away from your classic lemon drizzle. Selasi is also adding cardamom to his cake to his citrus drizzle cake and he’s already won over a legion of fans over on Twitter with his calmness.

Kate and Candice are adding fresh fruit to their cakes to achieve that ultimate moistness before Kate tells us about the dimples in her bottom (the bottom of her tin that is!) and Candice explains her gluten-free cake. The supposedly healthy cake (and frankly healthy and cake do not belong together!) is based on rhubarb and custard. She’s poking in her custard too! Benjamina also has nuts in her drizzle cake, with a pistachio, cardamom and lemon drizzle.


Jane reveals that she’s left her ground almonds out! ARGH! So she’s got to remake the batter for her Lemon and Poppy Seed Drizzle Cake. She’s got an hour left which is more than enough time to get that cake made in time! Selasi also realises he’s forgotten his cinnamon! Meanwhile Val is dancing away whilst stirring and Tom is making the tonic curd for his drizzle cake. No that’s not something from Breaking Bad, it’s actually going into his G&T Drizzle Cake. Twitter swoons.

Andrew’s cakes have domed, Louise is testing her cakes and Val’s cakes are telling her that they’re not ready – no really, she’s listening to them speak! Mel tells us that if the sponges are overbaked, the drizzle cannot penetrate deep enough. And Louise has made the Page 3 of drizzle cakes! And Rav is going with a Ginger Spice Yuzu Drizzle Cake. At this point, drizzle has been said over 50 times and Andrew’s planning to evenly distribute his drizzle by measuring halfway down with a cocktail stick.

Val’s exercising in and everyone’s drizzling their cakes. Candice is being careful not to get the drizzle in her grooves and the Wet Cakes (apparently that’s what they’re called in Croydon) are suddenly being covered in a lot of icing – that’s not what I had in mind for a drizzle cake if I’m being honest. I’m missing a lot of the crunchy sugary tops that I was expecting to see however the requisite of the syrup drizzle was there in all the cakes. But now it’s the judging.


Benjamina gets away unscathed. Lee’s cake has an open but poor texture and Michael has made a good ginger cake but not a drizzle cake. Paul can’t find the blackberries in Kate’s cake and Tom overwhelms the judges and Sue with alcohol! Candice’s gluten-free cake has a stodgy pudding texture and Rav gets into a pickle with flavours. Andrew doesn’t have enough lemon in his cake and Louise has a dense cake. Val has a dry cake with no drizzle. Selasi has fantastic flavours and Jane gets lots of positive feedback with Mary saying “that’s a drizzle cake”


Technical Challenge: 12 Jaffa Cakes

With 2 hours to make these 12 Jaffa Cakes, they had plenty of time to do this and I know that becasue when I recreated this Technical Challenge at home, I only gave myself 90 minutes and I managed to finish in the time! And I don’t know anyone who has ever dunked a Jaffa Cake into a tea Paul! The disgust on Mary’s face is the same disgust I have when Paul pronounces Candice and Cand-eece!


The challenge starts with making the jelly as it needs time to set. The recipe calls for a block of orange jelly to be dissolved in water. Candice adds fresh orange juice to balance out the flavours. Next is the whisked sponge, made by whisking up eggs with sugar and folding through the flour. Unlike Jane and Benjamina, there is no need to whisk over heat since it’s just a whisked sponge and not a Genoise and you don’t need the extra air in this recipe as you don’t want it to rise too much. Andrew overfilled his tin so his cakes have a dome.

Val and Jane are debating what way to put their jellies on their sponges and Andrew has followed suit. Val has put hers on the right way and Jane has realised she’s done it wrong but Andrew is still doing them all wrong! Time for the judging.


Benjamina’s Jaffas look bad but taste good. Louise’s Jaffas are fairly uniform…ly bad. Oh Paul that’s just mean. Jane gets caught out with her mistake and Lee’s don’t look like Jaffa cakes! Kate and Tom get good reviews and Candice has a good jelly. Andrew gets chastised for his mistake and Rav has thick chocolate. Val’s cakes stuck and Selasi’s are neat.

Andrew finishes in last place. Next is Lee, followed by Val, Louise, Rav, Jane and Benjamina. Candice finished 5th with her good jelly and Kate is 4th. Tom finished 3rd and Michael finished just short of the top! Selasi finishes first. He’s had a great day.

Showstopper: Mirror Glaze Cake

The mirror glaze cake has been something of a trend in the last year. With even Instagram and Twitter videos of people glazing their cakes, everyone loves them. Simple? Nope. Not at all. The bakers are all using Genoise sponges, made by whisking eggs and sugar over hot water, folding through flour and melted butter. It should be the perfect cake for a layered cake like this.

Jane’s revising the Technical making a Jaffa Cake Cake. Louise is going for a mirror cake based on a white chocolate trifle with a raspberry creme pat! I want to stuff that in my face now! Benjamina is also going for a white chocolate glaze but is filling it with a salted praline meringue buttercream! Yes please!

Selasi’s approach is worrying me, mainly because he says he “doesn’t understand it, I’m just baking it”. This is wrong, baking is a science. You can’t really get away in baking without knowing what you are doing scientifically, like what effect the hot water has on the eggs in a genoise, why we knead bread or even why we add lemon juice into puff pastry! Rant over.

Andrew’s doing an Ultimate Indulgence Cake with an orange genoise and a salted caramel cream, hoping to redeem himself after his last place finish. Rav is going for a mocha inspired mirror cake and Michael is being extra trendy by going for a matcha cake. Anything I’ve ever tried matcha takes a bit of getting used to so this could be interesting! Mary doesn’t look impressed just smelling the sponge!

Candice’s sponges haven’t risen and she’s just thrown them to the side of the tent! Waste not, want not. Sue’s there in a flash! But she’ll have to work quickly if her Mirror Mirror cake is going to work! She’s not alone. Tom, Val, Michael and Benjamina are all redoing their sponges.

Tom clearly has a plan to get on Mary’s good side by lacing his bakes with alcohol, he’s got kirsch in his cake. But Lee is going for an extravaganza. He’s got 2 layers of ganache between his 4 layers of sponge before they’re coated with a chocolate glaze. Kate’s back to her fruit, making a gooseberry inspired cake covered in a bright blue glaze. EEK! Val’s got a lot of flavour in her frosting which will go in her chocolate cake.

Candice captures exactly how I feel about genoise with her mocking voice. The next stage is the crumb coat. Benjamin’s buttercream has split and has done everything twice. Jane’s smoothing out her ganache and Val tells us she bakes to relieve stress. We almost have a complete reincarnation of Baked Alaska Gate with everyone viaing for that one freezer space – like seriously you’ve brought back the Kitchenaids, what about a freezer! – as the bakers need their cakes cold to glaze them.

And we’ve got our first cry of the Bake Off from Benjamina over a split buttercream. Fair play to the editing team, this last 15 minutes of the bake is so tense! Candice almost recreates a Rob by dropping his cake but all the bakers are glazing and suddenly I’m back looping a mirror glaze video on Instagram not before Louise gives the bleep an appearance! And the bake is done!


Jane is first up and her cake is looking perfect. The decoration is exquisite and it’s so shiny and smooth! Jane, on the verge of tears, wows the judges with her elegant Jaffa cake. Rav’s next and he’s got a good shine on his mocha cake but his genoise is dry. Tom, ironically, didn’t put enough kirsch in his cake and Michael doesn’t impress with his grassy matcha cake. Kate’s blue glaze doesn’t get good reviews from Mary but the flavour is good.

Selasi’s glaze is not very shiny but it looks stunning with those layers. Val’s next and she’s got a brilliant shine on her cake but she’s got a strange buttercream. After a tiny bit of flirting between Val and Paul, Lee’s up next with his creation. Paul says it’s too simple, his genoise is dry as is his ganache. Oh dear. Louise doesn’t have a mirror glaze but the cake is fantastic. Benjamina is next and she’s got a great shine on the white chocolate glaze. What’s more, it’s delicious! Candice is driven to the verge of tears after her genoise sponges are deemed raw, despite a brilliant shiny glaze.

Last up is Andrew. And he smashes it out of the ballpark, or rather the Bake Off tent. He’s got good soft genoise layers and a fantastic shiny glaze. He’s married his flavours well and Paul and Mary are impressed. He’s saved himself.

In contention for Star Baker are Selasi, Benjamina and Jane. Everyone thinks it’s Selasi on Twitter. But Candice (or Cand-eece), Lee and Val are all up for elimination.

First, Jane is crowned Star Baker! She’s almost crying!

But the first baker eliminated is Lee! What a shame, he had a fairly standard week but everyone upped their game in that showstopper.

Thank god Val is safe. I can’t wait to see more of her! Well done Jane, I wasn’t expecting her to be Star Baker but well deserved too!

Star Baker: Jane


Eliminated: Lee


Highlight of the Episode: Mel asking Candice where she got her orange juice from, Candice replied “from the orange”.

Innuendo of the Episode: The drizzle can’t penetrate deep enough.

Next week is Biscuit Week. You can find out what the challenges are going to be here.


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