The Great British Baking Show season premiere recap: ‘Cakes’ and ‘Biscuits’

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Tom’s Chai Frappelatteccino Biscuits. Still from The Great British Baking Show S7E2. Image via PBS.

The Great British Baking Show’s second challenge of the season went for a large scale biscuit challenge.

The biscuit challenges began with something simple on its face: two dozen iced biscuits in two and a half hours. Not so bad, right? Not when Mary and Paul were looking for a completely identical batch and crispy textures rather than soft cookies.

In order of judging, here’s how everyone did:

  • Michael: Malt, Chocolate, and Orange Iced “Beer” Biscuits. High tier. Good texture, uniform.
  • Andrew: Beehive Biscuits. Mid-low tier. Too soft, but some of the cutest biscuits.
  • Louise: Baa Bara Brith Biscuits. Low tier. Inconsistent, and soft despite also looking like sheep.
  • Benjamina: Bouquet Biscuits. High tier. “Done really well,” said Paul.
  • Jane: Flower Pot Iced Biscuits. Mid-low tier. Only half-iced, but tasted really good.
  • Val: Sunday Treat Iced Ice Cream Cone Biscuits. Low tier. Missing biscuits, and not presented well.
  • Candice: Salted Caramel, Chocolate Iced Shiny Hearts. Mid-high tier. Tasted great, looked messy, probably because she went for 48 biscuits.
  • Selasi: “Wheelie Hot Iced Biscuits“. High tier. “Quite different,” said Mary, but different isn’t bad.
  • Rav: Union Jack Bunting Biscuits. Mid-high tier. Flavored well, but presentation not as clean as it could be.
  • Kate: “A Biscuit for the Broads“. High tier. “Informal” icing per Mary, but balanced flavors Paul wasn’t sure about.
  • Tom: Chai Frappelatteccino Biscuits. High tier. Got a handshake from Paul. Enough said.

Mary got to assign the technical challenge again! In just 90 minutes, the bakers had to make 12 Viennese whirls, which are sandwich cookies but with a bonus jam thrown in beneath the buttercream.

Mary Berry’s Viennese whirls. Still from The Great British Baking Show S4E2. Image via PBS.

Technical challenge results:

  1. Kate. Best swirls of the bunch. “Very good,” per Mary.
  2. Jane. “Everything’s right there,” said Mary.
  3. Benjamina. “Delicate,” said Paul.
  4. Andrew. Excellent jam placement.
  5. Val. “Good whirls,” per Mary.
  6. Rav. Undersized, but tasted good.
  7. Tom. “No definition,” noted Paul, but tasted good.
  8. Candice. Underbaking was her major problem.
  9. Michael. His biscuits were too thin.
  10. Louise. Flat and overbaked.
  11. Selasi. Actually crumbling.

After a pretty small showstopper for the first episode, things got very large — 30 centimeters or about a foot high — for a gingerbread “story” per Mel, that also had to had at least eight elements. Whether those were people, structures, or other things was left up to the bakers. They had four hours. And yes, whether or not they could hold up mattered, as the bakers actually left the tent for a period of time before judging.

Kate’s “I Promise I Will Do My Best” gingerbread showstopper. Still from The Great British Baking Show S7E2. Image via PBS.

In order of judging, here’s how everyone did:

  • Andrew: Punting in Cambridge. Reminded Paul of his mom’s gingerbread, and cute to boot.
  • Val: From Holland to New York via Yorkshire. Had a collapse, missing “finish” per Mary.
  • Benjamina: New York, New York. Not the most polished display, but Mary dubbed it “very nice gingerbread”.
  • Tom: Tom and Pod’s Near Death Experience. Pretty and yummy.
  • Kate: “I Promise I Will Do My Best”. Mary praised the piping, but the ginger flavor was hard to find.
  • Jane: Hastings Old Town Fishing Net Shops and Boat. Texture too soft, but tasty.
  • Michael: Trip to See Santa in Lapland. “Best gingerbread so far,” said Paul, but a decoration fail.
  • Selasi: Stained Glass Window Gingerbread Church. Looked pretty, missing ginger.
  • Louise: Gingerbread Wedding. Collapsed basically immediately, but at least tasted good.
  • Rav: Gingerbread Christmas Fairground. Excessive clove usage.
  • Candice: Gingerbread Pub with Sticky Gingerbread Carpet. “Superb,” said Paul. “Smashing,” said Mary.

Unsurprisingly, Candice won Star Baker, while Louise ended up going home.

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Next week, it’s time for breads and all kinds of difficulty from Paul. Stay tuned for next week’s episode of The Great British Baking Show.