The Great British Bake Off: Cake Week
September 14, 2022 12:17 PM - Season 13, Episode 1 - Subscribe

It's cake week, and the brand new batch of bakers tackle mini cakes, a striking sponge and a scaled-down version of a home close to their hearts.
posted by ellieBOA (33 comments total)

I wasn't expecting this one at all, I hope the patisserie is open tonight...
posted by Kyol at 1:10 PM on September 14 [1 favorite]

Since it's not on in the US until Friday, I will just say this week's Star Baker deserved it and is charming AF. This episode was really fun--it seems to me that everyone was funnier and looser than in recent years. Paul was funny and charming, which seems odd, because they've been playing up the steely-eyed gaze thing in recent seasons. Hopefully they will keep that up. These are home bakers--I want everyone to have as much fun as possible.
posted by ceejaytee at 4:45 AM on September 15 [6 favorites]

I will just say this week's Star Baker deserved it and is charming AF.

posted by ellieBOA at 11:10 AM on September 15 [1 favorite]

Did Paul lose a bet and now he has to say "Hero Flavour" fifty times before the end of the season?
posted by ewan at 3:14 PM on September 15 [12 favorites]


it seems to me that everyone was funnier and looser than in recent years

Is this the first series for a bit that wasn't filmed in a bubble? Because that must have been a weird and intense situation.
posted by Bloxworth Snout at 1:25 PM on September 16

Is this the first series for a bit that wasn't filmed in a bubble?

That’s probably it, there haven’t been strict rules in England for longer than a filming cycle would have taken.
posted by ellieBOA at 1:57 PM on September 16

This lot seems extremely snuggly with each other for it just being the first week. I'm here for it!
posted by merriment at 2:43 PM on September 16

Y'all lovely people who get these episodes early in the week should feel free to talk about the results as soon as it airs. US folk can stay out til we've watched the episode.

Everyone is adorable as always. Sandro, Janusz and Syabira seemed to be the standouts, but its early days.

The vastly differing heights of the red velvet cakes from the technical challenge cracked me up when they first made it to the table.

"I won star caker in the bake week!" awwww
posted by the primroses were over at 7:00 PM on September 16 [10 favorites]

It was nice to see someone who knew exactly what to do in the technical and come up with the top slot. The technical is always such a weak round for everyone. But I think it was happenstance and not expertise, so it's unlikely to happen again.
posted by briank at 7:33 PM on September 16

Does anyone know what that raptor is that they show between the signature and the technical? It was a beautiful bird.
posted by Carillon at 11:31 PM on September 16 [1 favorite]

It’s a Red Kite. They used to be very rare in the UK, but they’ve been the subject of a very successful reintroduction program. They have a habit of stealing laundry from washing lines, referenced in Shakespeare.
posted by Bloxworth Snout at 12:30 AM on September 17 [10 favorites]

I’m sure it was creative editing but I loved the various shots of side-eye after Dawn said with a chipper voice “oh I was a project manager for Boris Johnson!” Wonder where this filming schedule fell with respect to his rolling scandal train?

A million kudos to Syabira for making something with matcha that Paul didn’t talk shit about. Definitely was an early contender for my favorite even before the technical.

When Sandro was revealed to be not only a charming weightlifter but a charming weightlifter nanny who is so far one of the best bakers on the show, the friend I was watching with fell visibly in love on the spot.
posted by showbiz_liz at 10:47 AM on September 17 [6 favorites]

Another American chiming in to say spoil away below the fold; I know not to check in here before I've watched!

I loved the various shots of side-eye after Dawn said with a chipper voice “oh I was a project manager for Boris Johnson!”

Yeah, I noticed that this season was *very* immigrant heavy- 5 contestants born outside of the UK! And then um, yeah, someone who had worked for Boris Johnson. I generally like rooting for the older ladies but all that energy is going to go to Carole with her amazing hair.

I was very pleased for Janusz and it seems like someone told Paul to lighten up this season, what with him making a joke about the handshake, and also as noted above, the lack of "ew it tastes like grass" commentary on the matcha.
posted by damayanti at 11:49 AM on September 17 [5 favorites]

Sorry that's actually 6 immigrants! Sandro is apparently originally from Angola- I'm not sure if that got mentioned during the broadcast or not, but it's mentioned on his official bio.
posted by damayanti at 11:53 AM on September 17's just so fabulously fun and gently refreshing to have bakeoff back again!
posted by BlahLaLa at 7:21 PM on September 17

I found the opening so painful I almost stopped watching.
posted by miss-lapin at 8:42 PM on September 17 [6 favorites]

Yeah, I should just accept that they're never going to be good and skip through them, because _woof_ I think only one has ever really worked with the current crowd, the rest have been pretty lousy.
posted by Kyol at 10:02 AM on September 18 [2 favorites]

I've never found it quite this painful before. In the future, I will definitely skip it. I enjoyed the rest of the episode, but oof that was rough.
posted by miss-lapin at 11:49 AM on September 18

The cold opens haven't been good since Mel and Sue left. (And some of them were pretty bad too, but not this bad.)

That said, the show was as charming and mildly stressful as I remember, although I admit to being a bit caught off guard by Matt's weight-loss. I hope he hasn't been ill or something.
posted by suelac at 10:49 PM on September 18 [5 favorites]

Re Matt's weight loss - I happened upon a clickbaity article, it was intentional.

So much international flavor! And so few moans about it! Maybe I will buy the pandan essence next time I'm at the G Mart!
posted by cobaltnine at 9:06 PM on September 19 [3 favorites]

Not a huge Paul fan, but I did enjoy the self-handshake joke as a nice bit of self-awareness about that bit getting overdone recently.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 3:29 PM on September 20 [1 favorite]

Luckily, Kelsey and Chris performed very well in the signature and showstopper bakes. They advanced to Week 2. 😂

Thanks, fun read! You don’t need the archive link for Defector articles, you can close [x] the paywall popup.
posted by ellieBOA at 2:17 AM on September 21 [1 favorite]

That Defector thing is HYSTERICAL.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:12 AM on September 21 [1 favorite]

Wow, that Defector piece sure is a thing. Like I get that it makes for entertaining reading (and it does!) but I can't imagine attempting any baking project without actually being prepared or understanding how to substitute ingredients if necessary. Christ on a crutch.

In any case, it always amazes me how well things generally turn out in the tent, even in the early rounds when you know there are a few contestants who probably can't hack it. It was pretty clear from jump street that Will was outmatched in the baking department, and yet his showstopper was well-presented, if badly-baked.

I'm rooting hard for Janusz, Sandro, and Syabria here, and I hope Maxy can get her timing down so she doesn't have another undecorated showstopper, because I really like her as well.

As an American, one of the totally-ancillary things I really enjoy about GBBO is the incredible variety of accents. Especially in these early rounds, it's really a whirlwind. You couldn't come up with that kind of variety among a dozen American competitors unless you tried pretty hard.
posted by uncleozzy at 6:47 AM on September 21 [7 favorites]

I can't imagine attempting any baking project without actually being prepared or understanding how to substitute ingredients if necessary.

I can kind of see that happening, if someone has a bit of a haphazard attitude in their own kitchen and not much baking-specific experience. With other kinds of cooking, it's okay to substitute some things now and then - if you leave one of the vegetables out of a minestrone soup, for instance, or randomly swap in something else, you're going to still get soup and it will be okay. It's a little easier to be more free-form with that. But baking... you have to know what you can and can't substitute. "Baking is more like alchemy," as a friend of mine once said; several of the ingredients have specific functions, and you need to know a little bit about the science of baking in order to know what you can tinker with and substitute.

And that's why they call the technical challenges "technical challenges". They're not just testing "can this person make a red velvet cake", they're testing "does this person know enough about the science of baking to know how to make this kind of cake properly." That's why the ingredients the bakers get only say things like "make batter" as opposed to spelling out whether to whip ingredients together as opposed to folding them, or whatever.

If you bake a lot, you pick up some of that stuff; but not always. I bake a lot, but I tend to just slavishly follow recipes and not question why I am doing X as opposed to Y, so I've been able to figure out that "leaving out the chocolate chips you'll still be okay" but not "you need to fold these things together instead of just stirring real fast".

Also, I have the luxury of living close enough to a grocery store that if I were midway through a baking project and noticed "whoops, the cream's gone bad", I could run out and get it and come back. If I were on a time clock or the grocery store was closed or something, I'd probably end up panicking a little and doing some weird substitution idea like this. (Although: I'd probably Google it first; that's how I learned you can totally substitute a combination of melted butter and milk for cream.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:14 AM on September 21 [2 favorites]

Sure, but Defector wasn't running a technical challenge. They had the full recipe and time to shop! But abject failure (cherries and Campari! no cream!) makes for a more entertaining article than competent success (or even semi-success).
posted by uncleozzy at 7:28 AM on September 21

Yeah, I think the initial hubris and fail is part of the narrative journey. This appears to be intended as a series, so we'll see if they improve on the next challenge.

I do like that they seem to have a more complete recipe than the contestants got and STILL totally botched it. (No way the GBBO bakers got this much detail, and that seems to be the recipe Defector used.) But agreed they had to engineer some of their difficulties.

Technical challenges are hard, y'all.
posted by the primroses were over at 8:38 AM on September 21 [1 favorite]

Oh man, that Defector article is hilarious. In all honesty, it makes no sense that they would try a technical challenge without the right size pans, the whipping cream etc....why doom yourself to failure when you can fail properly using all the correct ingredients?
posted by victoriab at 10:19 AM on September 22 [2 favorites]

Sure, but Defector wasn't running a technical challenge. They had the full recipe and time to shop!

They had the full recipe and time to shop, but they also may have been careless and assumed they already had some ingredients they later discovered they didn't ("Oh, I already have that container of whipping cream, I'm good.....oh, crap, there's only a tablespoon in the carton? That's not enough! AAAAAAAUUUGGH!"). I know I've certainly made that mistake in the past, hasn't everyone?

Also: they had time to shop and the full recipe, but they also were sticking to the "time to bake" constraints in the contest. And those conditions also make some people a little panicky, and panic makes some people do stupid things.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:59 AM on September 22

I am in love with SO MANY PEOPLE this year! Sandro! Syabira! Janusz!

Noel is still a middle-school twit, but Matt continues to be a delight, and I’m glad to hear that he’s ok health-wise.
posted by rrrrrrrrrt at 11:43 AM on September 25

I am likely the only one who liked the cold open, but I love puns, the worse the better, so there you go! "Flan solo?" HAHAHAHAHA!!!
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 3:38 AM on September 26

Was kind of surprised that they tackled something so american as red velvet cake. Yum!
I would, though, just once like to see a cake week where fondant is completely banned from the tent. The cake week show stoppers inevitably come down to a “who can model fondant best?” contest.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:41 PM on September 28

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