The competition was kicked off with cake in the Cotswolds. The contestants had three challenges, the first being for them to bake their own signature cake to show the judges their tried and tested recipes that they love and are passionate about. Anita, with her caribbean inspired, rum soaked, black cake with strawberries and cream were a real highlight for me, it looked delicious and was a hit with the judges too.
I wouldn't have minded a nice big slice of this gorgeously indulgant looking chocolate brownie, raspberry and meringue layered cake... yum!For the contestants second challenge they had to each make a victoria sandwich using identical ingredients so that the judges could see their true skills. It amazes me how different the cakes can all look even though they were made from identical ingredients... it just goes to show how baking is not an exact science, especially as the slightest variation at any stage of making a cake can make huge differences in the way that the cake rises, looks, tastes and feels.
Lastly the contestants had to bake a chocolate celebration cake that they were encouraged to decorate in whatever way their saw fit. I loved the look of the rich chocolate fudge cake (above) with the handmade chocolate buttons and flowers.
One contestant used edible glitter and stars along with some scrummy looking handmade truffles to decorate her chocolate cake.The thing I love about this programme is that it will raise the profile of baking and help people get passionate about it. Baking was always a brilliant treat as a child, where me, my mum and sisters would make a mess in the kitchen, have fun together and make fairy cakes, cornflake cakes, sponge cakes, cheese straws and such like. There is nothing more satisfying than spending time making something yummy from scratch, imperfections and all!
The bbc website that accompanies the series is very good too, with recipes, tips and videos on how to get a firm grasp of the baking basics. So there is no excuse to avoid a spot of baking every now and then! Tune in to next week's episode of The Great British Bake-Off when they will be in Scotland making biscuits! Or catch up on iplayer and enjoy!
(All photos and screenshots are taken from the programme and any rights to the images belong to the BBC)