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Claire Hooper And Mel Buttle Decorated Cakes While We Grilled Them About Hosting "Great Australian Bake Off"

"Always roast your nuts. For flavour. But also when you're baking."

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On October 13, The Great Australian Bake Off will feature 12 of Australia's best amateur bakers, competing to be crowned this year's champion.

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We were lucky to have the show's hosts, Claire Hooper and Mel Buttle, join us in the office to show us a thing or two! We put them to the test with a challenge to decorate the ultimate Showstopper Sponge in five minutes.

Meanwhile, we grilled them about their experience guiding the bakers over 10 weeks of competition, and what tips and tricks they might have picked up in that time.

All gifs by Anna Mendoza for BuzzFeed

How would you explain Great Australian Bake Off to someone who has never seen it before?

Claire Hooper: You take a shed, you put it in the middle of a field, you fill it with normal people, and you submit them to a gruelling schedule. You put them out of their comfort zone, and you turn cameras on them to watch them flounder under the critical gaze of Maggie Beer and Matt Moran. BUT ENOUGH ABOUT THE HOSTS! There are also 12 people that do a bit of baking.

Are there strong Aussie influences on the show?

Mel Buttle: Well I'm on there and I say things like, "grouse cake! Real rippa today!"

CH: And also in the first episode there is a challenge where they're given a lot of specifically Australian Ingredients. The Davidson's Plum...

MB: ...muntries...

CH: Just because it grows on a tree in Australia does not mean it would make a delicious cake ingredient and someone needs to tell Maggie Beer that.

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Are either of you bakers?

CH: Mel is more at home in the kitchen than I am.

MB: You’re more garden based.

CH: I’m really comfortable in all other rooms of the house but I do hover at the door of the kitchen and ask my husband how it’s going. “It’s better if I just keep out of your way isn’t it?” And he’ll be like, “yes.” And then I just go away again.

MB: I can bake, but I’d rather not have to. I can also tap-dance but I won’t be pulling that out any time soon. It’s like a party trick. If I really like you, I’ll bake you something... but I’m more savoury. Let’s slow cook some lamb all day!

MB: You know where your kitchen is in your house though.

CH: Oh you bet. It’s quite a big room in the house.

MB: Like if I blindfolded you, you could make your way there.

CH: You bet I would. I’d just follow the sound of my daughter throwing knives on the ground.

Did you pick up any tips or tricks watching the bakers?

MB: Always roast your nuts. For flavour. But also when you're baking.

CH: I think what I took away from the show most of all is the psychology of baking; keep your cool and time management. I don't think I'm a better baker but if somebody said, "you have 90 minutes to do THIS," I'd be like; all right I'm going to be like those people that don't run out of time.

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CH: I learned that if you're one of the top 12 amateur bakers in Australia it's still really hard - so what's the point in regular people even trying?

MB: Yeah - don't try, that's what I learned!

Both of you come from stand-up comedy backgrounds. What do you think would be easier? Trying to bake a soufflé for Matt and Maggie, or doing a stand-up set?

CH: What?! Sets are easy. You can either make people laugh, or they don't laugh. Serve up a soufflé to Matt and you run the risk of never being invited back to [his restaurant] Aria.

MB: If Matt was dying and he just needed a little bit of sustenance to keep him alive, I'd be like, "well you're eating it blindfolded and you're not allowed to make any comments."

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MB: I’d rather perform comedy to ONE person than cook Matt anything. Maggie I’d be more likely to cook for…

CH: I think she’s probably more fussy than Matt when it comes down to it… I can see him eating a pie from a servo at midnight if he had to. Whereas Maggie...

MB: She has standards! She would always find a positive. Matt would be like, “it’s burned, it’s dry, it’s got no flavour, I can’t taste the lemon zest…” and Maggie would go, “but the icing is very nice!” Always finding the positive.

CH: It was always the softest criticism. You knew she didn’t like it but she’d say it like, “I’m afraid I don’t think it’s gone very well this time….”

MB: Yeah, no. There’ll be no soufflés.

CH: What WOULD you cook for Matt?

MB: I would do duck fat roasted potatoes, a pork loin with crackling – habanero chilli garlic and buy the dessert from a really good pâtisserie.

CH: I reckon I’d pop into one of his restaurants and get a takeaway. Just wait for him to call me on it.

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