The tent is up: Bake Off is back

The Great British Bake Off contestants
The Great British Bake Off contestants
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TRISH TAKES FIVE: By award-winning blogger Trish Burgess

Can it really be a year since our Nancy from Lincolnshire won The Great British Bake Off? Last week, despite the lack of improvement in my own baking, I returned to the sofa with a cup of tea and a custard cream, ready to be inspired.

I have to say, I learned a lot in that short hour. I discovered that frosting mustn’t be granular, a sheet of acetate is the latest baking gadget and Madeira sponge is meant to have a big crack in it. I wonder who decided that on that rule? Usually it’s a sign of a cake being in the oven too long. I think I will use this excuse for all future cakes: if it cracks I’ll tell everyone it’s a Madeira.

We have some interesting new bakers. Dependable Marie, star baker from Perthshire, looks to be the equivalent of Nancy from 2014, young Flora (will she use butter?) is this year’s Martha and in Dorret I think we may have found another Iain: just for a moment I thought we would have a repeat of ‘bingate’ with her Black Forest Gateau mush looking uncannily like the Irishman’s melted Baked Alaska.

Adventurous Stu, adding beetroot and meringue to his showstopper, was the first to leave the tent. This was a shame as I was relying on his penchant for headwear to create some great column material: last week he was so very nearly wearing a Pork Pie hat.

There is another trend I have spied; bakers using their own trades to help them in the competition. In 2014 Richard, the builder, often seen with a pencil behind his ear, put his plastering skills to good use with any icing requirements. This year we have already witnessed anaesthetist Tamal syringing his cake with lemon syrup and I’m sure Alvin, the nurse, thermometer in hand, had no problems ensuring his tempered chocolate reached the magic number of 32 degrees.

This had me thinking. Which jobs would add something extra to the Bake Off tent?

Gardeners might be a bit heavy-handed with the icing, doubtless laying it on with a trowel, whereas I imagine plumbers would be a dab hand at piping.

Jockeys would have a talent for whipping but I’d rely on a dentist to excel at fillings.

A cleaner would be excellent at dusting and can you imagine the excitement a mathematician would 
experience during ‘Pi’ week.

A hairdresser would surely be the ideal choice for cake decorating: a comb to create patterns and plenty of delicate curls.

But I think the person who would show a natural talent for baking would be my window cleaner: he would have no difficulty 
with glazing and wouldalways have a moist sponge.

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