Bake-Off recap #1.2

21/08/2012 — Leave a comment

It’s Rum Baba time! Look at this don, I’m not even mad at him for being part of the 1%.


The technical challenge is basically where Paul Hollywood trolls the bakers by giving them an incomplete recipe and expects them to fill in the blanks with guesswork. This week it’s Rum Baba, I have no idea what that is but apparently it’s a yeasty loaf cake with a little dimple in the middle for you to put cream and fruit and rum inside.

Cathryn clearly knows as much about Rum Babas as I do.

Natasha thinks she’s got the upper hand because she once saw a picture of a rum baba. I once saw a picture of a jet engine, but that doesn’t mean I could build one. Bitch thinks she’s Johnny 5.

Adorable Hipster James is getting ahead of himself, as he’s actually made a rum baba before (take that, Natasha!) but he used whiskey instead of rum, because he’s Scottish. Really? The incomprehensible accent and fairisle jumper did nothing to give you away.

Victoria makes her first faux-pas, lining her baba dish with butter and flour instead of butter and sugar, what a buffoon! Meanwhile confirmed bachelor Brendan’s dough is too thick to pipe, so he’s made it into a crude sausage and is fingering it into his baba ring. (pause) Mel asks him if he was a bit of a “groovester” when he was younger, to which he replies “No, but I did like Gloria Gaynor, and I was known for my dips at the disco”  she then urges him “Dip for me Brendan!”

Mel is doing the rounds and goes over to Danny, an intensive care consultant, and says that it’s a ‘no pants moment’ for her, which is better left without context. As the recipe doesn’t clearly state how the babas should be cooked, people are coming up with all kinds of crazy ways to cook them. Brandon has covered his with a tea towel and now has to unpeel them like the hotpants off a go-go dancer at a Pride parade, meanwhile Natasha has opted to cook her babas in a bain marie, which I’m pretty sure is French for ‘Cake bath.’

☞ John is a camp ex-Oxford student who dropped out of Oxford to study in Manchester. He views baking as the latest fashion “I can still go out clubbing, but then come home and make a cake, what’s wrong with that?” — Setting off the fire alarms in your student halls at 2am, that’s what.

John’s made a right briney balls-up of his babas, and salted them instead of sugaring them, what a boob! Natasha’s baba’s are ba-ba-ba-bad and at this point they’re essentially just crumbs and cream, she tries to gloss over this by piping whipped cream all over them, but we all know anything she does from this point on is just a finger in the dike. (That’s what Sue Perkins said, hi-yo)

☞ Peter is a blah blah blah blahjdkhfakfdh. He does some kind of office job, and spices up his life by baking cakes for his business meetings and Blue Peter Bring ‘n’ Buy sales or something.

Peter is imprisoning his babas in an impenetrable fortress of caramel because he is unsatisfied with his home life.


Hollywood is BREWIN’ at Peter for having the audacity to build a sugar cage and smashes them all with a spoon to which Mary Berry responds with “He is so unkind.” 

Otherwise I think it went well.

Here is the league table of Babas. It’s a bit like the football league table, except that it is not at all like the football league table.

1. Sarah-Jane

2. Adorable Hipster James

3. Peter

4. Victoria

5. Cathryn

6. Manisha

7. Danny

8. Ryan

9. Stuart

10. Brendan

11. John

12. Natasha

Let’s just all take a moment to remember this picture, because the next time we see it will be in the tabloid media, when Cathryn finally snaps and commits a Murder/Suicide. Well that is the Technical Challenge over and done with and the bakers retire to their rooms to rest or presumably in Cathryn’s case, stub cigarettes out on her arms for some sweet relief to the tedious burden of life itself. Hollywood and Mary get busy picking favourites to win so they can get down to William Hill before they change the odds; their money is on either Victoria or Sarah-Jane for now.


This image isn’t from the show, it’s just something I found on Pinterest. Now that I think about it, Bake-Off  is essentially a televised Pinterest Board.

A hidden design cake is a cake that looks like a regular cake, but when you cut into it has some kind of snazzy design inside. I once made a victoria sponge and when you cut into it, it looked just like the inside of a victoria sponge. If I was a contestant I would probably bake a hidden middle-finger or Face-of-Jesus in there just to fuck with the judges, or Hollywood’s face made of cake and surrounded by love hearts, just to curry favour. (Please note, Stuart that ‘to curry favour’ is a figure of speech, do not attempt to make a curry upside down cake)

Somebody get Sue! — A.H.J tries to open some food colouring for Natasha.

Most people are using regular flour, but oh-no-no, Stuart is far too good for that, he is also using lemon zest, pistachios and almonds. Does he understand what a cake is? I’m a bit worried about him. He says he wants to make something for the judges to ‘behold’ but if he keeps insisting on putting savoury shit in his cake the judges will struggle to beholdin’ it down. 

Yet another disaster, Peter and Stuart are both making a Union Jack cake. Of all the images you could construct out of cake in the entire world —nay— universe, all the endless inspiration of heaven and earth to draw from, and these two make a cake with their own country’s flag on it. Inspired.

“Looking over at Peter’s, just because it’s a different type of cake, mine’s less…err…sturdy, I think is the correct word.” — No, Stuart, the correct word is less good.

They didn’t do a nice little faux-sketchbook thing for Cathryn’s design, but she is baking a cake that when you cut into it, shows the profile of a cupcake; which is a bit like cutting open Zooey Deschanel only to find another smaller, cuter, Zooey Deschanel inside, like a twee Russian doll.


A.H.J’s effort. Not too bad but the sponge is as dense as Stuart is.

There was a nice little montage of everyone staring at their finished cakes and thinking. Here is Victoria. She knows she’s walked this one, but pretends that she doesn’t. A loathsome quality in a human being.

Sarah-Jane does a twee little-girl’s princess cake and pulls it off pretty well.

Natasha’s effort is like a botched before and after shot of Leslie Ash. Mary Berry hadn’t seen the two-toned icing effect before (Mary Berry has clearly never been on Pinterest) but it was all downhill after that. As I’ve said before, you can’t polish a turd, but you can ice a cake that looks like it was constructed out of layers of crab paste.

One of these leaves me feeling Jubilant…the other, not so much.

Blue Ribbon goes to Ryan, he pulled it back from the brink with this little number.

Cathryn does well though she has buckled some-what under the weight of her own self-doubt. Clearly the rest of the cakes weren’t worth mentioning.

Sooo, it’s time for Berry and Hollywood to do their thang and judge who will be Star Baker, and who is getting sent home in a piping bag.  Victoria and Cathryn were both in it for Star Baker, but for the first time ever Berry and Hollywood have unanimously decided on an as yet un-named stand-out winner.  Natasha, and Stuart have already started packing.

“Which is the cardinal error: is it Ketchup Kake or Boiled Baba?” — Well said, Sue.

Ultimately, it was Boiled Baba who went home, but it’s not all bad as if you watch back in slow motion you can quite clearly see Perkins slip her her phone number. THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE star baker though, and to nobody’s great surprise it’s Victoria.


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