The popular Netflix series returns and welcomes a team of home bakers to its iconic marquee.
The text that scrolls between a starry sky. The fantastic science fiction costumes. Don’t let your eyes fool you in the open cold. It’s clearly a Star Wars rip-off, but you’re not watching a new Disney+ series. Instead, it’s the pun-laden opening to Netflix’s 10th series of The Great British Baking Show!
Why were Noel, Matt, Prue, and Paul dressed in cheap knock-off costumes from the sci-fi hit in the eye-roll-inducing opening? Is it an embarrassing hint that an epic season awaits us? Despite those complicated sentiments, one thing is unquestionable. There’s no better way to kick off an epic journey than with Cake Week! We’ve got info on the baking heroes (Sandro, I’m looking at you), the villains (Paul and Prue, go over the top with drunken pies?), and the wacky sidekicks (Noel and Matt, the hosts with some questionable mischief). .
The twelve bakers file into the tent and begin the first technical challenge of the season: 12 identical mini sandwiches. Judges Paul and Prue seek perfection in appearance and taste. The bakers have two hours to bake and build their cakes. As the challenge progresses, we learn about the bakers as they bring their personality to their cakes.
There are some fun bakers early on, from Abdul, the Londoner who spends his time lindy hopping with his girlfriend (is lindy hopping trending again?), to Carole, a neon purple/pink cashier from Dorset ( we love a baker with a colorful twist!). However, the baker who really catches the eye (or at least the eyes of this recap) is Sandro, the fit baker (he works out twice a day, once for weights, once for cardio) who also works as a babysitter. He gives off Young Rock vibes with a tight mock turtleneck and gold chains. A muscular nanny who bakes during the day and fights villains at night should be a movie starring The Rock now.
The only baker who stumbles a bit in this challenge is Will, the London charity director. He tries to create an Italian meringue for his sandwich cookies, but the meringue breaks repeatedly. He manages to put buttercream on his cakes in time, but it seems like a harbinger of Will’s future. We’ve all seen this type of overly ambitious baker before. They go all out with complex technique and forget to nail down the basics first. He also couldn’t set a timer for his cakes. He catches it in time, but it’s yet another example that being in the store requires sharp focus, and if you’re juggling a lot of cakes and a complicated meringue, you may have bitten off more than you can chew.
After the judges make their rounds, it looks like bakers Sandro, Abdul and Janusz are coming out in force in the marquee. Sandro’s red wine chocolate ganache “pots” are smart with flavor and decoration. Abdul created very fun garden cactus cakes. And Janusz, born in Poland and now a resident of Brighton, created beautiful, neat cakes that hit the mark in the perfect ratio of alcohol and cake. On the other hand, the bakers Will, Rebs (an Irish baker whose cakes tasted too strongly of coffee), and Maisam (the younger 18-year-old baker whose cakes were too sloppy) are all in precarious positions in the tent.
The next challenge for the bakers is the technical one, laid out by Paul: the classic Red Velvet cake. It’s known to be a quintessential American classic (perhaps a nod to the show’s passionate American fans). The bakers must create six identical sponges sandwiched between a fluffy cream cheese frosting, all decorated with a sprinkle of red velvet crumbs (as an American, I can say I’ve never done this when I’ve baked red velvet) and piped with rosettes of red velvet. cream cheese frosting. They have two hours, so it will be crazy to bake your cupcakes with enough chill time, as they have to create some thick layers to make sure your cakes don’t tip and melt from the heat.
There’s no better way to kick off an epic journey than with Cake Week!
In general, bakers do well with red velvet cake. It’s a far cry from the brownie debacle of 2020, when just about every baker failed to bake a basic brownie. The biggest variation between bakes is size: this can be due to the thick layers of cake and frosting. Paul and Prue return, and the Bakers’ rankings are as follows: James (12), Rebs (11), Maxy (10), Will (9), Carole (8), Janusz (7), Abdul (6), Maisam (5), Kevin (4), Dawn (3), Sandro (2), and Syabira (1).
This baking challenge was relatively drama-free, so the rankings don’t necessarily make or break mid-range bakers. However, Will remains in trouble, placing low once again. And well done to Syabira, the Malaysian-born London resident, whose personal experience with Red Velvet (the last cake she baked for her friends before moving to the UK) may have helped her win the challenge.
It’s the second day in the tent, and it’s time for the sensational. Bakers are now faced with creating a 3D model of their house in 4 hours. Or technically, more like a home that has personal meaning to them. There’s a fun mix of stereotypical British cottages and houses, like Dawn’s shingle house and Carole’s bungalow, and more industrial flats, like Will’s multi-level building (Noel even recognizes it as a building in his neighborhood) and the Janusz’s mother’s flat in Poland.
There are some close brushes with the drama, as Abdul lost 40 minutes of baking time when he realized too late that he hadn’t turned on the oven. Rebs acknowledges that some of his sponges aren’t baked right, but he can cut pieces from a different sponge and insert them into his layers (clever trick: bakers keep this in their pocket for future use!). Will once again embarks on an ambitious layering structure with ginger, chocolate, and orange cakes, and seems to be struggling under the pressure of it all.
I predict Sandro, Syabira and Janusz for the last three.
It’s judgment time! Bakers who stand out in the showtopper are Dawn (loved the pebble structure), Rebs (she may have had issues with her sponges, but her nifty coconut “rum rain” over her pina colada-flavored house is a hit), and Janusz (lovely colors and flavors within its flat industrial frame). Sandro loses points for having too much drink in his cake, even Prue thinks he’s too alcoholic. To that I say, does such a thing really exist? He will probably be safe since he was a strong contender in previous challenges. Maisam also seems a bit low on her standing, as her homemade Libyan-inspired cake had good flavors, but the decoration was too simple to be sensational. James gets a dreaded “claggy” cake comment from Paul. And Will is low in the rankings again, thanks to his overbaked biscuits.
Paul and Prue deliberate and return to the store to announce Star Baker. Janusz wins the title this week; he may have ranked in the middle technically, but his showmanship convinced the judges on taste and decor. He looks surprised, and I have to say I am too, as I thought maybe Sandro or Syabira would have won, as they both had solid bakes and were top of the technical rankings. But since everyone had a somewhat solid red velvet cake, I think the Star Baker title must have been narrowed down to the most sensational, and Janusz won over Paul and Prue. Sadly, but not surprisingly, Will is the baker leaving this week. He is disappointed, but he wishes all the bakers well. He even gets a goodbye handshake from Paul.
Predictions and other thoughts
Well done Janusz for winning Star Baker! I predict that next week’s Star Baker will be Sandro. He is a solid baker, and I think he has the long game to pull off a win.
Thinking about the bakers, I think they can go all the way, I predict Sandro, Syabira and Janusz for the last three. They remind me of the bakers of the past. Sandro has structure, much like last season’s winner Giuseppe. Syabira has colorful pastels reminiscent of 2018’s Kim-Joy. Finally, Janusz has a fun, bubbly personality with consistent pastels, similar to last season’s Crystelle.
I also think the next person to go could be James. His signature lacked definition, he was last in technique and his sensational was rugged. Maisam and Rebs also appear to be in danger of leaving the store. Although I think they are safe now.
Matt and Noel seem more comfortable in the store. Still, I was a little worried when Matt asked about Maxy’s lack of a Swedish accent, born in Sweden and now Londoner. She comments that she has been living in the UK for many years, hence her English accent. She then makes a bad joke that she is “semi-bilingual” since she can only speak English. Maxy, who is too busy baking to care about a prank, falls flat. Just leave Maxy alone and let her bake in peace with no awkward comments that reflect the “outside of her” of her!
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