On Your Marks, Get Set, BAKE

gaboBrr it’s cold outside, so snuggle up and switch on ‘The Great Australian Bake Off’.  The Channel 9 show started this week and follows 10 home bakers in their bid to be crowned Australia’s Best Amateur Baker.  Presented by Shane Jacobson and Anna Gare each episode will target a specific area of baking, such as biscuits, bread, cakes, or pies etc.  Each episode consists of three challenges: 

The Signature Bake:  This is the round where the baker gets to produce cakes to their own recipes.  This week it was cupcakes, which doesn’t sound too difficult until you have to produce 24 of them, two batches of 12 with different flavours in each batch, and they must all look the same, and all taste delicious.  Anyone who has tried this at home will know that it isn’t that easy, and it was no different for the contestants.  Cupcakes landed on the floor, some looked more like muffins, and for one poor person only one cupcake made it to the plate.

The Technical Bake:  This is the round that every contestant dreads.  The recipe is a complete surprise; they are given the same ingredients, measurements and a basic method.  This week the challenge was to make a Chocolate and Orange Checkerboard cake, and the horrified looks said it all.  The results are the same as in every household across the country – some are excellent, some are good, and some are well, um, maybe not so good.  I did feel sorry for the chap who tried to transfer his cake to the plate and it collapsed into a gooey chocolaty mess.  Sympathy and a feeling of ‘thank god it wasn’t me’ flowed from the other contestants.

The Showstopper:  Lets get creative.  This is where the contestants can really show off their skills.  This week’s challenge was to bake a children’s party cake.   Pool Cakes, Rainbow Cakes, Honey Bee Hive Cakes, and Moon Cakes, were just some of the creations, but where some shone, others floundered, with one cake being called a ‘heart attack on a plate’.  Maybe not the thing for a children’s party!

The judges are Dan Lepard and Kerry Vincent, and after tasting and critiquing everything they name one contestant as this week’s Star Baker, and eliminate another from the competition.

It’s a great show, and I was also really pleased to see that the broadcaster didn’t spend half of the show telling you what was coming up later in the episode, which has sadly become the standard for other reality TV shows.  I really hope it will become a hit in Australia as I was hooked from the start and I’m looking forward to next week’s episode, which is all about Pies.

In the meantime with rain forecast for the weekend, I’m going to stock up on eggs, flour, sugar, and butter and get baking!  Maybe I will attempt the Chocolate and Orange Checkerboard cake……

How a Checkerboard Cake is meant to look

How a Checkerboard Cake is meant to look (photo courtesy of GABO website)

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