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I Baked Every Technical Challenge From "Bake Off" 2016 And Fucking Hell

How did Selasi not get stressed making these?

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Last year I decided to bake every technical challenge from The Great British Bake Off, despite having no baking experience whatsoever. It did not go to plan.

Scott Bryan / BuzzFeed

As you can tell from my "tennis court" bake on the right, some of the bakes were a horror show. And no, that is not kale on the top of my cake. I seem to be Mr Kale now. Whenever kale is in the news, colleagues ask for my opinions about kale. I don't even like kale.

So I decided to try it again while Bake Off was exploding around us. I watched the show every week, then bought the ingredients and followed the recipe at home a couple of days later. No googling or asking for help was allowed, just like in the show.

1. CAKE WEEK: Jaffa Cakes (aka Don’t Bother Making, And No, That Isn’t Blood)

Scott Bryan / BuzzFeed

My Jaffa cake looked like a scene from one of those Netflix murder documentaries you’ve been hearing so much about lately.

My jelly for the filling, which ended up being strawberry because orange was sold out everywhere, wouldn’t set. Agitated, I added it to my biscuit. Then, keen to get this over with, I smothered each biscuit with warm melted chocolate.

The jelly slid off my biscuit. So, instead of waiting for the chocolate to cool, I just kept adding more warm chocolate and jelly, and then some more. Until I ran out of my ingredients. And after that, I had quite a lot of wine. The ingredients and kit came to £35, by the way.

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I didn't realise I should have let the chocolate cool first. I then decided to tweet a photo of my Jaffa cakes. The responses I got back weren't that great.

Twitter: @scottygb, Scott Bryan / BuzzFeed

My colleagues then tried some of the cakes. Their anonymous reviews did not go down well.

Reviews: "They look terrible, Scott." "Like shit." "Mate." "No comment." "NO." "A crime scene." "What is seeping from them?"

Here is the recipe, if you want to try.

This was the worst review of my bake:

2. DESSERT WEEK: Marjolaine (aka A Gigantic Viennetta, Back From The Dead)

Love Productions / BBC, Scott Bryan / BuzzFeed

My attempt at this looks like one of those cruise liners where every passenger gets a vomiting bug and no country lets it dock at their port.

I tried to make praline by caramelising sugar at 170°C (338°F). It was abandoned when it turned into crystal meth. "I will never make praline again!" I vented at my boyfriend, Matt, pictured above. "AGAIN?!" he responded. "You haven't made it once!"

My chocolate ganache topping was wonderful. I then put it in the fridge and it turned into clay. It's great for pottery.

Reviews: "It tastes good as it looks (that can be taken any way you like)." You can find the recipe here.

Bake Off's Val randomly commented on a photo of my bake on Instagram. She said:

3. BREAD WEEK: Dampfnudel (aka That's Right, Some Testicles In A Frying Pan!)

BBC / Love Productions

This was a 25-minute pregnancy. With the lid down in the pan while the dampfnudel were baking, the steam made it impossible to know what was going on inside. When I lifted the lid at the end, I instantly regretted my decision. I also lost my appetite.

And the taste? Well, they all tasted like a scone dipped in cold water. The plum sauce was nice though.

Reviews: "Dumpling roadkill." "Compacted bread... Weirdly, I want more." "The look? Ikea meatballs. The taste? Not Ikea meatballs."

To try this frying-bread thing, you can find the recipe here.

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Val also responded to this bake on Instagram. She commented:

Her words helped me. Then I remembered these tweets, both tweeted 10 minutes apart.

@scottygb ok just caught up on your tweet, sorry x

4. PÂTISSERIE WEEK: Savarin With Chantilly Cream (aka The Doughnut Of Doom)

Love Productions / BBC, Scott Bryan / BuzzFeed

I followed this recipe, which involves a lot of orange liqueur, to the letter. I was pretty smug with how well it was going. But when I removed my mixture from the cake mould fresh out of the oven, it was a different colour and size to all of the ones on Bake Off.

I then brought it into work. The taste of the cake was disgusting. The editor-in-chief of BuzzFeed UK walked over to my desk, looked at me square in the eyes, and said sternly: "This is the worst thing that you have ever baked. And this includes those dampfnudel."

Others said it tasted like a month-old cake. I thought it tasted like a cake preserved from Queen Elizabeth II's coronation.

I also had to pipe out "Saverin" on a melted chocolate disc to display on my cake. Candice from Bake Off's attempt is on the LEFT below.

Love Productions / BBC, Scott Bryan / BuzzFeed

I asked people to guess what the word was when they reviewed my bake. "TART", TOSH", "TOKYO", and "JOSH" were popular responses.

I personally thought it was a ghost dancing in a light breeze.

I also tweeted a photo of my chocolate disc.

@scottygb please don't hurt me but i actually thought this said "trash"

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Reviews: "It looks OK...from a distance." "Not very good." "Why?" You can try this confusing cake for yourself here.

5. BATTER WEEK: Lace Pancakes (aka So Easy That Even I Could Make Them)

Scott Bryan / BuzzFeed

I kept to the original plan they did in the show. The first pancake mixture I squeezed out of a bottle would be a practice, then every other bake I would do I would have to keep and photograph. My god, this was a breeze to do.

Yes, unlike the bakers, some of my designs did not have the detail or the heart in the middle or whatever. They kind of looked like cobwebs. I didn't care. Finally, something that I could bake THAT WASN'T UNBELIEVABLY SHIT. My ego soared.

Here is the evidence of this technical going to my head:

Instagram: @scottygb

But then, a problem. I had some mates try these pancakes at my home, but as the rules in the show were that you had to make 12 pancakes in a row before the challenge finished, these pancakes would all be eaten cold. Pancakes are only warm for literally seconds. All pancakes, no matter how they look, taste terrible cold. So what is the point of this bloody titting challenge?

Reviews: "Prettiest pancakes I've had." "These taste like pancakes." "These taste so damn cold." Here's the recipe.

6. BISCUIT WEEK: Viennese Whirls (aka Don't Take These To Work By Bike)

Love Productions / BBC, Scott Bryan / BuzzFeed

A promising start. Making the raspberry jam filling from scratch was easy. I didn't even burn myself making some jam in a pan, which was a bonus because I considered scolding myself and a "help me I'm sad" call to my parents inevitable.

But then it went downhill. I couldn't pipe anything out of the piping bag as the mixture I made was too thick. When it did happen, it was 100% less sexy than Selasi. I caused a fucking mess. Icing sugar ended up everywhere, including the hallway floor.

I then apologised to Matt for a straight hour, guilty of all the mess I caused. These stupid biscuits, which look like dodgy Mr Kipling ones dropped from quite a height, hurt my relationship for a full 12 hours. Thanks for that, Paul Hollywood.

I cycled the biscuits to work. They all totally glued together in the box.

Scott Bryan / BuzzFeed

They didn't come out the box at work, even when tipped upside down. Removing them from the box without a chisel was a nightmare. I showed some colleagues photos of my bake from the previous night and asked them to consider them in their reviews. They didn't.

Reviews: "Scott, you've fucked it up."" "Roadkill." "Jesus." "I'm sure they looked nice at some point." "It tastes something my nan would make." "You know what, it's actually delicious." Try this recipe here (don't cycle it to work after).

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7. PASTRY WEEK: Bakewell Tart (aka I Fucking Hate Icing So Damn Much)

BBC / Love Productions

OK, the top does look like Super Mario dyed his moustache pink and then was run over by a truck, but you know what? I'm happy with it.

However, I didn't realise that when you blind bake things, you are supposed to put a protective layer between the baking beans and the pastry. The pastry looked weird.

Scott Bryan / BuzzFeed

I texted Matt a photo of my finished Bakewell tart smothered with the icing, and he responded with a photo of Bagpuss. I can't get the image of a flat Bagpuss out of my head when I look at my bake now.

I made this at my mum's house. Her glowing three-word review: "It looks edible."

Reviews: "It tastes better than it looks." "So damn sickly." "No soggy bottom." Try this recipe here.

8. Fougasse (aka OK The Look Is All Wrong But Oh My It Tasted Delicious)

Love Productions / BBC, Scott Bryan / BuzzFeed

This bake involved a 400-mile round trip to my mum and dad's house in Dorset because they had a KitchenAid. That might be very middle-class to say, but it will never be as middle-class as Tom from Bake Off saying he eats fougasse as a cinema snack.

The only issue was that I got all the cuts in my dough wrong. In the show, Paul Hollywood was very specific about the cuts you have to make in the fougasse. Mine ended up looking like boxing gloves that would not protect you in a fight.

The whole thing was a gloopy mess, but my god it was exhilarating to make.

Scott Bryan / BuzzFeed

Making bread is the goddamn best. The exhilaration you feel is like the exhilaration you get after you drive for the very first time after passing your test. Or the first time you pull in a nightclub. Or get a tax rebate. I urge you all to make bread.

Reviews: "It kind of looks like a crab." "Herby." "This goes so well with olive oil." Try it for yourself here.

9. TUDOR WEEK: Jumble Biscuits (aka What Is The Point Of These Knots?)

BBC / Love Productions

You can tell that these biscuits were from the Tudor era as a lot of the ingredients were totally naff and are difficult to track down. Ingredients like ground mace, ground aniseed, and caraway seeds. The ground aniseed was by far the worst. Two HOURS of looking in various stores resulted in nothing. So I ordered some at 1am on Amazon Prime in a blind panic.

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Five hundred grams of ground aniseed arrived in the post. It was only then that I decided to check the recipe. It turns out that I needed, in total, half a teaspoon.

Scott Bryan / BuzzFeed

I have 499.5g spare. This means I can make approximately 1,000 biscuits, which is nice because I never want to bake these again.

The knots I made explain why I never got the knot badge at Scouts. The reviews were also surprising. Not because the biscuits tasted good. Quite a few people said they tasted like sausages. No meat was anywhere near.

Reviews: "They have flavour, which is a real achievement for you, Scott." "Why does this taste of sausage?" "Is the texture supposed to be this chalky?" "This is not the worst thing you've ever done." "Informal." Try the recipe here.

EXTRA: I also made a Botanical Week three-tier flower cake Showstopper, which didn't really go to plan either. We filmed it, and you can watch it here.

Sian Butcher / BuzzFeed, Laura Gallant / BuzzFeed

Technical challenges are straightforward because you just follow the recipe, but with a Showstopper? No idea. The world is your oyster. It's terrifying. So I followed a strategy of making three different floral cakes and then stacking them on top of each other.

One layer I dropped and ended up on the floor. One cake turned into a biscuit because I added too much poppyseed. The result looks like kind of looks like a Dalek with an acne problem. The taste was like tasting three average cakes, at the same time.

Love Productions / BBC

* You should just go and buy a packet of Jaffa cakes. They're 59p in Tesco.

* I will never understand how Selasi manages to be so chill during these challenges.

* I mean, this nearly ruined me.

* I was a bit sad about all the Bake Off news this year. After some of these technical challenge attempts, not so much.

* Please. Someone take 499.5g of my ground aniseed. Please.

I also think my boyfriend is pleased it's over. This was his tweet when I said I had finished them all.

@janinegibson @scottygb AND HE RETIRES. THE END.

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