Great British Bake Off Episode 1

Hello Bake Off lovers! Yes! It is that time of the year again! Time to immerse ourselves in cakes, biscuits, bread, desserts, pastry, patisserie and chocolate… all of which sounds like my idea of the perfect breakfast.  This year I, Grace, Mills & Boon Modern Romance Editorial Assistant, will be taking over reporting responsibilities from the frontline of my laptop screen. Certainly, in three months’ time, we will together have witnessed some of the greatest disasters and deliciousnesses of baking history. What remains to be seen is whether or not any British resident will be able to fit into their original pair of jeans by November…


So this week we began with the great equalizer of baking – cakes! Drizzle cakes, Jaffa cakes (which I never really thought of as cakes somehow…), and mirror glazes galore…


However, this is a Mills & Boon blog. Undeniably (or at least to himself), Paul Hollywood is the alpha male of the Bake Off Tent. However… I think his position may be under threat with the entrance of Salesi…


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Could this be the year of the Great Bake Off Romance? Will the M&B submissions inbox be inundated with baking billionaires? (Leans around to persuade her boss on a Mills & Boon Baking Miniseries and is firmly rebuffed.)


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However, much as we would all like to sit and watch Salesi for ten weeks, there are other contestants. This year we have Andrew the aerospace engineer, Benjamina the teaching assistant (best name for a bunny rabbit ever?!), lipstick queen Candice, garden designer Jane, nurse Kate, pastor Lee, hairdresser Louise, student Michael, Rav (who works in student support – does this mean carrying them around on sedan chairs?!), likes-to-make-Mary-drunk Tom, and retired teacher Val. Val’s first contribution to the series was dancing in her kitchen…


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And for this, I love her already. BBC producers: combined Bake Off/Dance Off round?! Please?!


Having said that, I think Tom might be my soulmate. He has, apparently, no concept of portion control regarding alcohol in cakes, and probably gave everyone following him in the judging a decided advantage after his very strong G&T drizzle cake. Having once almost hospitalised a room of hardened bartenders with a particularly lethal trifle, I sympathise. Tom, I’m your gal!


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Next up was Jaffa cakes! Who knew that something that came in a tube could be so complicated?! Never again will I do Full Moon, Half Moon, New Moon with such a lack of seriousness and appreciation for those who dedicate their lives to the preparation of such items. The magnitude of placing a circle of orange jelly…


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Selasi came up on top (only increasing his perfection in my mind…) and Lee came last. Apparently they were upside down – not to worry Lee, we all feel that way at the end of the week!


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The final, Show Stopper, round was mirror glazed Genoese sponges. I’m fairly certain that when Mary and Paul set this task, they didn’t expect Michael to be inspired by the slime from Ghostbusters…


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The outstanding success was Jane’s Chocolate orange Mirror Glaze cake. When the cameras stopped rolling, Paul was spotted retouching his lipstick in the shine, having smudged it scoffing down the delicious confection.


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Now, I hate to be mean. I believe in generosity to all those who take up the great mantle of Baker. But Lee’s chocolate surprise was not the most spectacular production in the Bake Off tent. That, combined with a lacklustre filling, made the conclusion perhaps inevitable…


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So this week we say goodbye to Lee! Your time in the tent may have been brief, but I’m sure that your winsome smile and determination that fruit was a sufficient sponge filling will be greatly missed.


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Cheerio possums – see you next week for biscuits! xx


 Written by Grace Thiele