Twelve amateur bakers have their skills tested to the limit. In the first round of the second series they must make cupcakes against the clock and bake a tiered cake.
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We've got a treat in store for you over the next eight weeks
as we search for Britain's best amateur baker.
12 of the very best are ready to fight for the ultimate crown.
Elasticate those waistbands. It's the new series of The Great British Bake Off.
Thousands entered this year's nationwide search
for Britain's best amateur baker.
I feel like somebody's going to say, "Could you go? There's been a mistake."
But just 12 of the most passionate and skilled have made it through
to battle it out in the Great British Bake Off.
It's just like a dream come true, really. I'm so excited.
Over the next eight weeks, they'll be creating everything
from cakes, pies, bread and biscuits,
in challenges where every aspect of their baking skills will be pushed to the limit.
Worse-case scenario, make a complete hash of it and cry on camera.
Each week, those who fall short will be asked to leave.
It's like a village fete on adrenaline, really.
Only one can be crowned the winner of the Great British Bake Off.
There is some amazing talent in this marquee. It's just phenomenal.
Yes! Ah, ah, ah!
This year, the Great British Bake Off has found a home -
Valentine's Mansion, a 17th-century country estate that will play host
to the next chapter in the nation's love affair with home baking.
It's rolling pins at dawn.
Yes, The Great British Bake Off is about to begin,
and where better a place to start?
This show is all about cake.
The contestants are ready, and so are we. Excuse me.
None of these 12 people have baked in such a competitive environment before,
but they're about to face three increasingly complicated challenges over the next two days,
after which one of them will be crowned this week's star baker,
and another will have to leave The Great British Bake Off.
Morning, all, and a massive welcome.
We start as we mean to go on, with a challenge. This one is your signature bake,
so for this one we're asking you to show us tried and tested recipes.
Nothing too off-piste. Now is not the time to experiment.
We're looking for two hours of your finest baking,
producing 24 cupcakes, baked and iced,
to be judged by Paul and Mary.
We're all going to be here together for the next two days,
at the end of which we will be saying goodbye to one of you.
For the first time - you'll hear this a lot in the next two days -
on your marks, get set...
All the challenges in the bake off have been devised by acclaimed master baker Paul Hollywood
and legendary cookery writer and baker Mary Berry.
As a judge, I'm looking forward to having really interesting detailed recipes
and, of course, they've got to taste just as good as they look.
Mary and I want to find out who is the best amateur baker in this country,
and the way to do that, following from the last series, is to up the ante,
and that is exactly what we've done.
Their first challenge requires the bakers to achieve
consistency of size, texture and flavour across 24 individual cupcakes.
They're allowed to create up to two varieties,
and each one of them must be perfectly decorated
and feature sponge and icing of different but complementary flavours.
Every one of them must be ready to be judged in two hours.
At home, normally I've got all the time I need, really,
so I just meander into the kitchen and start baking,
and then it's finished when it's finished.
Jo lives in Essex and is a wife, mother and, at 41,
the youngest grandmother in the competition.
She's making her family's favourite chocolate and orange cupcakes.
-Do you like cooking for your family?
-I love it, yeah.
-Do you find it frustrating when all you get is a grunt?
Well, mine actually mark me out of ten.
And they find it really amusing to mark me really low.
-Jo, I'm not having that.
-So you cook a meal for them?
-Yes, and they go, "One out of ten".
-Or three, maybe six. Sometimes I feel like putting their head in the dinner.
The base for a traditional cupcake sponge is made by creaming butter and sugar...
-..then gradually adding beaten eggs, then flour.
This is me being neat, not me being untidy!
But the fats in these ingredients are prone to reject each other...
No! It curdled with the last egg.
..emulsifying the batter, rendering it lumpy and unusable.
If the eggs aren't the same temperature as the butter, it ends up separating.
But what you can do is add a tiny bit of the flour and it should be OK.
25-year-old Rob works as a photographer,
but dreams of becoming a professional baker in Paris.
A keen innovator, his cupcakes feature a fresh blackberry juice and vanilla sponge
with Pernod icing and a unique topping.
-Is that liquorice there?
I'm going to cut it up fine and grate a bit on the top.
And then the icing, you use this alcohol as well as the liquorice?
I reduce it and then the liquorice is to finish it off.
-Have you been practising?
-I've practised with the liquorice,
but I haven't mastered it.
When we say "signature bake, tried and tested"...
-When we say "tried and tested"...
-You haven't tested it.
-I have a bit.
The bakers are free to add whatever ingredients they wish
to their toppings and sponges.
I'm just trying not to cut my hand while I grate and chop.
But altering the consistency of their batter
by adding fruit or liquid at this stage is risky.
-Get a basic batter, that's fair enough.
-But if you're adding liquid, make your batter slightly thicker.
-Do you add more flour to combat it?
Or less egg. Then you can compensate when you add the rest of the stuff.
-But you've made these before, presumably.
-I have, loads of times.
40-year-old marketing manager Urvashi
is a self-taught baker and mother of two. She met her husband in the Far East,
the inspiration for her cherry blossom and Japanese lime cupcakes.
It's going to have lime zest in the base
to kind of just bring out the colour of the yuzu.
Yuzu is an East Asian citrus fruit
whose juice is widely used in Japanese cooking.
These come into season in winter,
and we used to pickle them and have them as a cool drink in the summer.
-It's so amazing.
-It's very aromatic, isn't it?
-I'm not doing anything else.
-It's a cross between a mandarin and a lime.
Rugby roach Simon has opted for a less subtle addition to his batter.
At the moment I'm heating together caster sugar,
Guinness and dark chocolate,
then I'm going to mix in egg whites and creme fraiche,
so it's fairly straightforward.
The 31-year-old ex-RAF officer lives in Norfolk with his wife and two sons,
but his signature cupcakes are more suited to his mates at the rugby club -
a Guinness and chocolate sponge topped with Bailey's and cream cheese frosting.
I'm a Guinness fan at heart, and it does work well with the recipe,
so they don't object.
Filling cupcake cases correctly is an art.
The bakers have to be able to anticipate
how far their batters will rise.
Over-filling will create an unacceptable mushroom top.
Because everyone's putting me off.
Under-filling produces a small, dry, over-baked sponge.
It won't help me, panicking.
Tapping helps to remove any trapped air bubbles,
which can balloon in the oven, ruining a cupcake's appearance.
I'm weighing cupcake mixture like a crazy woman at the moment.
I would never, ever do this at home.
31-year-old Holly lives in Leicester with her husband and two children.
She's honed her baking skills whilst on maternity leave,
and aims to impress with 12 cupcakes inspired by the Bakewell tart
and 12 ginger cupcakes with homemade fig truffles.
It's obviously a bit nuts to weigh mixture before it's cooked,
but because it's a competition and I want all the cakes to be the same size,
then that's what I'm doing.
Where did my timer go?
Where DID my timer go?
-Say a little prayer.
To find out more about the history of cupcakes,
I've come to the beautiful Audley End House, Essex.
Conkers, hopscotch, having your head flushed down the toilet,
they're all classic childhood memories for me.
But nothing beats my recollection of the first fairy cake I ever baked,
which for so many kids is the original point of entry into the glorious world of baking.
Fairy cakes, or cupcakes as they're also known,
were first made in the kitchens of these vast stately homes,
but would never have been possible
without the use of an unusual piece of kitchen kit.
So, Annie, what is this unusual piece of kit?
I'm thinking sponge catapult. No?
Not really. What you're looking at is something as simple as the teacup.
-So this is literally why they're called cupcakes?
-Yes. There are two arguments.
One is simply this, they're baked in cups,
and the other is that the recipe often includes cups of things,
so it will often be a cup of sugar, a cup of flour, a cup of butter.
How did servants get their hands on crockery like that?
Like anything, cups go out of fashion, so upstairs they're drinking from tea bowls.
Then they start to get handled cups.
The tea bowls evolved down the household until they reached the kitchen.
The cook may well be drinking tea out of them,
and she looks for something to bake a small cake in,
throws in the mixture, and hey presto! A ready-made mould.
One of the first published cake in a cup recipes
was written by the famous British cook Maria Rundell in 1806.
Her Queen cake contains three cups each of flour, sugar
currants, butter and some very frothy eggs.
I've expended less calories in a fitness DVD than I'm doing now.
I'm presuming that all this exertion is to create
-a lightness of touch that'll be enjoyed upstairs.
This is the era where what we now know as the fairy cake is really invented,
and it's called a fairy cake precisely because it's so light.
So we're going to mix our well-whisked egg yolks in with our butter.
Now, at what point are aprons invented, because it may be time?
-I think we've got a strong argument to suggest way back in the medieval period.
-Let's do it.
Then we're going to mix in our egg whites,
and add in the dry ingredients, folding them in,
so what we end up with is something that's nice and light and airy
and will rise very well because of the whisking.
Then we're going to fill them about two thirds full,
-because they will rise.
Fairy cakes' popularity really took off as afternoon tea became more fashionable.
This tea house bridge was specially designed for ladies
to enjoy beautiful views and eat lots of small cakes.
I want to see the results!
They've been in the oven for about 30 minutes.
Look at that. Perfection, though I say so myself.
That is all your beating.
Yes, thank you. Look how light that is!
It's beautiful, curranty, sugary, light, eggy goodness.
So did afternoon tea make these sorts of cakes more popular?
Very much so. Yes. The Georgian period is all about taste and gentility and refinement
and civilisation, and showing ourselves to be one of the most civilised nations on Earth.
So small cakes really are very useful,
both in terms of having something that's the right size
in proportion to the tea cup, but also having something
that isn't going to be unladylike in terms of what you're eating.
So you're saying all this gentility, this refinement,
all created by this shape and this drinking utensil.
-That's how they did it, isn't it?
'One hour to go in the signature cupcake challenge.'
I want them to go brown, but they're not going brown,
and I keep turning it up a little notch.
'Oven timing for cupcakes is critical.'
I'm so scared to leave them in there too long.
'Their small size means the margin for error is tiny.'
It would be a couple of minutes.
'As little as one minute either side of the optimum time can produce
'an underdone, doughy texture or dry them out completely.
'They must also remember to turn them
'to make sure the batch is baked evenly.'
Whoops. Note to self -
don't poke the uncooked cupcake, because it will sink!
If this thing's right, it says they're baked.
Technology wouldn't be wrong, would it?
When you do it at home, it doesn't matter if it doesn't work, you know.
People eat them anyway.
Here, I've got the queen of cooking tasting them, so, you know,
if they don't work out, she's going to say, "What on earth are you doing here?
-Liverpudlian and grandmother of three, Janet,
is never without a home-baked cake in her house.
For her signature cupcakes, she's miniaturised her favourite recipe
for fresh raspberries and cream cake.
-Looking very flippety-flop.
-They're looking flippety-flop?
-Don't look, please.
-It's a bit late for that. Was the batter quite a wet mix?
-It was quite liquid.
-Get them out of there as soon as you can,
put them on a cool surface as quickly as possible.
The cool surface will prevent them from dropping,
because you're rapidly cooling off the inside.
Did you add baking powder to these?
-Sometimes, if you use too much baking powder,
it rises up and then drops down again.
Yeah. Well, it was the recipe.
I don't normally make cupcakes because I normally make just one great big cake for the masses.
Has the pressure got to you? Are you feeling nervous?
Well, I wasn't until these came out! No.
They look great in there. Hope they don't sink at the last minute, like they sometimes do.
Am I ready like Freddy? In a Chevy on the levee, drinking a bevvie...
19-year-old engineering student, Jason, is from Croydon
and is a passionate member of his university's baking society.
He's baking 12 lemon meringue cupcakes and 12 apple and cinnamon cupcakes
with a technically challenging topping that he hopes will impress.
I'm separating my eggs, half for the meringue and half for the creme patissiere.
'A creme patissiere is a cooled custard created by carefully adding beaten eggs, sugar and flour
'to milk infused with fresh vanilla or extract.'
-Ooh, this stuff is potent, boy.
-'The mixture must be continuously stirred over a moderate heat.
'This warms the fat, causing the mixture to thicken,
'making it suitable as a filling or topping.
'Too much heat can cook the eggs, creating a lumpy, useless mess.'
Is there a reason why you didn't use vanilla pods?
I've never used them before because none of my family bakes on this level and stuff.
You see it on TV, and they're either expensive or just...
I'm used to vanilla extract, and this has got seeds in it so it has the look.
Are you a bit scared of the judges?
You want to make Mary proud and you want to prove what you can do.
-Is that what the relationship is?
-That's what it is.
-So Mary is almost like your mum.
-You want her to be proud of you.
-You want her to just...
-..to not be disappointed.
Mary's disappointment is the worst thing, isn't it?
-Like a bucket of cold water.
31-year-old graphic designer, Ben,
was taught to bake by his grandmother,
but it's Mary he hopes to impress with his rhubarb and custard and "After Dinner" cupcakes.
I've got one lot done and ready to go.
I'm just waiting to do the ganache on top of the mint ones
and I've probably got about 20 minutes to spare, hopefully.
Lady bakers and gent bakers, you've got 15 minutes left.
I've never iced this fast before.
I'm just making a butter cream, so I'll give it another little whizz
and then start adding a huge amount of icing sugar to it.
And some booze.
'But alcohol is just the beginning of Simon's final presentation.'
-What is this?
-This is my cake stand.
-So how does it work?
Each one just sits on its own lolly stick?
No, they get pierced - cut in the bottom and then pushed on.
The cupcakes will be iced and look like a bowl of flowers
and then I'll put rose leaves in between.
-I'm never going to live this down at the rugby club!
Rob, what gives? Oh, it's a dejected Rob!
-It is a dejected Rob.
-No! Why a dejected Rob?
They didn't go right. These ones didn't rise, they just flopped out.
You're basically trimming off the excess round the sides.
They don't look anywhere near as good as I thought they would.
That's because you're a perfectionist. The beauty is not only in the eye of the beholder,
but also in the digestive tract of the beholder, so...
'Rob isn't the only baker facing presentation issues.'
I don't know how this is working.
'Urvashi was hoping to create piped chocolate chop sticks.'
It seems to be clogged up.
It might have been because I let the chocolate go too cold,
so I'm going to start again.
I think it is a little bit of the nerves playing up.
Normally, baking is my calm, relaxing, quiet time, distressing activity.
Not wanting to stress anyone out remotely,
but you do have ten minutes left, bakers.
Are you winning?
-I'm fascinated now to see how it's going to turn out.
Some of these people are getting into too much technical detail, trying to get too many flavours in.
Simple is often the best way.
The moment those cakes come out of the oven, they're either all right or they're not,
and they've got to make the most of them. This is what happens in baking.
Oh, look at that. Oh. Magnificent!
The problem is, the cupcake is not just the sponge,
but you can either mess it up or make it even more beautiful with the topping that you put on.
-Oh, hang on, hang on.
Got to love them.
OK, that's time up. Put away your piping bags.
Step away from the royal icing. It's judging time.
(Yes! Ah, ah, ah.)
These bakers are more accustomed to having their baking judged by their friends and family
than two of the country's leading professionals.
-Hi, there, hi.
Don't they just look pretty?
We're always looking for this sort of, "gosh!" factor.
And that is just so inviting, isn't it?
-You'd be proud to put them in any shop to sell them.
-There you are.
-It does look good.
I made a drizzle with granulated sugar and some orange juice
so hopefully you should get a bit of that running through.
That is delicious. The orange lightens things up.
-You've got two great bakes.
The topping, the flavours, the appearance, sublime.
-Oh, thank you so much.
-It is very, very, very good.
I don't think I've ever heard him say that word on this show.
-And I'm about to take his temperature.
It's a mess.
-The meringue and the...?
-And the apple, yeah.
It hasn't worked.
-The taste without the meringue is delicious.
The apple and cinnamon just really beautifully balanced.
But what a shame that top didn't have a bit more of a finesse.
Lovely flavour, but then we come to the top.
Forgive me being rude, but it looks a bit like a stuffed olive.
Or an eyeball, perhaps.
I think this one, delicious. It's so fresh.
-The fruit going through it really lifts it up.
I think, visually, they look amazing.
It's very doughy. It's sticking to the roof of my mouth.
This is a nice finish.
-I think they look stunning.
-Your piping is perfect.
With a cupcake, so often there's so much on top.
All that icing, so sickly.
-There's nothing sickly about this at all.
Now, that's rather clever. That's the raspberry jam in the middle.
A nice light sponge round the outside.
-It's delicious, absolutely delicious.
-It's a bouquet.
-It's a bouquet of cupcakes.
-Thought I'd give it a go.
-..I don't like it.
-I don't like it. It is quite heavy.
-Heavy flavour, not heavy texture.
Guinness, use one, chocolate, use another,
chocolate and Guinness, you're in a hiding for nothing.
-Think about your flavour combinations in future.
-(Just going to take this one...)
I think the banoffee pie is delicious.
You've got lots of flavours going on.
A very clever idea to have the crumb crust.
It's sad, it's a bit of a disaster, really, isn't it?
-It is, yes, afraid so.
-They went down in the middle when they were in the oven.
The flavour is not very distinctive, the lemon icing needs more lemon.
The taste of the lemon is very, very good.
Appearance-wise, too simple.
If you take all the fruit away
and leave one of those on their own.
Also, you must be able to eat the decoration,
-and I'm not sure whether you should eat orchids.
These should be boozy, shouldn't they? If I remember rightly.
They will probably be a bit boozy.
The liquorice very much comes through, and the Pernod.
It's a very unusual combination and, like Marmite,
-you'll either like it or loathe it.
-I'm in the camp, I hate it.
-Paul hates it.
I thought one of you would be in the camp.
-To be honest with you, it's disgusting.
It's sitting in my mouth. It's bitter on my tongue.
-The icing tastes OK, but you need to practise with your icing guide.
I could've dropped that in from a five-foot height and ended up with that finish.
-Must try harder.
-I'm a fan of the Pernod, Rob.
Looks nice sponge inside, and light.
It's lovely and sharp and what goes better with rhubarb than cream?
Two great bakes, and the flavours are so delicate.
You've got lovely tart rhubarb, you've got the mint coming through, and it's very, very, very good.
Ben, Holly and Jo have already staked their claim to become this week's star baker.
But Rob, Janet and Simon must improve to avoid an early exit
from the Great British Bake Off.
I think it was a risk doing what I did, but it wouldn't have
been my baking, or my style of baking, if I'd played safe.
I'm feeling a little bit more confident but, you know,
I don't want to get ahead of myself.
Their expectations are obviously higher than my friends' and my family!
After the individual flare of the signature bake,
the second challenge is a controlled technical bake,
allowing the judges to directly compare the bakers' ability.
Coming up now is possibly the moment that you've been dreading.
It's our first technical challenge of the series.
Now, this challenge is performed blind, which means we're going to ask the judges to leave.
Paul and Mary, you cannot see who is baking what.
The technical bake is a controlled test of both your intuition
and your ability.
You are going to be baking something you have no idea about,
and what you are going to be creating
is the bete noire of bakers -
it's a Battenberg cake.
Not just any old Battenberg cake, but a coffee and walnut Battenberg cake.
The judges are going to be looking for the perfect sponge
which holds its form, perfect symmetry, distinctive flavours
and also a very lovely smooth exterior.
And as if the pressure was not intense enough already, bakers,
you are going to be working to one of Mary Berry's -
that's Queen Mary Berry's - own recipes.
So, with that in mind, on your marks, get set, bake.
All the bakers have been given the same recipe.
It contains a full list of ingredients and measurements and a basic method.
Some details are missing and it's down to the bakers' instinct
and experience to deliver a Battenberg worthy of Mary Berry's classic interpretation.
OK, Mary, can I reveal...
-..your gorgeous Battenberg?
-That looks lovely.
-Right, there it is, in all its glory
The history of this most famous of British cakes
began on the Isle of Wight in the 19th century
at Osborne House, the private residence of Queen Victoria.
Queen Victoria's favourite granddaughter, Princess Victoria,
fell in love with her first cousin once removed,
Prince Louis of Battenberg. They'd known each other since children.
As they grew older, they became increasingly devoted
to each other, and it was at Osborne House where the romance flourished.
When the engagement was announced, in early 1884,
the bakers of London decided to make a celebration cake
for the wedding, and it would be a Battenberg cake.
The Battenberg elevated British cake-making to new heights.
Layered with rich sponge, sugary jam and marzipan,
the cake was packed with flavour and sported a new design.
The most startling feature about Battenberg is always the colours,
and it was thought to be to reflect the romance of the wedding,
the pink, the pastel, the pale yellows. There were four squares,
each to honour one of the Battenberg princes -
Prince Alexander, Prince Francis Joseph, Prince Henry
and, of course, Prince Louis.
It's most likely that, if this cake was created in London, it was created in Whitechapel.
Most of the bakers in Whitechapel were German anyway,
so it's quite funny because we've taken the credit for this cake being a British cake,
but actually it was most likely created by a German baker for a German prince.
The Battenberg cake's link to the British monarchy is as strong today as when it was first created.
In 1947, our Queen Elizabeth II was married to her Prince Philip,
who just happens to be a direct descendant of the Battenberg family.
But can these 12 amateur bakers do justice to 125 years
of British baking history in just two hours?
I've never made a Battenberg before, no.
I have made a coffee and walnut cake before,
but I don't like coffee so I don't know how it was. It looked good.
I know what it is because Dot in EastEnders likes to make them for Jim.
The bakers have been given just one tin to bake both the vanilla
-and the coffee and walnut sponges.
-I'm going to have to just hope.
It must be perfectly lined to bake two identical sponges simultaneously.
"Put the paper in half with the fold on the inner side.
"Open up the paper and push up the centre fold to make a 4cm pleat."
That's not going to work.
It's completely new territory for me. Not used to all this origami effort.
31-year-old Keith lives in Bedfordshire
and began baking after deciding to leave his job in the City to become
a full-time house husband and stay-at-home dad to his baby son, Alfie.
-Battenberg, Keith. Are you familiar?
-Are you familiar?
-I haven't got a clue. I feel like Arsene Wenger!
It's like one game at a time, working my way through.
Do you know why you shouldn't think like him?
You'll end up second or third in this contest! You won't win.
To create the basic Battenberg sponge,
the bakers have to combine butter, sugar, eggs and flour.
The tin was the most problematic, I think.
The cake should be OK.
Over-mixing will trap too much air in the mixture...
..air that will expand too much in the oven,
only to contract as it cools, causing the cake to sink,
making a symmetrical finish impossible.
Worried that it won't give me enough rise, but I'll see what happens.
To create the distinctive chequerboard design,
one half of the mixture must be coloured and flavoured with coffee.
I like experimenting and making my own recipes,
but I would much rather follow a Mary Berry recipe.
I'm good at following recipes, I think.
45-year-old Mary-Anne lives with her husband, Robert,
and daughter, Sasha, in Kidderminster.
She's represented Wales in women's rugby,
and has now brought all of her competitive spirit to baking.
I think I should go in search of more coffee.
It's not a very definite taste, so...
There's something very '70s about that taste.
It's a mild coffee flavour, which think that suits the Battenberg vibe.
-I shall let it sit and see if it develops a bit.
-That was very cheffy, wasn't it? "Develops a bit."
I put all the coffee in the cake instead of half in the cake and half for the icing, so I don't know.
It'll probably have a stronger flavour, but the judges wanted strong flavour
-so I'm sure they'll like it.
-With weighing and mixing complete,
the bakers now need to plan how long their sponges need to bake for.
But also allow enough time for cooling and decoration.
I think having a military background does help to some extent,
following specific things to do.
It does make up for the fact that I'm a man, and multi-tasking is a nightmare.
I nearly had a stroke when I heard it was Battenberg.
I've always wanted to make a Battenberg,
and I thought what a good time to try!
So, under pressure while being filmed.
When he isn't baking, 40-year-old Ian works as a fund-raiser
for the Royal Academy of Arts.
He lives in Dunstable with his partner, Stefan, and their Cocker Spaniel, Monty.
He's been baking since he was a boy
when he realised that his mum couldn't.
-It's an anti-stress thing, this, isn't it?
-I'll join you.
Even if I don't use them, I'm doing something with the time.
Do you feel the pressure's on because you're doing one of Mary's recipes?
Oh, God, yeah. You can't prepare. What would you do,
-go through every one of Mary's books and practise everything?
As long as mine don't sink down... Yeah, boy!
-Otherwise I'm out of here.
-Little bit disappointed, actually.
My foil's curled over, so it's split away from the side.
Hopefully I'll be able to rescue that with some marzipan.
I'm actually quite happy with that.
It'll be fine.
I need to let the cakes chill. They have to be cold before I put this on.
The Battenbergs must be finished with a precisely measured amount of coffee butter cream.
It bonds the four sponge sections together
and ensures that the marzipan stays stuck to the side of the cake.
-I don't like Battenberg.
-Really? Why not?
-It's got marzipan on it.
-Do you not like it?
I've never made one, I've never eaten one.
43-year-old housewife and WI member Yasmin lives in the Wirral
with her husband and three children. When she's not baking, she spends her time learning new hobbies,
including photography and burlesque dancing.
It's interesting that you're cooking something you don't like.
Maybe that's a good thing because it gives you a bit of distance from it.
You won't be emotionally tied up with it.
-I can be like one of my children and just pick the outside off.
OK, that's 15 minutes, everyone.
You should think about getting that marzipan on.
The Berry is coming.
It's going to be cut in two, into kind of long square shapes.
Not as perfect as I'd want them to be. That one's really not good.
You do one and one, and the alternate one, don't you?
It's quite difficult to get the butter cream on because the cake keeps crumbling.
It's a bit like brick-laying.
I'm using cling-wrap here
-because I didn't want the marzipan to stick to the roller.
-No, that didn't work.
I'm using these two wooden handles to try
and get the marzipan an even width.
The moment of truth.
With some judicious encouragement, it can be persuaded to wrap round.
Is it going to match?!
That'll be at the bottom, so they won't see that!
No, start again.
I'm hoping that it's all going to stay together.
OK! That's time up.
So if you'd like to bring your Battenberg booty here,
put it just behind the picture of yourself.
The judging for the technical bake is unique.
Paul and Mary will have no idea whose cake is whose.
Well...what an array of Battenbergs.
The strict rules of the technical bake are about to reveal
who has a future in the Bake Off and who will have
to up their game in the final challenge.
So, over to the first one.
-This is interesting.
-Where's the butter cream?
-It seems to have disappeared at the end.
It didn't rise enough, and if it had risen just a little bit more,
-we would have a taller, squarer cake.
-You can't see what the Battenberg is.
-The whole idea of a Battenberg
-is to be able to see that chequerboard at the end.
The marzipan is rather too thick.
-It's very yellow, this one, isn't it?
-It would be the egg yolks.
It's a good flavour. It's slightly drier than the others.
It is slightly drier. This is dinky.
And it's been really well pressed into shape.
-It looks very neat...
-It looks very pretty.
Now, this one is absolutely massive!
It's rather difficult to believe that you all had the same recipe.
Somebody's been beating very hard.
-There's hardly any butter cream at all.
-There's butter cream in there.
-This person has followed
the recipe exactly.
This one, again, has been totally encased.
This looks a very neat, tidy person, well trimmed.
This is another rectangular one.
No butter cream round the outside again.
As you can see here, it's a generous amount.
It's sticking the squares together, but none left for the outside.
It's very strong coffee.
It's very strong coffee. Marzipan's very neat.
This has been well trimmed. It looks perfection.
-It's good flavour, good bake.
-A very good execution.
And finally, the last one.
It's a little uneven,
the marzipan round the outside, but it is beautifully thin.
-Now we have to decide.
Paul and Mary must now rank all of the Battenbergs
from the worst to the best.
The bakers' position in this challenge could prove crucial
to their chance of staying in the competition.
Our decision has been made, and in 12th place
is this one. Whose is this?
It needed cutting into a square, not a rectangle,
needed a lot more butter cream on the inside.
And the next one is...
It's me, unfortunately.
Rather too much marzipan.
10th place is this one.
-Whose is that?
-And who is this one here?
Marzipan is not stuck down at all.
-In fact, it's flying in the wind.
-And in 8th place is this person.
Janet, it needed more butter cream round the outside.
Again, it's rectangular and we wanted it square.
Urvashi, Jason, Yasmin and Mary-Anne have all done enough
to keep themselves out of danger.
Now we're coming to the proper shaped ones.
This one has achieved the right shape,
and it certainly had the right flavour. Well done.
Number two is this one. Well done.
And who has this one here?
-This is a masterpiece.
-Well done, Holly.
I'm feeling very smiley, tired but very, very smiley and happy,
I'm feeling elated, compared to last time.
Top three, I didn't even think I'd do that, but brilliant.
-I'm still quite optimistic, you know.
I still feel that, you know, not all is lost.
Tomorrow, my biggest focus, I think, is going to be praying
that Lady Luck's on my side and that something goes well for me.
I might even be relying on a bit luck that something went bad for someone else.
Just one more challenge remains in this week's Bake Off,
a final chance for the bakers to convince Paul and Mary
that they have what it takes to remain in the competition.
I thought Holly really did wonders.
She was top of the class, both times.
Joanne, her cupcakes were so professional.
She then fell flat on her face with the Battenberg.
-She had a terrible one, didn't she?
-Keith didn't do very well.
He came bottom in the Battenberg and he wasn't too good in the cupcakes.
Janet didn't impress you with the cupcakes.
-They weren't done, they sunk.
-She's already said to us big cakes are her forte.
And also Rob, with the liquorice cupcakes.
-The liquorice didn't work.
-It didn't go down very well with either of you.
Then on the Battenberg he was in the top quarter!
-He did well, but that showed his skill.
-Simon's Guinness thing didn't work on any level,
and he was also in the bottom third of the Battenbergs.
It'll be interesting to see who raises their game and who buckles.
Good morning, bakers.
Now, we have the Showstopper Challenge -
jazz hands are not mandatory - where you're going to be creating a tiered celebration cake.
The judges are looking for brilliant ideas,
elaborate multi-layered designs and, most important of all,
it's got to taste as good as it looks.
-So, what for one of you will be final time, on your marks, get set.
The Showstopper Challenge is the ultimate test
of ingenuity and creativity under immense time pressure.
Not only have they got to make two or three cakes baked to perfection...
..they've got to go beyond anything they've done before.
They've got to decorate it, a sugar paste, a fondant, a ganache.
We're looking for a really high standard.
Then they've got to think of the finesse,
the little bits to make that cake go, "Wow, that is amazing."
The cakes must be baked, cooled, stacked and fully decorated
in just five hours.
Today's more of a fun day for me.
I've done the cake a lot of times, I enjoy working with chocolate.
I'll be more relaxed, should be a different me!
Rob needs to impress with his two-tiered chocolate showstopper,
filled with fresh chocolate mousse, covered in a dark chocolate ganache,
and finished with a cracked tempered chocolate decoration.
'I'm doing a Genoise sponge and you add butter in the end.'
'A Genoise is a technically daunting variation on a standard sponge cake
'that forms the basis for most French patisserie.
'It contains no raising agents and the cake gets its rise and unique
'texture through heating the eggs and sugar over a moderate heat
'and then whisking them until enough air has been trapped to triple the batter's volume.
'This then has to be slowly folded into flour.'
I'm worried about the chocolate,
-I don't know how it will turn out, but...
-I'm worried that bowl isn't big enough.
-Yeah, I've never done with this amount of mixture before.
-Yeah, I guessed, I guessed.
'All the bakers have to produce at least two perfectly baked sponges.
'Mary-Anne has set herself an even tougher challenge.'
It's a cake of many layers. Rather than bake one big cake and then slice it into layers,
I'm making very thin layers and assembling them into a cake.
She's attempting an Opera cake, which is traditionally square and
features at least five extremely thin layers of sponge, filling and icing.
So how many layers are we talking about, in total?
Four sponge, two buttercream, that's six, a ganache...
-..And the mirror glaze, eight.
-This really is difficult!
To think that this is the very first programme
-and we're getting this very exciting cake.
-I hope I'm not peaking too early.
'Simon is hoping to book his place in the next round by dazzling with what's inside his cake.'
I hope it'll be enough to impress them. It's usually better the third day,
but, from experience, these cakes never last three days anyway.
He's recreating his mum's recipe for courgette and chocolate cake
and topping it with fresh fruit and vanilla buttercream icing.
The courgettes go in here, similar to what you do in a carrot cake.
It adds moisture without an overpowering flavour.
Yeah, I thought it was strange when my mum gave me the recipe a few years ago, but it works well.
'Most of the bakers have chosen chocolate as a key ingredient in their tiered showstopper cakes,
'and some are attempting to use it in its elusive tempered form.'
I think it makes it stronger but I don't do chocolate very often, so I'm hoping it works.
'Tempering is a process that must be done in advance
'and aims to produce perfect crystallisation in melted chocolate.'
It is quite a skilled thing to do. I've managed it successfully a few times.
I hope today will be one of them.
'The fats in cocoa butter can crystallise in six different forms.
'Just one, the so-called seed crystal,
'results in the shiny flexible chocolate that can be used for
'decorations and collars to wrap around cakes.'
Don't know the intricacies of these things.
'To create seed crystals,
'chocolate must be heated over water to exactly 45 Celsius.'
At home, I just shove it in the microwave, you know.
'Then it must be cooled to 27 Celsius whilst stirring continuously.'
How can you wait to eat it?
'Finally, it must be manipulated as it cools on a flat surface.'
-I think it's going to be OK.
-'Only this process will provide a glossy finish and crisp texture.'
You can leave that to set and then get a knife and cut through the plastic,
so you end up with strips of chocolate on plastic.
-You can then pick up that chocolate, and the plastic...
-Is this the first...?
..wrap it round a cake and take the plastic off.
The chocolate adheres to the cake and gives you a smooth finish.
Only Jo is attempting to go one better.
Actually, it's better than I hoped for.
She's attempting a polka dot white and milk chocolate collar
for her two-tiered chocolate and fresh strawberry cake.
I've got a ribbon and things I want to put round it and a brooch.
I wanted to keep it quite simple, but famous last words.
'Three hours to go in the final challenge.'
Well, we've all seen how tough it is baking for the judges.
But imagine if you were asked to bake a cake for the Prime Minister.
Sir Winston Churchill: 'We shall fight in the fields and in the streets.
'We shall fight in the hills.
-'We shall never surrender!'
-Our great wartime leader, Winston Churchill,
sending out a stern warning to any country that dared pick a fight with us.
What you might not know is that Winston Churchill himself was the cause of a great conflict here,
on British soil - The Battle of the Cake Bakers.
Churchill's status as Prime Minister made every birthday a national event.
He'd receive thousands of telegrams and cards.
Downing Street would be packed with well-wishers and, year after year,
the country's best bakers would fight for the right to bake Churchill's cake.
Now, there are only a handful of people left who've had
the honour of baking this prized cake, but I found one of them in Essex,
in the heart of Winston Churchill's old constituency.
84 year-old Mike Tomkins was just 26
when he was selected to bake our wartime leader's 80th birthday cake.
The family bakery in South Woodford is now run by son, Chris,
and is still going strong.
So you got the call to make the cake.
Yes, one of the shop girls passed the message on, and I just didn't believe it.
So I had to return the call, and then I found out it was real.
-You thought it was somebody winding you up.
-Yes, that's right.
I then had to think very hard about what sort of cake I would make Winston Churchill.
To me, it became an obvious solution to have an octagonal cake,
eight sides, to demonstrate achievements that Churchill had made in his 80 years.
And what are these different designs showing?
-There's his hat and cigar.
And, of course, his famous V-sign.
What's this over here, Mike? There's a trowel.
-Oh, yes, he was a bricklayer as well, in his garden.
Oh, yes, he was a competent bricklayer
-So a lot of work creating these designs.
-A lot of work, yes.
-What an achievement.
-Well, I felt proud to have been given the chance to do it,
because he is the man of the century without a doubt.
Mike's cake recipe is as traditionally British as Churchill himself.
Laced with treacle, spices and dried fruit,
soaked in Winston's favourite tipple.
-Shall we add a bit more whisky, Mike?
-Just a little.
-A little? How much, Mike?
-Go on, I'll tell you.
Oh, hello. More than that?
Do you need any help with that bit, Chris?
-Do you need me to...?
-Well, as long as no fingers go in it.
I'm very excited.
Mike personally delivered the original cake to Churchill on his 80th birthday,
so this reproduction is a true slice of history.
-That's absolutely gorgeous.
Is this bringing back memories?
Oh, it's unbelievable when you look back on it all.
I've always said, it's my only claim to fame. Peak of my life.
Here's to Winston himself.
-There's enough booze in there to have a toast, isn't there?
Yeah, I'm very happy with that one, yeah.
I'm hoping that's not liquid something inside. Nothing I can do now. Point of no return!
Janet's future in the Bake Off could rest on her two-tiered dark chocolate marble cake,
topped with handmade chocolate truffles.
-How did you make these?
-Just a usual sponge, sort of thing.
Then knifed in 200 grams of melted dark chocolate.
That's very effective. It's come out really well.
'While their sponges are cooling, most of the bakers have
'moved on to preparing their toppings and fillings.'
-I'm in my element, kneading sugar paste. It's brilliant. I love it.
I feel like I'm back at home.
Keith is creating a two-tiered chocolate cake,
inspired by his son Alfie's favourite television programme.
-A lighter green goes on the base, which is, if you like, the land.
Slightly darker green at the top, tunnel inside, trains coming through the tunnels.
Are you going to have a tunnel, a real tunnel?
Well, not a real, real tunnel, but...
-But a tunnel of cake.
OK, bakers, just 30 minutes left.
Just time to smear that last blob of ganache on.
I'm just layering up with the chocolate butter cream,
and ganache, and then I'm going to trim it so that it looks stunning instead of like a dog's breakfast.
This is about as complicated as I wanted to get. I didn't want to go throwing in,
having to temper chocolate and do flowers and stuff.
It's not worked.
Get my hands washed.
The chocolate didn't set properly so I had to rescue it and put a panel on it,
so I'm going to try and work panels round the whole outside,
just to give it... I like that sheen better.
I can only do what I can do in the time I've got, so we'll see what happens.
Ben aims to produce the tallest cake in the final challenge,
a three-tiered vanilla sponge cake covered in air-brushed sugar paste icing.
I'm trying to get it on and done and.
You're the make-up artist to all the sponge cakes. When they need perfection they call for you.
'Before they can finish their final decorations, the bakers have to face stacking their tiers.'
They're ordinary drinking straws, but they're quite good for this.
'A process that even professionals fear.'
They give you a bit of support for the top tiers to sit on.
'Straws or dowling must be used to create a foundation for each tier.'
This is a bit of butter cream. It just sticks them together to stop them sliding around.
It should stay neatly on top.
OK, bakers, 15 minutes.
My hands are shaking. Phew!
OK... Oh, man, I'm sorry.
Is there anything we can do then?
I think as I was turning it round I kept pushing it a bit,
turning it round, pushing it a bit more, and just pushed it off.
I'm so gutted. So gutted.
I thought it was starting to look really good, as well.
You didn't mean it to happen.
Try and rescue one of those layers.
Hang on. Don't, don't bend it, right?
Hang on. Get your hand there.
Now, you've got one layer, put a layer of chocolate on that now.
A layer of chocolate on it, get it round the side, now.
Ladies and gentlemen, it's that time of day, the time for stopping and moving away.
Thankfully, everything went on pretty much as I'd like it to.
We got the colour on there, we got everything on, so,
fingers crossed, it'll taste as good as it looks.
It looks OK from a distance.
If you don't look too close, it looks quite castle-like,
I ran out of time and didn't have enough time to do everything I wanted, but it's finished,
I suppose, so I'm happy.
If somebody said to me, "Do you think you're going to be in the competition from now?"
I'd say, "Probably not", actually, because I did abysmally yesterday.
It's a bit of a Pyrrhic victory if I was to beat Rob to the post.
It's like racing against a guy with a broken leg. It's not fair, is it?
For one of these bakers, this will be the last time that they face the judges.
Mary and Paul will taste each cake individually before discussing their final decision away from the bakers.
The brief was, a tiered celebration cake.
What we have here is two layered cakes.
It tastes absolutely divine.
-If I was being very picky I would like to have seen a tempered chocolate somewhere.
..Because that's what you need on an Opera, to go crack and then down.
But that is a very good cake.
-It tastes delicious.
I've made and tried lots of courgette cakes,
but this one is quite different and it's very chocolatey.
The icing on it, it needs work, it needs to be smoother,
-and it needs to be set.
I'm not too keen on these because I feel that I would like to have made something.
-Don't buy things to cover up your own mistakes, essentially.
Mm... There's booze.
On the base. Too much?
-Oh, yes, lovely.
You've had difficulty with the outside.
The interior is fantastic.
It is, in fact, a beautifully baked sponge.
The overall appearance of it, it needs work.
Personally, I would have liked to have seen these being constructed by you.
The actual icing is very good, you've rolled that well.
-It's slightly under-baked.
Mm... It's dropped. It probably needed another five minutes.
Just look at that. It's beautifully marbled.
-I'm scared if it's OK.
-You've got a chocolate butter cream running through it too.
-I have, yeah.
The chocolate that's coming through, it's not bitter at all. It's lovely and sweet.
The dark chocolate ganache is very good.
I think the cow's fantastic.
You've got a lovely smooth edge here, too.
Overall, the appearance is very unmistakeable.
But the sponge is a little bland.
I think it's slightly overdone, as well.
-I think more work on the sponge and a little less time on the finish.
-This was a Genoise.
-And do you know...
-The truffles add to it.
We haven't had one in the bake off before. It's very tricky.
The taste of that - it's a shame you haven't got the top, to be honest.
The taste of that is divine.
Paul and Mary must now decide who is this week's star baker
and who hasn't done enough to stay in the competition.
Who's really impressed you? Who's your star baker?
I think it's Holly and Jo.
Holly came top in both of the challenges.
She showed her skills, she thought out her recipes, she could go far.
And today, her novelty cake was a little bit awkward.
Jo's sponge today is stunning. But then, on the Battenberg, it all went to pieces.
-I think it's one of those two girls.
Who is looking as if they might be going today?
-I can think of three boys.
Rob, I wasn't too pleased.
He lost one of the tiers on his cake!
But he was the one that did the Genoise, the most difficult sponge to make.
Keith and Simon are also in a very precarious position.
When you look at Keith, his celebration cake was too simple.
And Simon did the Guinness cake and it really didn't taste very nice.
Well, I've got someone in mind.
I have, too.
-Oh, my heart just started going then.
-It's not you, Mel.
-It's not you.
-You're not scheduled to go till next week.
Bakers, first things first. We want to thank you for all your hard work.
It's been an incredibly tiring weekend, but you have really surpassed yourselves.
Paul and Mary want you to know the standard's been incredibly high.
With that in mind, each week we'll nominate a star baker.
And the person this week who has that accolade is...
Holly. Well done, Holly.
But I'm afraid there is one person among you who hasn't impressed the judges quite enough
to stay with us on the Bake Off.
I'm sorry to say that the person who will not be joining us next week...
Commiserations, Keith. Round of applause.
-Thank you very much, I've had a great time.
'I suppose the only part of me that's sad about leaving today is'
cos I don't want to be the first one who goes, but someone has to be and, you know, it was my time.
It's the way it goes sometimes, isn't it?
'I'm looking forward to getting back to home baking and doing things that I do week in, week out,'
baking breads and pies and, yeah, no more cakes.
'I'm massively relieved I'm here, just because it was such an uncertain week for me, and so I feel relieved'
that I've got through so that I can show how good I am at other things.
I feel quite pleased, I'm trying to stop myself smiling because I think it can...
I don't want to look smug cos I'm well aware that next week I could be going.
-Are you proud?
-I am, yeah.
'It's lovely to get positive feedback from people, particularly Mary.
'I've been baking her cakes for a long time.'
I don't want to disappoint her now! So I want to keep doing well.
Hello, I've just finished.
And...I'm through to the pastry!
-Did you sleep last night?
-I didn't, no.
-'The bakers tackle tarts.'
-My biggest concern is that my pastry will have a soggy bottom.
Creating their signature quiches.
-It looks a mess.
Mary Berry's second technical challenge.
Very nice short pastry.
-'Tarte au citron.'
-It's shrinking away from the side.
And 24 show-stopping miniature sweet tarts.
Just get it done. Stop messing around and get it in the oven.
But who will become the next star baker?
You can win it one week and be knocked out the next.
And whose Bake Off is about to end?
-Nobody gets an extra chance.
-Her work is just a little bit clumsy.
The person who will be leaving us this week is...
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
E-mail [email protected]
Twelve of the country's best amateur bakers take part in the second series of The Great British Bake Off, hosted by Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins. Over eight weeks their cake-baking, pastry, bread-making and patisserie skills are tested to the limit as they are challenged to bake everything from the perfect tarte au citron to towers of macaroons, and iced fingers to family pies. All the challenges are devised by legendary cookery writer and baker Mary Berry and acclaimed master baker Paul Hollywood, who are also on hand to judge and taste their efforts.
This first show sees the twelve amateur bakers challenged to make 24 beautifully flavoured and decorated cupcakes in two hours, and the stress of highly pressurised surroundings of the Bake Off's open plan kitchen soon shows. Next up, the technical challenge - to make a coffee and walnut battenberg cake from one of Mary Berry's recipes that delivers drastically different results.
Finally, for a place in the next round of Bake Off they have to make and bake a tiered showstopper cake. But whose cakes will have the wow factor and who will be the first to leave The Great British Bake Off?