Great British Bake Blog 2018: Episode Two

You can take the innuendos out of Bake Off, but you wouldn’t have much of a show left. It’s no surprise that after a tame, and slightly dull, opening week the filth is back in force.

It can’t be helped. Baking is inherently filled with odd phrases. My non-industry friends giggle when I use the term ‘master baker’ (so juvenile), while another struggled to keep a straight face when she heard a baker say ‘retarded dough’. Clearly, I am far more mature than that.

Okay, that’s a lie. I smirk every time I hear the word ‘buns’.

There was a lot to giggle at during this week’s episode as the contestants uttered phrases such as “they feel nice and bouncy”, “six inches will take about 45 minutes” and “it’s big”. Oh my.

A slew of insults were also thrown, mostly by Paul, as the bakers tried to impress the judges with traybakes for the signature challenge.

“It looks like a forest floor,” he said of Ruby’s boozy Black Forest-inspired creation after calling Briony’s turron and orange traybake “hideous”. Luckily for Briony, it tasted way better than it looked.

Dan, the proud recipient of this season’s first Hollywood handshake, also wowed with his boozy Black Forest flavours and excellent decoration, while last week’s star baker Manon presented what the judges described as a tough and bland rosemary, honey and fresh figs version.

Innuendos and insults were replaced by straight-up fear in the technical, as Prue tasked the bakers with creating le gâteau vert – a green masterpiece consisting of a Genoese sponge, green marzipan and spinach-dyed fondant icing. It was also Claude Monet’s favourite cake.

Many of the bakers struggled with the sponge, with some attempting a second try with varying success. It took Luke two attempts to have enough sponge to piece together three thin layers. It was not his round. Yet, somehow, he wasn’t bottom of the technical. That ‘honour’ went to Karen, followed by Ruby, Antony, Terry and then Luke. Jon, meanwhile, nailed the technical securing first place, followed by Rahul (pictured below) in second.

On to the showstopper – a two-tiered collared cake. Just what you want to be making in a tent in the middle of a heatwave. Ruby was among the bakers complaining of the heat, yet for some inexplicable reason kept her cardigan on for most of the challenge. Who bakes in a cardigan in a heatwave? Honestly?!

As expected, the heat wilted the chocolate along with the contestants’ confidence.

You could see their dreams melting with their creations – most notably Luke’s, whose raspberry and white chocolate cake was reduced to a slippery, cream-covered mess with a few raspberries on top. You know it’s bad when the baker apologises before presenting their creation to the judges.

Terry (below left) also suffered a disaster as his Eiffel Tower-inspired piece melted, meaning he only presented the bottom half of the tower on his strawberry and Champagne cake.

Others flourished under the pressure. Jon’s piña colada cake complete with Hawaiian shirt chocolate collar wowed the judges.

But not as much as Rahul’s Bengali-inspired dark chocolate and orange cake. After tasting, Paul summoned him to the judging table (which Rahul approached like a school child being told off) only to be presented with the first-ever Hollywood handshake for a showstopper. Ruby gained the second in quick succession for her “classy” orange and chocolate Jackson Pollock-themed cake.

Side note: I love Rahul. He looks constantly terrified, unsure of how to react to anything that is happening in the tent and yet produces delicious-looking treats. Long may he stay in the tent.

As he clinched star baker over Dan this week, it looks like he might be around for a while longer. Unlike Luke (below right), who unfortunately (but perhaps not surprisingly) was sent home.

Here’s a few titbits based on this week’s episode:

Most likely to win: Dan

Who should have gone home: Terry

Most fun to watch: Rahul

Quote of the week (at the request of my sister Rebecca): “I’ll have to caramelise my nuts a bit quicker” – Terry

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