5 Brilliant Cake-Baking Tips We Learned from the Newest Episode of "The Great British Baking Show"
There's something remarkably soothing about The Great British Baking Show. Be it the kind competitors who actually cheer each other on, the eye-catching treats or the steady formula of each episode with set challenges around one theme (bread, biscuits, etc.), the show has helped many of us find little moments of joy during hard times.
Just in time for cooler weather and holiday baking inspiration, the Great Britain-based series is back on Netflix with new episodes to stream each week. Labeled Season 8 on Netflix in the U.S. and Season 11 in the UK, this season is different for a couple reasons:
- Due to the pandemic, contestants stay in a "bubble," similar to the NFL bubble, rather than returning home between challenges.
- There's a new co-host: Matt Lucas, who replaces Sandi Tosvig.
First up, the bakers took on a few challenges to become the ace of cakes. While there are no Paul Hollywood handshakes this season for understandable reasons, there were some stunning creations worthy of the applause that we're used to. There were also a few scary ones, too, when the bakers were asked to create edible cake busts that were supposed to resemble celebrities. 😂
On the positive front, though, we love how the more technical rounds offer little nuggets about how to be a better baker or how to combine flavors at home. Here are a few things we learned from episode one that we're planning to use on our next cake recipe trial…
How to Make Better-Tasting Cake at Home, According to the Great British Baking Show
Use your ears.
A baked cake should create a gentle crackle or be silent rather than bubble when you pull it out of the oven to test for doneness.
Be cautious with caramel.
While you can drizzle to your heart's content once the cake is baked and cooled, be careful with the amount at the base of a pan for recipes like upside-down cakes (BTW, we can't stop, won't stop with this Bananas Foster Upside-Down Cake). If you use too much, the cake will be too soggy. Too little and your cake won't have that craveable ooey-gooey texture.
Choose the right size pan.
One of the contestants had a batter overflow incident. When in doubt, size up—but we recommend sticking to whatever pan is called for in your recipe. That is, if you're using a recipe. Unsure of if you're well-equipped enough? Our 16-item essential kitchen supply list will help you build a great base.
Mind your mint.
Even the freshest of mint leaves can taste toothpaste-y side if you use too much. Err on the lighter side and use extra leaves as garnish if you think the final product could use a hint more of the refreshing herb.
Fix a raw middle.
If you try the toothpick test and the top of your cake is fully cooked while the center is underbaked and you used a microwave-safe pan, try zapping it for 30-second increments until done.
Based on initial reports from British viewers who are able to catch episodes a few days earlier, it's biscuit o'clock next. Our measuring cups and butter are ready and waiting to bake along!