Planning a little Bake Off of your own? Hold your whisks, because every great bake starts with a little inspiration, and who better to get your creative juices flowing than the Bake Off bakers of yesteryear?
Here are five wondrous bakes from the GBBO archives to get you in the mood for a spot of edible exhibitionism. Star Baker awards may be self-appointed.
Candice’s peacock cake, series seven
The nitty-gritty: The Tudor-themed showstopper achieved ‘beak’ levels of head-turning appeal with its sponge body, hidden blueberry filling, marshmallow and puffed-rice neck, as well as its pièce de résistance: a tail crafted from individually-shaped, flavoured and coloured pieces of marzipan.
Tasting notes: The cake was made up of no less than four flavours of sponge and three different flavours of marzipan. The judges verdict? It ruffled feathers on flavour as well as aesthetic.
Andrew’s mechanical pies, series seven
The nitty-gritty: Andrew really stepped his baking up a gear in Tudor week, creating a Da Vinci-inspired mechanism todisplay his meat pies.The bake itself was simple enough, but it was the interactive presentation that elevated this signature bake to showstopper status.
Tasting notes: The hot water crust pies were shaped in moulds and filled with potato, chicken, sausage and apricot. Andrew’s meat pies had a subtle flavour (but could have done with a tad more stuffing, according to the judges).
Nadiya’s fizzy pop cheesecake showstopper, series six
The nitty-gritty: Easily one of the most memorable bakes from series six, Nadiya had the judges fizzing with excitement (and other bakers fizzing with envy) with her three tiers of cheesecake topped with a floating can of pop. The secret to the illusion lay in the cascading fizz emanating from the can, which was actually meringue.
Tasting notes: Nadiya reduced ginger beer, cream soda and lemonade to create three flavoured syrups for each of the cheesecake tiers.
Paul’s ‘King of the Jungle’ loaf, series six
The nitty-gritty: The sheer majesty of this in-bread-ibly ambitious bake earned Paul Jagger the first ever ‘special commendation’ on GBBO. No detail was spared in this un-dough-tedly show-stopping loaf, which included edible almond claws and rosemary sprig whiskers.
Tasting notes: Three different types of dough made up Paul’s lion loaf, which Paul Hollywood described as “one of the best things I’ve seen in bread, ever.”
Frances’ giant matchsticks, series four
The nitty-gritty: Frances’ 36 breadsticks, complete with a chilli-chocolate tip, were stacked in a giant matchbox. As a professional designer, Frances is well versed in bringing her creative visions to life and this design was one of her most… well, striking.
Tasting notes: The chilli and ginger flavours and chilli chocolate topping were chosen to represent heat and fire, of course. Because matches.