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6 August 2015

Review - The Great British Bake Off: Episode 1

We had all been counting down the days for weeks (heck, months). Our measuring spoons were ready, we'd saved up the naughty innuendos, and had run to the shops in blind panic when we thought we might not have cake in the house for the occasion. What on earth am I talking about? Well, the first episode of the Great British Bake Off of course!

Copyright BBC / Love Productions/Mark Bourdillon

The episode kicks off with the Signature bake; I quickly admired Mary Berry's awesome fuchsia blazer - she is definitely one of my style icons - and then nodded appreciatively when Sue and Mel announced that the bake was to be one of the classics; Madeira cake. It's time to meet all of the bakers for the first time!

My first thought: I like Flora. She's got an awesome accent, I love her top (does anyone know where it's from?) and she just seems really nice. Let's hope she's a good baker. We then get a shot of Tamal, a trainee anaesthetist who admits that he has shaky hands. I think I know who my GBBO crush is going to be this year... Is it inappropriate to say that?

Copyright BBC / Love Productions/Mark Bourdillon

We have a quick chat with Ian (very posh), Mat (I know we're going to be friends when he says he is baking a GIN AND TONIC Madeira cake) and Marie (my mum comments approvingly at this point, "She knows what she's doing, doesn't she?")

It's time to unveil the Madeiras. I wish I was best friends with Mary Berry for the millionth time when she tells Mat that his cake doesn't have enough gin in for her. That's my girl. The best of the bunch appear to be Flora's (she used blood oranges), Tamal's (♥) and Marie's. A great start, bakers!

Next up - the dreaded Technical challenge. I always get nervous at this stage... This week's challenge? A walnut cake. Ahhh. Easy, you may think. Well of course not. 1) It's a Mary Berry recipe, and she'll be judging it herself. 2) The recipe tells the bakers what temperature the oven needs to be at, but does not specify how long the cake needs to be in there for. Mary, you fox. 3) It's the Bake Off Technical challenge. Come on, of course it's going to be hard!

We get to see some beautiful palette knife action (I go slightly green with envy) before the cakes are presented to Mezza and Paul. Poor Nadiya looks absolutely terrified. A lot of tasting goes on, with Paul saying the word granular a few too many times (I'm thinking we could create a great Bake Off drinking game) and I punch the air with delight as Alvin wins second place. (No-one noticed the wonkiness! You got away with it, Alv!) Ugne scoops first place, with Nadiya and Stu unfortunately taking the last places on the scoreboard.

Copyright BBC / Love Productions/Mark Bourdillon

Finally, it's time for the Showstopper round. I'm a bit disappointed when we're told that it's Black Forest Gateau, as this is not one of my faves. But then Stu says he's going to make a beetroot cake, and I'm excited! I had my first taste of chocolate and beetroot cake fairly recently, and it wasn't half bad. Ian tells us that he's including a large chocolate macaroon in his gateau (?) and Sandy plumps for a similar choice, adding a layer of chocolate shortbread to hers. I'm not sure about these decisions, but OK. 

The team have a chat with Paul (the contestant, not the judge), and it's here that I decide to share with my mum that I think he's quite good looking. She laughs at me for a while, saying I always have liked older men. Jeez, Mum, he's only 49.

Copyright BBC / Love Productions/Mark Bourdillon

My personal favourite innuendo of the night happens now, as Mel says, "I can't wait to romp in your forest, Ian." Oh my! Mat says he's going to make brownie cakes, and I know at this point we're going to be best friends, and Sandy goes shooting up in my estimations when we catch her naughtily pouring a good ole' measure of alcohol into her cake. Go Sandy!

Just as things seem to be going swimmingly well in the tent, poor Dorret has a baking disaster. It's the new Bingate. But she doesn't throw it in the bin, yay! (I was actually shouting at the TV at this point, "DON'T THROW IT IN THE BIN!" Painful memories resurfaced there, I think)

It's time! The clanger sounds (well, Mel and Sue tell them all to stop baking) and everyone breathes a sigh of relief that it's over. Flora's cake is the tallest gateau I've ever seen and looks amazing, Alvin's gone for a beautiful dramatic number, and Ugne's looks like one of the cakes you see in the windows of Patisserie Valerie.

We pan over to the cutesy little area with bunting and tea that I always dream I'll get invited to, where Mel and Sue discuss with Paul and Mary who was great, and who wasn't so hot. My decision? I think Star Baker should go to either Flora or Marie, and I go for Flora because I think her Showstopper looked awesome. In terms of who should go, I think it's looking worrying for Dorret, but also Stu. I'm just not sure if Stu is quite cut out for the challenges of the tent.

I'm not going to lie, I'm pretty pleased that Mary and Paul agree with me (just about). We find out that Star Baker goes to Marie, and it's time to say goodbye to Stu.

Copyright BBC / Love Productions/Mark Bourdillon

What a brilliant first episode! In honour of GBBO, I shall be making a cake later this week to fit in with this week’s theme. I’m quite excited about biscuits next Wednesday though. What did you all think of last night’s episode? Do you agree with my thoughts? Let me know in the comments below, or tweet me.

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