The Great British Bake Off: Cake Week
September 23, 2021 12:16 PM - Season 12, Episode 1 - Subscribe

Twelve new contestants make their way into the famous tent, hoping they have what it takes to bake their way to the final. They start off with cake week, and a signature challenge in which they must produce 12 mini rolls, before working out the recipe for a nostalgic teatime classic in the technical, and finally, a gravity defying showstopper.
posted by ellieBOA (25 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
Yaaaay! Anti-gravity cakes were such bullshit, but a good first round otherwise.
posted by Kyol at 1:58 PM on September 23 [3 favorites]


Oh and they were very proud of that song, weren’t they.
posted by Kyol at 2:04 PM on September 23 [5 favorites]


Oy yeah that needed a fast-forward. Otherwise, enjoyable episode.
posted by supercres at 2:26 PM on September 23 [4 favorites]


I hate it when they do stunt bakes that aren’t -baking- stunts.

Have any of us ever had a Malt Loaf? Please describe.
posted by janell at 7:05 PM on September 23 [2 favorites]


Malt loaf is sticky, fruity, squishy and very dark. I've only had the commercially produced version (Soreen) but it's great. The GBBO versions looked a lot lighter in colour and more loafy in texture. Would still try them, though.
posted by Martha My Dear Prudence at 1:08 AM on September 24 [1 favorite]


It’s a very sticky, gooey, fruit loaf. I’d never thought about how it was made, but it makes sense that it has malt extract and treacle in it, because it’s in the tradition of British dried fruit breads like tea loaf or bara brith, but darker, stickier and more flavoursome.
posted by Bloxworth Snout at 1:09 AM on September 24


I don’t know if the US has as much of a tradition of these things which are effectively cakes but are treated as a kind of bread, i.e. you cut a slice and spread it with butter. Maybe they would have originally been yeasted before the invention of baking powder, and that’s why we still think of them as bread? I don’t know. Americans seem less keen on baking with dried fruit generally.
posted by Bloxworth Snout at 1:22 AM on September 24


The anti-grav cake seemed like a pretty intense show-stopper for episode 1 but it really weeded out the bakers who couldn't handle the challenge. I was surprised how much they liked Jurgen's book/lamp cake as I thought both of the flower cakes looked more impressive (although I guess the lamp would have been trickier). We do like Jurgen though.
I thought the idea that anyone under 40(?) wouldn't know malt loaf was bizarre - Soreen is a pretty well-known brand and I'm sure plenty of people under 40 have had it in their lunchbox.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 2:59 AM on September 24


How do they manage to cast the loveliest people on the planet, year after year? I will never stop missing Sue and Mel, though.

I was so glad that the first two challenges were not too insane, although that showstopper was brutal. The last couple of years have kind of gone off the rails with impossible challenges and timelines so tight that even a momentary delay will sink the entire bake. Bake Off is better when we get to watch people do things that are fiddly but achievable.
posted by merriment at 6:43 AM on September 24 [7 favorites]


My only reservation about Jürgen's book+lamp was the construction of the lamp. They didn't cut into it at all! And the way he described it, with multiple discs holding it together, I'm not sure if they would have been able to.

Big on Jürgen, Giuseppe, and Crystelle early on. Freya's accent is a trip and I'm interested to see how she'll fare with pastry sans butter, and being unable to taste most (?) of the technicals.
posted by supercres at 1:19 PM on September 24 [6 favorites]


Yeah, those are my Top Four as well, but a bad day can take down even the best bakers. I hope Maggie does well. Often the "Grandma" baker flames out early.
posted by briank at 7:00 PM on September 24


Dear GOD that song thing at the start was cringey. They don't have to do that kind of nonsense.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:23 PM on September 24 [10 favorites]


I'm already over the jokes that Maggie and Prue look alike. There's a bit of resemblance but it's no where near the level that this joke needs to continue.
posted by Carillon at 9:48 PM on September 24 [7 favorites]


How many days does it take them to film a season? I thought I heard Prue say that the joke was going to get old if it went on the whole ten days. Do they actually do each episode's 3 challenges on the same day? Or was she just maintaining the illusion? I always assumed they did the opposite of the tv-game shows where they film multiple episodes on one day and have everyone change clothes between episodes, and instead film the challenges on separate days but have everyone wear their same outfits until the next episode's challenges. Depending on the hours per challenge, there wouldn't be enough natural light to finish in a day, and I was under the impression that British tv filming doesn't allow for as much exploitative overtime demands on their crews as the US does.
posted by oh yeah! at 3:45 AM on September 25


I just watched it now and she said "Is this going to be a running joke for ten weeks" (a bit hard to make out because the others starting chiming in at the end).

They used to film the first two challenges on Saturdays and the showstopper on Sunday, with contestants going back home between weekends. (And yeah, wearing the same clothes over both days, the logistics of which seem potentially complex.) Last year's covid measures changed that and they all ended up living together and filming on a condensed but still long schedule (6 weeks?). Not sure if they're doing the same thing this year...
posted by trig at 5:57 AM on September 25


Last year was definitely 6 weeks, per the video segments with the fam in last season’s Final.
posted by janell at 6:57 PM on September 25


Is Freya a Kardashian or something? I thought the vocal fry was a uniquely American abomination.
posted by Don.Kinsayder at 7:19 PM on September 25


Nah, just like needless policing of the voices and speech patterns of young women, vocal fry is an international thing.

Jürgen's showstopper wasn't the most spectacular (Freya and Crystelle both had fantastic decoration and Giuseppe's was the most gravity defying, in my opinion), but it seemed like he had great flavors and textures for both the signature and showstopper. However, I like to think he was awarded star baker for his patience while Matt Lucas sang his German translation of the Flinstones theme at him. Not quite as bad as the achy breaky heart parody, but at least that skit wasn't foisted on the bakers during a challenge.

The contestants are so charming, and we never get to see enough of the baking process, so it kills me how much time this show wastes on terrible comedy bits. Still, glad to have it back!
posted by the primroses were over at 7:42 AM on September 26 [18 favorites]


I loved "I'm a very happy Jürgen indeed".

I didn't love the weird "eat your own cake and judge it" moment - it felt oddly hostile and aggressive!
posted by trig at 11:52 AM on September 26 [1 favorite]


I didn't love the weird "eat your own cake and judge it" moment - it felt oddly hostile and aggressive!

It was odd, and I thought it was leading up to either a 🤝 or a verdict of disappointment, but in retrospect I think it was kind of a nod at “deferring to the expert”, i.e. the dude from the Schwarzwald
posted by supercres at 2:48 PM on September 26 [1 favorite]


in retrospect I think it was kind of a nod at “deferring to the expert”, i.e. the dude from the Schwarzwald

I think that was the intent and it could have been really nice, but then intent collided with Paul's need to be the cool authority figure before whom all must tremble or something and resulted in weird glaring and patronizing. The taste of the niceness was lost among the other ingredients!

(In summary they should replace Paul sometime)
posted by trig at 12:45 AM on September 27 [1 favorite]


I was very interested to see the aquafaba cake seemed to go over okay, I'll be curious to see how well other vegan substitutes do--Paul doesn't seem like the type to cut any slack if something doesn't taste like he expects it should, while Prue has apparently at least published some vegan recipes using aquafaba.
posted by skewed at 6:17 AM on September 28


The mention of aquafaba just brought to my own mind the factoid someone posted in one of the bean FPP's - that it can cause the same....intestinal issues that beans can. So they said "aquafaba cake" but I kept thinking "you mean....a fart cake."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:46 AM on September 28


I don’t know if the US has as much of a tradition of these things which are effectively cakes but are treated as a kind of bread, i.e. you cut a slice and spread it with butter. Maybe they would have originally been yeasted before the invention of baking powder, and that’s why we still think of them as bread? I don’t know. Americans seem less keen on baking with dried fruit generally.

The Malt Loaf reminds me of my mother's Date-Nut Bread, which is usually served with cream cheese and not butter. Banana Bread is a perennial favorite here (probably because it is a perfect use for overripe nanners), and Zucchini Bread also had a moment of popularity in the 90s and 00s.

I hate it when they do stunt bakes that aren’t -baking- stunts.

I agree, but I felt like this case was not too bad. My wife bakes cakes semi-professionally, and this is the kind of stuff you might get asked for as a hobbyist baker for a kid's party or a going-away party. The time limit was ridiculous, but that's the case with every single challenge on the show.

Dear GOD that song thing at the start was cringey. They don't have to do that kind of nonsense.

They always do a terrible little skit at the beginning of the season. I think last year Matt did a Boris parody? Noel looked... kind of good in a mullet?

Love Freya, Crystelle, Jurgen and Guiseppe. Also like George and Lizzie seems fun. I can't believe they didn't send Jairzeno (amazing name, BTW) and his attempt at vertical layers home.

Eh, no one’s policing anything. I find vocal fry annoying. Men affect it too.

You might not realize that you are contributing to a double standard when you call it out.
posted by Rock Steady at 9:21 AM on September 28 [7 favorites]


I really hate the “build a thing out of cake” challenges, they never turn out well and are just not interesting.

I did enjoy the malt loaf technical (never heard of it before but it sounds like it might be good?) and everyone’s bemusement at the Prue/Maggie meeting of poshnesses.
posted by exceptinsects at 7:22 PM on October 1


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