Warning: This recap for episodes 1 and 2 of The Great British Baking Show contains spoilers.
PBS is airing the first two episodes of the season back-to-back for the premiere, so this recap covers both. In week one, the bakers have to show off their elegance, baking fluffy sponge cakes with perfectly shiny exteriors. In the second, artistic precision is on display as they’re asked to build a scene from their lives out of gingerbread. The harrowing showstopper round sees two scenes collapsing, but the only tears are from the winner.
In Cake Week, Jane takes Star Baker with a showstopper that Paul calls an “elegant Jaffa Cake.” Lee goes home after his mirror cake takes “simple is better” too far. Biscuit Week was hard on a lot of people, but Candice’s over-ambition pays off with a recreation of her childhood pub that wins her Star Baker. However, Louise’s wedding scene collapses, leaving her with a pile of tasty debris and a swift exit from the tent.
Most Salacious Innuendo
There is no end to unintentionally filthy talk that goes on under the tent. From Sue’s admonition to Paul, “Don’t injure yourself on the balls,” to Mel’s offer to put her warm hands on Rav’s bag, and Candice asking Mel to come and grab her jugs, please. But the lewdest phrase by far is Mary’s “I’ll eat a bit of carpet.” Nobody delivers the smutty goods like Mary Berry.
The Mare-Bear Stare
Mary Berry is jovial, but she has a line and woe betide those who cross it. This week, Paul had the temerity to dip his Jaffa Cake in tea, drawing a frown from Mary that would stop the Queen dead in her tracks. “We don’t do that in the South, you know,” she says with a shake of her head so severe, it’s a wonder Paul didn’t keel over right there.
Selasi forgets to put cinnamon into his drizzle cake batter and was prepared to remake the entire thing, but Candice convinces him to put it into the drizzle instead. It’s a smart move and Mary compliments him on his quick thinking. But just over her shoulder, Candice is smiling and Selasi nods, acknowledging her help.
Best Adorable Gargoyle
With Sue out of the tent and on reconnaissance to uncover the history of biscuits, Mel is left to her own devices and announces the beginning of the technical challenge with something that is half-Scooby Doo and half-banshee.
Mary, meanwhile, makes no bones about her distaste for Kate’s use of lavender in her biscuit. Both earn top marks this week.
Most British Pronunciation
Mel has a two-syllable pronunciation of “moist” that will take your breath away, but it’s Kate’s pronunciation of “gooseberry” — which somehow loses all of its internal vowels and comes out kind of like “gzbry” — that is this week’s signature diction moment.
Louise and Val both dump their biscuits on the floor, but Val manages the better rebound; despite being one shy of the required 24, her shortbread passes muster.
Tom is the first baker of the season to receive the coveted Paul Hollywood Handshake™ and it’s well-deserved; he made over 300 test biscuits to get the spice/coffee mix just right.
Is that a bit of Gordon Ramsay peeking out? Paul calls out Louise’s Jaffa Cakes with, “They are fairly uniform… ly bad,” which is more than enough snark for two episodes, thank you very much.
Mel and Sue are the resident punsters, so it’s surprising that Selasi outdoes them both with his appraisal of his motorbike-themed biscuits. “I think they’re wheely good,” he says without a trace of shame.
Tom’s gin drizzle doubles Paul over with its strength, but in a classic case of overcorrection, he takes his cherry brandy measurements from six ounces to barely half an ounce and the judges can’t even taste it. Moderation in all things, as the ancient Greeks would say.
Most British Euphemism
What Mary wants to say about Kate’s icing on her biscuits is “hot mess,” but what she says is it’s “informal,” which sounds much nicer. But Kate knows what she did.
Candice barely holds it together — though we didn’t — when she talks about how proud her parents will be. “That was my childhood,” she says of her pub scene, “There it was in a little box that, apparently, looked and tasted Star Baker-worthy.”
The Great British Baking Show airs Fridays at 9 p.m. on PBS.
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