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The first contestant has been given the boot from the new series of The Great British Bake Off, in an opening episode which saw collapsed cakes and extravagant bakes.
The first episode of the 12th series saw the return of judges Paul Hollywood and Dame Prue Leith, and presenters Matt Lucas and Noel Fielding, back in the famous tent.
The 12 new contestants rose to the challenge in cake week as they baked signature decorative mini rolls, a “teatime classic” technical and gravity-defying showstoppers.
Jurgen from Sussex clinched the coveted star baker title.
Tom from Kent became the first to leave the series after failing to impress the judges.
The 28-year-old software engineer admitted his showstopper was “a bit of a disaster”.
In a letter shared with viewers, Tom added: “Although my time in the Bake Off tent may have been short, it certainly has been very sweet.”
The Channel 4 show opened with a baking-themed adaptation of Billy Ray Cyrus’s country classic Achy Breaky Heart, performed by the judges and presenters.
— British Bake Off (@BritishBakeOff) September 21, 2021
The spoof was accompanied by faux mullets, cowboy boots, fringed jackets and a spot of line-dancing.
The contestants were first challenged to create 12 mini rolls, with whatever sponge, flavours and fillings they desired, within two hours.
Creating the perfect swirl proved trickier for some, but 56-year-old Jurgen, originally from the Black Forest in Germany, impressed the judges by going back to his roots and creating Black Forest flavoured mini rolls.
Hollywood asked the contestant offer up his own verdict of his bake, to which Jurgen said: “I would buy it.
“The balance between cream and chocolate is right, and you have enough sour cheery and not sweet”.
Both judges agreed and Leith joked: “Just judge your own cake”.
In the technical round, they were tested with malt loaf, a bake set by Leith who admitted it was a “really old fashioned recipe, and those of you who are under 35 may never have heard of it” but assured, “don’t panic, just read the recipe”.
Some of the contestants turned to Dorset-based Maggie, 70, for advice on what a malt loaf was, but it seems experience was on her side as she voted number one in the challenge, which is judged blind.
Leith told her: “I won’t say you’re anything like as old as me but you’re getting a little bit older than some of these (contestants), and you can make the perfect malt loaf, well done.”
— British Bake Off (@BritishBakeOff) September 14, 2021
Amanda, 56, who works for the Metropolitan Police in London, came last in the technical challenge due to having “loads of flour pockets” in her bake.
She later joked “I’m never going to bake with flour again”.
Finally, the showstopper saw the contestants go to new heights as they had to create an “awe-inspiring” anti-gravity illusion cake, which was decorated to represent a precious memory.
The bakers had four hours to create cakes that appeared to defy gravity by suspending part of the bake in the air.
The task drove tensions high within the tent and two cakes could not quite survive the pressure, including Amanda’s large, wave-themed cake, which initially impressed but soon collapsed after being judged.
Chigs, who only started baking 12 months prior during the lockdown, created an illusion cake of a jug pouring chocolate into a mixing bowl but the cup broke and fell to the floor when presented to the judges.
However, Leith did remark that it was “delicious” and he was a “very good baker but your engineering skills need honing a little”.
Client relationship manager Crystelle, 26, and vegan baker Freya, 19, both impressed with their gravity-defying flower-themed bakes.
The Great British Bake Off continues at 8pm on Tuesdays on Channel 4.