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The Great British Bake Off… Will I? Won’t I?

The Great British Bake Off is over for another year, and with that comes a small break from people asking me when I’m entering or why I’m not entering.

My answer to their questions is this:

No I’m not entering. Yes I know my cakes are amazing and so much better than those on the show. That is because my cakes take days to make, not hours.

There are several other reasons why I won’t apply…

I’m a Coeliac which although not totally impossible, it would make it more difficult for me to practise or taste the challenges that required gluten. You definitely can’t stretch a piece of pastry to the size of a bed sheet and thin enough to read a newspaper through, without the aid of some good old gluten.

You’d all hate me for having props and for wanting everything to be perfectly beautiful. Despite being confident in my cake flavours I know I’d get the “style over substance” critique from Paul at least once.

I used to find Frances really annoying and perhaps what made it worse was thinking that I’d probably do the kind of things she did!

Totally the kind of effort I would go to to present bread sticks!

You’d hate me for crying. I know I’d cry, I’m a pretty emotional person and I cry if I’m happy, sad, angry or stressed and I’m fairly certain I’d be all of those things if I was in that tent!

I am happy to blow my own trumpet a bit here and say that my cakes are great. But that is just cakes. I’m no expert in breads of the world, or pastry and I have never made a stroopwafel or a load of sfogliatelle!

The contestants do an incredible job within such tight constraints, the hot tent, unfamiliar ovens, not enough time etc.

Actually if I could make one suggestion to Love Productions, the makers of GBBO…

It would be to give the contestants a bit more time. Time to let hot things cool, to let stuff set, prove etc.

I know it’s done to make “good tv” but to me it really doesn’t. I don’t want to see a load of drooping, half melted fraisier cakes brought up to the gingham alter by some poor broken soul who was trying to bake a 4 hour recipe in 2.5 hours.

Yes Paul, they haven’t given it long enough in the oven.

Yes Prue the glaze isn’t perfect in areas, that’s because you gave them 3 hours to produce a layered creation that requires at least several hours to chill!!

I would hate that. I would be so blooming stressed out and I would hate having to serve something not up to my normal standards.

I don’t like set-ups on supposedly real life TV. I don’t watch the X Factor, even the lure of gorgeous Dermott couldn’t make me sit through the staged ridiculousness.

“No no that’s not right stop singing!” Camera pans from devastated kid, to mum and Ant and Dec, all supposedly shocked. “Have you got anything else?” “Oh yes as it happens your guys already have my actual track all cued up and ready to go.” Pah!

Yes I know I said I don’t watch it but I do watch Gogglebox which shows all I need to see.

Back to the Bake Off…I’d much rather see them produce something close to what they intended with more time rather than watching someone weeping over a melted mousse cake.

The first showstopper challenge of the latest series was to create an illusion cake. A cake that looks like something other than cake. I love making illusion cakes myself. I love the challenge of getting all the details completely perfect and realistic.

Steven’s Sandwich looked great and I loved Liam’s stack of blueberry pancakes.

However I thought Yan’s Banana-ramen was the best.

Yan was my favourite of the 2017 contestants and I wish she had gone further but Italian Week just didn’t go well for her. I still believe she was robbed by Kate and Stacey who were both consistently inconsistent but kept getting through by the skin of their teeth each week.

My final note about Bake Off relates to the controversial move from the BBC to C4. When I heard the news I was devastated. I hate watching adverts, my TV package is so basic that I can’t even record it and watch a bit later, plus I’m a lifelong supporter of the BBC.

The trio of awesome ladies leaving was another blow, I love Mel and Sue, and Mary is as traditional as fruit cake at Christmas. I wasn’t sure I’d enjoy Bake Off as much any more but I planned on giving it a chance.

My verdict? I was pleasantly surprised! It was exactly the same as before! I thought Noel Fielding was going to be too over the top bizzare for such a cosy mainstream show but (possibly to the disappointment of Mighty Boosh fans) he was great.

From Boosh to Bake Off

He and Sandi were funny, compassionate and worked really well together. I loved how emotional they both got when they had to announce who was leaving, Sandi even managed to bring a tear to the eye of Mr Steel Hollywood when she got choked up at announcing the winner.

Good work Love Productions, it all turned out well in the end. I’m sad that my Tuesday evenings are devoid of Bake Off but I’m looking forward to next year.

And no, I won’t be there in person…

Unless I can work out how to get on Extra Slice with Jo Brand. Anyone know how I can do that?

If you fancy getting creative with cakes yourself, perhaps having a go at creating an illusion like my burger and chips cake, take a look at my upcoming classes and see what I’ve got planned.

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