Netflix

Preheat those ovens and soften that butter because this week we are headed back to the bunting-draped tent of our dreams to kick off Collection 7 of The Great British Baking Show on Netflix. If you missed it, now is a good time (really any time is a good time) to go back and watch this season’s brilliant trailer to whip yourself up to a proper stiff peak of excitement. Then sing “God Save The Queen,” curse the proroguing of parliament, and put the kettle on for tea. You’re ready!

And would you look at this – we have 13 new friends to meet. Producers are cranking up the heat this season with an extra baker, meaning at any point along the way two bakers can be eliminated at once. Fingers crossed it’s this week because I don’t know how long I can live with that anxiety. Just imagine if Rahul was here for this. Could he cope? Lucky for us this particularly young batch of bakers seem up to the task. They’re goth! They rock top knots! They proof bread dough in python cages!

It’s the first episode of the season so you know what that means: It’s Cake Week!

Signature Challenge: Fruit Cake
Any size, any shape, must contain a significant amount of fruit. Must be perfectly baked, beautifully decorated.

Fitness-obsessed David goes fat free. Phil and Priya show off marzipan skills. Alice gold leafs her way to a wreath of true beauty. Extremely accident-prone Michael attempts to cut three of his fingers off. Go home, Michael, you’re a hazard to yourself and others.

Fruit Cake has a bad reputation stateside for being stodgy and old fashioned, but it’s possible that’s just because people don’t realize you can put loads of booze in it and eat it in the afternoon. That might also explain why Prue and Paul seem to love almost everyone’s signature cake, save for a few bakers who went overboard with the spices. There’s also Top Knot Dan, who for some reason decided to bake a gigantic cake that was obviously (obviously!) raw in the middle. We all saw that coming from a kilometer away, bud.

Should you bake this at home? Sure, why not. Bring it to work. No one will be particularly excited about it but they’ll try some just to be nice.

Technical: Angel Cakes
Six identical slices of three layers of genoise sponge, layered with a silky smooth Italian meringue buttercream, topped with icing and feathered.

Prue supplied this week’s colorful technical that is just as much a test of organization as it is a test of proper sponge aeration. The time goes by very quickly and somehow everyone knows what “feathered” means, which is very reassuring. Part-time waiter Jamie, who may have lost his way looking for Love Island auditions, produces six identical iced rubber wellies, landing him in squarely in 13th place. Henry, who accidentally crumbled a truly precious royal icing house in the signature challenge but who clearly has a knack for making very tidy things takes the top spot. He’s chuffed!

Should you bake this at home? You could offer to make these for your cousin’s baby shower. Just be sure to start the day before because you’re almost definitely going to need to make the batter three or four times.

Show Stopper: The Birthday Cake You Dreamed of as a Child
Spectacular and sizable

The bakers are really sprinting out of the gate this week! Technical challenge-winner Henry and Priya both take inspiration from children’s books. Fit David and Veterinarian Rosie both feel the need to involve snakes. (Fine, whatever, it’s your scary childhood dream). Helena gets Paul to say “Furry Garden” even when he knows perfectly well she said “Fairy Garden” but he just feels like being a creep. Amelia builds a slightly claggy purple carousel. Jamie’s salted caramel schnauzer is not up to scruff. Shop Assistant Steph’s decoration outshines her flavors. Noel Doppelganger Michelle’s carrot cake mushroom cap gets Prue to say ‘dibbling’. Happy Birthday one and all.

Should you bake this at home? Well, duh. Make one for yourself on your next birthday. Share it with no one.

The first Star Baker of the season is awarded to Noel Doppleganer Michelle, which we can be sure is not nepotism because Noel doesn’t get a vote. Prue said her carrot cake was “faultless” and maybe the best cake she has ever eaten. Not a bad way to kick off the season, Michelle! Keep it up!

Going home this week is Top Knot Dan, which does make me feel a little bad for calling him Top Knot Dan this whole time. Dan is actually a super cool support worker who just should not have made such a big fruit cake in the signature challenge. No one wants that much fruit cake Dan! Just make a small one!

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