How to avoid all of last night’s Bake Off fails

On your marks, get set, BAKE!

How to avoid all of last night’s Bake Off fails

Baking fans rejoiced last night as the much-awaited new series of The Great British Bake Off began. 

And despite numerous ad breaks, the new duo of presenters, Noel Fielding and Sandi Toksvig, along with Prue Leith taking over the judging reigns from Mary Berry, GBBO fans were delighted to discover that nothing much had changed.

From the eccentric contestants to the baking challenges and of course, the same famous catchphrases - the nation's favourite baking show remained very much in tact.

Baking boffs breathed a sigh of relief as the pretty pastel bunting reigned supreme, the classic tent was standing tall and Paul Hollywood's handshakes (which told contestants they've done a good job) were out in full force. We might have even laughed a little as Prue proved she's a woman after our own heart's after telling this year's hopefuls: "Baking is such a treat - it's got to be worth the calories".

We also loved marvelling at the magical illusions cakes, like the watermelon creation and the look-alike sandwich cake which helped crown Steven this week's Star Baker.

But if there was something that made it the same show we know and love, it was the unforgettable cake catastrophes. 

Some cakes crumbled, there was a stream of uncooked creations and many a baker had a shaky hand as they iced their chocolate Swiss rolls. So to help save you from the same baking fail fate, Asda Good Living's food editor, Gregor McMaster is on hand to help.


1. Squeeze the fruit before adding to your cake

In last night's episode bakers were set their first challenge - to make a fruity cake. Now, we all know fruity cakes can be fraught with peril as they can be easily undercooked and end up with a very soggy bottom. And last night, one person endured this very sad fate. Twenty-one-year-old contestant Julia forget to squeeze her courgettes when making her first creation. And despite Noel's rather wise words of wisdom - not to tell the judges what she'd done- the baking enthusiast confessed anyway. 

Gregor said: "Courgettes are from the same family as melon and like melons they contain a high volume of water. If you don’t extract the water it will mess up the balance of the dry/wet ingredients and it’s not going to be pretty. As with spinach, it’s best to squeeze out the liquid and drain further by laying on kitchen paper."

2. Wait for the cake to cool before icing

Time, or the lack thereof, always seems to be the downfall of at least one hopeful. And last night it was over zealous icing before the cakes cooled that made some contestants come a cropper. Gregor said: "If the cake is still hot the icing will melt and not set properly."

3. Grease the tin

If you, like 46-year-old contestant James, don't want to 'lose your bottom' and have it left in the tin, then make sure you grease it or invest in some baking paper

Gregor said: "First of all make sure the tin is lined and also non-stick or greased. Secondly, make sure the cake is fully cooked, and thirdly make sure you use the correct tool to lift the cake. If you bake a lot it’s worth investing in a cake lifter."

4.  Relax on the baking powder

You could say Peter was just a touch heavy handed on the old baking powder, putting a whole five teaspoons of the white stuff in his fruity cake! Old blue eyes, Paul told the 52-year-old, "It's burning my tongue". Maybe this was the reason for his swift early departure? 

Like Gregor says: "Too much baking powder will make the cake rise uncontrollably and probably collapse. It will also give you a coarse crumb and a soapy taste. If you add too much by accident your best bet is to up the other ingredients to double the recipe. Different recipes require different amounts. For the best balance I'd advise using a recipe from a respected cook/chef/website and measure carefully."

5. Fold the egg white delicately

It seemed as though Stacey had a bit of a 'mare in the kitchen, after watching her throw away two sponges when attempting to make her 24 perfectly risen chocolate Swiss rolls. However, this could have been avoided had she folded her egg whites in gently, very gently.

Gregor said: "You want your cake to be light and whisking the eggs makes air pockets which will give you this lightness. If you fold too vigorously you will lose this."

Feeling inspired to create a showstopper? Make sure you stock up on everything you need at Asda or pop into your local store