The Great British Bake Off: Cake Week
September 4, 2018 5:02 PM - Season 9, Episode 2 - Subscribe

It's Cake Week, with a Tray Bake Signature Challenge, Le Gateau Vert Technical Challenge, and a Chocolate Collar Showstopper
posted by damayanti (32 comments total)
 
I am, frankly, impressed at how many of those collars got on and stayed on given the heat. I'm wondering if they gave them all a bit more freezer time after everything was said and done? Because I'm not sure how else Manon's collar would've managed to set otherwise.
posted by damayanti at 5:04 PM on September 4 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure how else Manon's collar would've managed to set otherwise.

When Manon's chocolate was refusing to set, she kept hitting it with a can of cooling / setting spray -- I think that's partly why she had such trouble removing the acetate, since the spray bonded and set the chocolate to the cake, but also bonded and set the chocolate to the acetate.
posted by halation at 1:01 AM on September 5 [2 favorites]


I am in awe because I probably would have rage-quit any attempt to set a chocolate collar up during this summer. Hell, I refused to do a decorative fondant lace overlay on a cake in my own kitchen because it would have been a revolting, sticky mess by the time it was served.
posted by halcyonday at 5:03 AM on September 5 [2 favorites]


Does the Le Gateau Vert taste like spinach?
posted by Julnyes at 8:43 AM on September 5


Huh, apparently there is some internet kerfuffle about that stuck acetate. I'd not have thought to call it 'cheating' because serving a cake with a sheet stuck to it is hardly going to win one points, but even so, it wouldn't have made enough difference to save poor Luke. Hell, even if he'd left his own cake's acetate on, I doubt it'd have stayed upright.

Speaking of Luke, and thinking back to Terry's poor lambs in the first episode's Signature Bake, I've been wondering: is taking the heat of the tent into account not part of the meta for contestants? Like: it's going to be hot. This is known, and this has been known for many seasons of GBBO now. You're baking in a group under TV lighting in a tent in the summer. Signatures and Showstoppers are, largely, open to the contestant's choice. Why would you set yourself up to fail with ingredients that wilt in heat? Play to your strengths, yes, but if you don't have to use super-melty buttercream or fiddly tempered chocolate work, maybe don't take the risk unless the weather forecast seems remotely friendly?
posted by halation at 1:17 PM on September 5


Play to your strengths, yes, but if you don't have to use super-melty buttercream or fiddly tempered chocolate work, maybe don't take the risk unless the weather forecast seems remotely friendly?

I think I remember reading somewhere that they submit their recipe ideas in advance for the whole season, maybe even as part of the final audition process? So they probably have a tricky balance between "I want to show off that I can do chocolate work really well!" and "Oh god what if it all melts in the tent" which may tilt towards the former if you're really trying to get on.
posted by damayanti at 1:32 PM on September 5 [2 favorites]


Huh, apparently there is some internet kerfuffle about that stuck acetate.

I knew as soon as she did really well in week 1 that as a young attractive (foreign) woman people would be giving her shit at any opportunity, as per usual for GBBO.

They also let Terry off lightly and he only had half a fucking Eiffel tower! Where's the kerfuffle about that?

I'm wondering if they gave them all a bit more freezer time after everything was said and done?

Everything looked so well set at the judging that I think they must have done.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 2:28 PM on September 5 [2 favorites]


They also let Terry off lightly and he only had half a fucking Eiffel tower! Where's the kerfuffle about that?

somehow the internet has decided that Terry is this season's Precious Cinnamon Roll whom they must #ProtectAtAllCosts and I just do. not. get. it. and anyway what point could anybody see in stanning Terry when there is Rahul who is a SCIENTIST but also has a HEART he is PRECIOUS and if he doesn't make it to the final i may in fact actually cry
posted by halation at 3:27 PM on September 5 [1 favorite]


I don't think English summer weather is that predictable when people have been at times in sweaters and others "practically stripped to the waist." I don't think they can choose to set up a sugar challenge on a humid day or etc. because it's weather, general lack of predictability is the hallmark trait.

As for scandals, accidentally stumbling into Paul Hollywood kissing photos has already permanently scarred me so I can barely look at him. Never looking into any bake off kerfuffle again.
posted by provoliminal at 3:46 PM on September 5


Okay, something this American has wondered for a while now -

What exactly is a "tray bake"?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:11 PM on September 5


The closest American equivalent of "traybake" is probably the bar cookie -- although bar cookies are typically, well, more like a cookie, or pastry if you're fancy (like lemon bars), with a shortbread-type base. Historically Americans have been into this whole concept, although cookie cultures came along with various immigrants over the years. Bar cookies are particularly popular for bake sales or potlucks, which seem to be more common in the US than in other places, and you can eat them with your hands, so they're less fussy and they scale well for larger gatherings. Plus bar cookies often have a strong no-bake or refrigerator-dessert-type influence, thanks in part to the legacy of early-to-mid-20th-century convenience cooking; a lot of recipes for them come from that period and involve condensed milk and similar.

Traybakes get claimed by Northerners mostly, and can be similar to bar cookies, and there's a lot of no-bake crossover, but a traybake base is often closer in spirit to cake than a cookie (even if it's a refrigerator cake or 'no-bake' cake; weirdly, despite not being baked, these can still be 'traybakes'). They're often sliced and plated and eaten with a fork, where bar cookies are more like finger food. Traybakes are sometimes most akin to, like, an overgrown plate of petit fours -- maybe due to French influence, or the desire to have something fancy for tea. It's a similar idea in both cases, and they fulfill similar social-eating niches, but slight differences in social culture mean slight differences in style, I would guess.

Because the British are ridiculous, "traybake" can literally mean "you bake it in a tray," and even casseroles or one-pot meals get called "traybakes" occasionally. Like, lasagna could be called a traybake? But mostly they're sweet, not savoury, and I feel like if you made a Venn diagram of "traybake" and "bar cookie" you'd end up with "fancy brownies" in the middle, if that helps.

anyway the Nanaimo bar is definitely better than any bar cookie *or* traybake
posted by halation at 8:49 PM on September 5 [3 favorites]


I have taken an irrational dislike to Terry. It's completely irrational but there you are. I want his artist/bee keeping/Snidley Whiplash moustache gone.

I was very happy for Rahul, he's clearly better than he thinks he is. I am sure it wasn't his idea to apply.

Current prediction is a Briony, Dan and Manon final.
posted by DoveBrown at 11:17 PM on September 5




Thank you halation, for such a thorough explanation - and I'm actually now tempted to go on a whole deep dive into the food history of the term to boot. Thanks!
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:49 AM on September 6


Actually, another cake-related GBBO question in general.

For lack of a better word....are there just a greater number of named cake varietals in the UK? What I mean is: every so often the technical challenge will be some kind of cake where half the contestants are like "I've never even heard of this" and I'm like "yeah, me either," but....then there are signature challenges where it's like "make us your signature version of a [blah] cake", and everyone gets to work and they all happily talk about how they're putting X spin on a [blah] cake or they're sticking with a classic version of a [blah] cake, and....I realize that I don't know what a [blah] cake is either.

For instance: two that tripped me up recently were "lemon drizzle" cake, and "Madeira" cake. Honestly, when they first mentioned the Madeira cake I would have thought it involved wine for some reason - but the hosts were coming around and everyone was talking about a citrus element to their cake. And I still am not clear what a "lemon drizzle" cake is.

But from watching the shows in question, and seeing how those particular cakes were constructed, I think they'd both be referred to as "lemon cake" here in the US, even though they're using different techniques - lemon's involved, lemon's the flavor, so we'd probably call it a "lemon cake" and be done with it. So we may just have a much more rudimentary Linnean cake naming system here in the US.

However, I'm also not certain whether there may be a bit of "baking nerd" thing going on, where serious bakers would absolutely know the difference between a lemon drizzle and a Madeira cake, but most other people don't care. So - is this a case where UK people know what a Madeira cake is, or is this a baking nerd thing?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:38 PM on September 6


I think most British people — or if not most, certainly plenty of non-bakers — would have a good idea of what a Madeira cake or a lemon drizzle cake should be like, even if they wouldn’t know what went into it.

More generally, there are a lot of local specialties (from the days when people travelled a lot less), as well as regional names for things. It’s like the Charles de Gaulle gag "How can anyone govern a nation that has two hundred and forty-six different kinds of cheese?”
posted by Bloxworth Snout at 12:17 AM on September 7 [1 favorite]


And I still am not clear what a "lemon drizzle" cake is.

Make a lemon sponge cake (usually in a loaf tin), after cooking poke holes in the top with a skewer and pour over lemon syrup (this is the "drizzle"), then top with lemon icing. It is Very Good (assuming you like lemon). If it didn't have the syrup poured over we'd probably call it just "lemon cake" too - but the drizzle is key here.

I don't know what a Madeira cake is past some kind of sponge cake.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 2:42 AM on September 7


EmpressCallipygos - It's true that I don't think there's been a bake (aside from the technicals) that I've not at least heard of. But it could just be terminology differences between UK and US. Like the dismay I felt when flicking through a book my wife had bought in Seattle on coffee cake, having excitedly expected a compendium of different types of coffee cake, but finding it had not one single recipe for coffee cake (i.e. a cake with coffee as the main flavouring).
posted by chill at 3:28 AM on September 7 [4 favorites]


There might be a mix of "Linnean cake difference" and "elevator/lift" stuff going on -

Like the dismay I felt when flicking through a book my wife had bought in Seattle on coffee cake, having excitedly expected a compendium of different types of coffee cake, but finding it had not one single recipe for coffee cake (i.e. a cake with coffee as the main flavouring).

As I've encountered it, "coffee cake" in the US is more like, a slightly-less-fancy cake you can have as a snack with coffee in the afternoon. It's not frosted, usually, and it's kinda simple; usually there's some kind of streusel or crumb topping. In that case "coffee" is more a descriptor of the suggested accompanying beverage than a descriptor of the flavor.

Make a lemon sponge cake (usually in a loaf tin), after cooking poke holes in the top with a skewer and pour over lemon syrup (this is the "drizzle"), then top with lemon icing. It is Very Good (assuming you like lemon). If it didn't have the syrup poured over we'd probably call it just "lemon cake" too - but the drizzle is key here.

I think mayyyyyybe some US recipes would call that a "poke cake"? Depends on the amount of drizzle you put on. I think the "poke cakes" get named that more so when you're supposed to really see the drizzle seeping in, and the holes poked into it are large enough to make the drizzled-in bits distinct when you cut into it.

An earlier episode also confused me when everyone was ordered to make "quick breads", and everyone then made various kinds of soda bread. In the US, "Quick bread" is more commonly used to describe a sweet thing, that's basically a cake baked in a loaf tin; if you take a muffin batter and throw it in a loaf tin, that's a "quick bread" in the US.

....This is verging into "get your own blog" territory, but this has actually helped me a lot, so thank you for indulging me and I'll stop now. :-)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:52 AM on September 7 [2 favorites]


EmpressCallipygos, the reason you associate Madeira cake with wine is because Madeira wine is a thing! It's an old-fashioned fortified wine that comes from the Madeira Islands in Portugal. And I'm pretty sure Madeira cake suffers from the exact same confusion as the coffee cake above--it doesn't contain Madeira, but was traditionally served with Madeira, after a meal.
posted by merriment at 5:17 AM on September 7 [5 favorites]


cake you can have as a snack with coffee in the afternoon

This is literally how I consume all cake.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 6:16 AM on September 7 [3 favorites]


There has gotta be a GBBO fan blog out there from the perspective of a US watcher who's all "here's a running list of the cakes that maybe we haven't ever heard of because we're not British, FYI" or something. I'm gonna start looking for one.

....And I've decided I'm going to make a Breton Butter Cake this weekend just because, dammit.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:08 AM on September 7


I think I remember reading somewhere that they submit their recipe ideas in advance for the whole season, maybe even as part of the final audition process?

On the other hand, how does this allow the flexibility for bakers like Frances Quinn who was constantly walking a tightrope between presentation and flavor? I suppose she could have fiddled with the presentation and flavor profiles after submission.

I keep sort of expecting Kim-Joy to go out in a durian-flavored blaze of glory. Lovely bakes, unusual flavorings.

And yeah, it is only by the grace of god that Terry hasn't already left the tent. Maybe they're hoping for another S3 Brendan once he finds his tent-legs, as it were?
posted by Kyol at 7:26 AM on September 7


Like the dismay I felt when flicking through a book my wife had bought in Seattle on coffee cake, having excitedly expected a compendium of different types of coffee cake, but finding it had not one single recipe for coffee cake (i.e. a cake with coffee as the main flavouring).

The US does have that! But it's called "mocha cake." I always think of coffee cake as a morning/breakfast type of cake, rather than an afternoon cake, but that may be regional or cultural. It does seem to have become a term indistinguishable from/interchangeable with "crumb cake," at least in my experience; coffee cakes are almost always crumb cakes, and cakes that should fit the "coffee cake" brief are often not described that way -- pound cakes and so on. Or banana bread -- which is not even a bread!

All this does make a kind of sense, though, or at least seems to be a naming convention across borders: tea cake, coffee cake, madeira cake... Though when protein gets involved, things switch, and you do end up with chicken madeira, or chicken marsala, I suppose.

And yeah, it is only by the grace of god that Terry hasn't already left the tent.

I feel like he'll be going out when bread week happens, but one can never be sure. I kind of assume, in this day and age, that contestants are focus-grouped or otherwise cross-tabbed for popularity, and I'm not sure which boxes Terry ticks, but dang, he has been getting awfully lucky in my opinion, and I don't entirely know why.
posted by halation at 9:29 AM on September 7


I don't think English summer weather is that predictable when people have been at times in sweaters and others "practically stripped to the waist." I don't think they can choose to set up a sugar challenge on a humid day or etc. because it's weather, general lack of predictability is the hallmark trait.

It's always baffled me why the tent isn't temperature/humidity-controlled. Those sorts of tent structures are pretty common, and would it go a long way to help minimize the effect of weather on the proceedings.
posted by Thorzdad at 1:46 PM on September 8 [1 favorite]


I just watched the Madeira sponge challenge from season 3 (and got really confused when one guy said he was flavoring his with gin), and when they were done, they looked just like (American) pound cakes. Are Madeira cakes dry and fluffy like an angelfood, or denser and buttery like poundcake?
posted by basalganglia at 4:48 PM on September 8


Madeira cake is a spongecake somewhere between a poundcake and regular yellow birthday-type cake in consistency -- it's lighter than most US poundcake that I've had, and the butter : flour ratio in most recipes is closer to that of yellow cake than to poundcake (which is to say more flour, less butter).

Fun fact: Madeira actually has its *own* traditional cake, quite unlike these 'Madeira cakes': bolo de mel
posted by halation at 6:32 PM on September 8


I didn't do the technical challenge this week; I'd have had to order pistachio essence, and nearly half a kilo of chopped pistachio kernel would have been rather expensive for a fairly small cake! I also like to take my efforts into work to share and I'm not sure how well a green cake would have gone down, so instead I did one of the signature bakes for which a recipe was posted: Terry's 'All at Sea' Rum and Raisin Traybake. The result came out looking OK and taste feedback was very positive.

As for temperatures, this interview suggests that it was an ongoing problem. I've had experience of air-conditioning large tents, although perhaps trying to evenly cool such a large area might have been difficult, and I can imagine that the noise could have been a problem for filming.

However well she ends up doing, I hope Briony follows in Nadiya's footsteps and gets her own baking show. Her infectious enthusiasm is an utter delight.
posted by Major Clanger at 3:06 AM on September 9 [3 favorites]


Wikipedia has a very informative list of cakes (with pictures!).
posted by elsietheeel at 12:01 PM on September 9


Chocolate challenges in the heat of the tent during the last few seasons always make me nervous. Drama or not, I just want good cakes!

I think I like most of the cast this season already, which is impressive, considering we're just two episodes in. Briony is a delight, and I think Dan is great too. I also like Manon's flavors a lot -- they sound very appealing to me on a deeply personal level.

It's good to have Bake-Off back, and now I want to try my hand at a traybake.
posted by PearlRose at 1:41 PM on September 10 [1 favorite]


I've also wondered if the lack of temperature control in the tent has to do with noise. But honestly I think at this point it's just a way to passively spur drama.

I think I remember reading somewhere that they submit their recipe ideas in advance for the whole season, maybe even as part of the final audition process?

If this is true, they must still have some freedom to make changes as they go, right? I'm sure I remember times in previous seasons where a contestant said they planned the week's bake based on earlier feedback from the judges. But it would make sense to ask them to submit at least a draft plan for everything.
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:39 PM on September 11


I would really like a set of recipes of the various types of sponge that are treated as common bases in GBBO (Victoria, Genoise, etc) so that I can try making all of them and have a better idea of the differences.
posted by ocherdraco at 9:21 PM on September 19 [2 favorites]


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