Image: Kari Shea (via Unsplash)
You might think it would be Christmas, but in my eyes, the most wonderful time of year is when The Great British Bake Off is back on our TVs. Considering what 2020 has been like so far, finding out that Bake Off would be back (and only slightly delayed) is probably the best news we’ve heard all year. As we face ever-changing restrictions and are all looking for ways to fill time outside of lectures, there has never been a better year to host your very own bake off with your housemates.
The beauty with Bake Off is that there are so many layers (or ‘lairsss’, as Mary Berry would say) to it, that you can make your own bake off as unique as Prue’s necklace choices. You could regimentally copy Bake Off and do all three challenges in order- if you’ve got the stamina, eager housemates (to eat or compete) and the space. Or, if you fancy an easier task, take it in turns to do your own thing and whip up a storm in the kitchen. Just make sure they bakes are ready in time for watching actual Bake Off, so you can talk about how much better you are at baking than they are whilst you watch.
You will need…
- 2-8 budding bakers (in a pinch, these can be swapped out for less keen participants, but results may vary)
- 1-2 judges, willing to distribute Hollywood Handshakes if appropriate.
- 1-2 hosts, to get in the way when you’re trying to bake, but also comfort you when it all goes disastrously wrong and someone throws something in the bin.
- Enough baking ingredients to last another banana bread lockdown craze.
- Equipment- beg and borrow from friends if needed. There’s nothing worse than going to put the cake in the oven and then finding out nobody owns any tins.
- An amazing recipe. If it’s baked, it can enter (no fridge cakes allowed, sorry) so dig out those cookbooks you promised mum you’d use every day and get finding that winning recipe.
- A prize. If the glory isn’t enough.
- Decide who’s going on which team. Depending on how many people you’ve got who actually know their palmiers from their profiteroles, it might be worth dividing the more confident bakers up so the rest of you stand some sort of chance in winning.
- Pick a theme. This is optional, but if you do want to make it themed then either pick a week from the bake off tent (match it up with the week you’ll be watching if you’re feeling really organized), or theming it around something else. This could be something seasonal, for example a Bonfire Night Bake Off, or you could make it book/ movie themed. Whatever you decide on, just make sure to award extra points to the person/ team whose bake is the most fitting.
- Ready, set, bake! If there are a lot of you taking part, it might be worth taking it in turns. Set a time limit of a couple of hours if you want things to get even more competitive, or if the bakes are all going to take a while then make sure to get started a couple of days before so you all have plenty of time to use the kitchen. Most baked goods will stay fresh for a week, so you can always bake ahead of time and then decorate on the day, if needed.
- Let the judging commence. You can either make the judging blind so it’s completely fair, or present your bakes like the showstoppers they truly are (and perhaps give yourselves a chance to justify everything that went wrong if you think that will help you win).
- Sit back, enjoy the Bake Off, but enjoy your own bakes even more. If the losers are feeling a bit sore, make sure to cheer them up with giving them first dibs on the leftovers. Or, rub your victory in their faces. I’ll leave that one up to you to decide.