The Great British Bake Off: 7.01 Sponge Week

Summer is nearly over, the kids are nearly back at school and Great British Bake Off is back. First impressions are vital so whose talent would rise and whose hopes would be flattened? They all looked so nervous yet so full of hope; for some the tent was a magical wonderland, for others a white house of baking terror. Their first Signature Challenge was a drizzle cake with the key word being moist, and so began the innuendo.

There was Val; a nervy, smiling Somerset nan who works out while baking and listens to her cakes. Alas, her Mum’s Orange and Lemon Drizzle Cake was deemed dry. Andrew looked incorruptibly young and with experience he will add more lemon to his Lemon and Rosemary effort. Louise, the Cardiff hair stylist, produced an Orange Liquor and Lemonade Death Star while Candice went for a Gluten Free Raspberry and Rhubarb Custard Bundt Cake, both failed to be moist enough.

Rav quickly cut himself though his Ginger Spice and Yuzu (a Japanese fruit apparently no-one has heard of) Drizzle Cake came with a warning from Paul, not to watch his fingers but flavours. Another one already in trouble was Lee with his disappointingly dry St Clements Orange and Lemon. Baby of the group was Michael, the 19 year old economics student who produced the best... Ginger Cake. Oops. Tom managed to go one better and actually killed the flavour in his Gin and Tonic cake with so much booze that even Mary was saddened.

Early gold stars went to Kate for her use of a Cox apple (yes, Bake-Off, innuendo, you know the drill) and Selasi for being so damn cool despite his outlandish Citrus and Spice Drizzle Cake. Benjamina was complimented for great flavour in her Pistachio, Cardamom and Lemon Drizzle Cake while Jane forgot the ground almonds in her Lemon and Poppy Seed but still got a very good from Paul.

Next up, the Technical which was to produce 12 identical Jaffa Cakes. I guess this settles the ‘are they cake or biscuit debate?’ then if Bake Off says so. Thankfully they did not involve the ‘but is the jelly apricot or orange flavoured?’ debate. At least Mary ensured Paul got a deserved look of revulsion when he dipped one in his brew, the philistine. Arguments aside, Selasi triumphed with his evenly baked and well finished spoils while Andrew was last, mainly because his were unforgivably upside down.

Finally, the Showstopper which was a Genoese Mirror Glaze Cake, you know, the heavenly light ones you can see your face in. Lee really needed to pull it out of the bag but kept his Strawberry Surprise simple and dry so it was bye bye. Of those who survived, Val somehow got away with adding the wrong white powder to the Four Fruit Frosting in with her Chocolate Sponge and Candice’s sponges were so rubbery they produced a satisfying splat when thrown against the side of the tent. At least Tom saw the error of his ways yet his Cherry Jam and Kirsch Black Forest actually needed MORE booze this time.

Of those to keep their cool, Selasi did not even gush when Paul gave him the joyful silence before calling his Raspberry, Sloe and White Chocolate beautifully flavoured, he is certainly one to watch. Andrew’s Ultimate Indulgence looked stunning while Kate’s Gooseberry and White Chocolate looked like a bright blue homage to Breaking Bad. For some reason Jane went for further torture and another go at the Jaffa Cake with her Chocolate Orange Cake but pulled it off with Paul calling it beautiful and elegant, enough for her to claim the first Star Baker.