Thu. Oct 29th, 2020

‘Great British Baking Show’ S8 E1 recap: “Cake, Weak”

Hello and welcome to our very special and very first recap of “The Great British Baking Show!” We’re very excited to meet our 12 bakers who, in order to film during a pandemic which, I guess was necessary for them, had to quarantine together while filming. The things people do for TV!

My name is Daniel Trainor and I unironically received an Easy Bake Oven for a birthday present in high school, so I know a lot about this stuff.

I’m Sam Stone, and as a kid I ‘loved baking’ which is a gently coded way to say I was a big ole homosexual child. 

Let’s get this bake off…off!

SS: Ah, another season of baking interspersed with shots of misty forests and filled with those lovely but absolutely unintelligible British accents. What more could you ask for? 

DT: Paul Hollywood and Pru Leith, our familiar judges, are back, but Noel Fielding is joined by a new co-host this season: Matt Lucas, who you may remember from “Bridesmaids,” or I guess…”Gnomeo and Juliet,” if you’re that type of person.

SS: Our bakers are given their first Signature Challenge, a Battenberg cake, and as they begin measuring their ingredients, we’re slowly introduced to them, and I slowly begin trying to figure out who’s secretly wealthy by the five seconds of footage we see of their homes.

DT:  We meet Laura, who says she had to leave behind her husband who mispronounces the word “fajitas,” so I can only imagine this is the best experience of her life and she’s gonna pull a Thelma & Louise with another contestant when this thing is over.

SS: Another standout is Lottie who I think is a popstar? Her perfect bone structure and hair really stands out among the rest of these doughy Brits, and when, seconds later, we learn she’s a professional pantomime producer (?!?!?) it’s clear that no one else will hold a candle to her for the rest of the season. 

DT: Laura, who hates Battenbergs but LOVES huge backyard fish tanks, is making a raspberry and coconut cake when she stops and says to Matt “you’re a homosexual, I never knew that!” Never a comforting thing to hear somebody gleefully question your queerness while holding a spatula. TRUST ME.

SS: Peter is a pale, red-haired baker who specializes in gluten-free baking which only seems gross because it…is.

DT: Rowan, a man who plays his flute in the backyard and would absolutely take a bullet for Mozart’s corpse, is making a very complicated cake in ode to the aforementioned Moz’. If a cake comes with architectural designs, I’m out!

SS: I love a fancy man with a dumb accent! Lastly, we have Hermine who is making a chocolate and orange battenburg which we’re going to go ahead and stan. There are, of course, other bakers attempting a Battenberg, but we’ll meet them later. There are 12 of them, and two of them are Marcs, give us a break!

DT: As Linda makes a cake in honor of her dead cousin who drove ambulances, Rowan puts one of his cakes in the microwave, which as a former Easy Bake Oven auteur, I can tell you is not a good sign!!!

SS: With one minute remaining, Rowan is wrapping his steaming pile of shit in marzipan, and before you know it, it’s time for judging.

DT: Linda’s ambulance cake looks more like a…cake that is wrong, and Loreia’s wack ass bubblegum and cream soda flavored cake is not only disgustingly flavored, but also overbaked and dry. Yikes!!!!!!!!!

SS: Sura, despite having half of her cake stuck to the bottom of her oven, manages to grab some of the best critiques and we move on to the Technical Challenge.

DT: For the Technical, our bakers are tasked with creating six miniature pineapple upside-down cakes, which is apparently hard?

SS: As usual, no one knows what they’re doing, but one of the two Marks takes the cake (PUN!) when he forgets to butter his tins! C’mon, one of the Marks, get your head in the damn game.

DT: Linda’s cakes are a sunken, disgusting affront to God, but the real drama comes when the bakers all set their cakes down on the judging table. Sura knocks a bunch of Dave’s cakes off his tray as she chases a fly! Classic misstep. Dave reacts like a total bitch, though.

SS: Nice job, Sura. Dave tries to act like it’s all fine, and everybody does their best job being British and avoiding conflict. Sura does a little bit of crying, but two of Dave’s cakes were unharmed, and he’ll be judged on those, so no harm no foul – kind of?

DT: Linda is, obviously, in the bottom for her molten piles of shit. Sura, meanwhile, is the winner of the challenge despite being an insect-murdering saboteur. 

SS: It’s worth mentioning, I think, that former model (probably) Lottie comes in fourth which is exactly where she meant to place. I sense a plan brewing in Lottie’s gorgeous and expansive mind. 

DT: Speaking of gorgeous and expansive minds, it’s time for Rowan to make a cake in homage to Marie Antoinette. 

SS: This is, of course, for our Showstopper Challenge, in which the bakers are asked to create a bust of their celebrity heroes – and here’s the twist – out of cake! It’s a ridiculous challenge, and let me tell you, Linda is not up to the task.

DT: Linda, ever the beautiful onion, makes a cake to honor…Bob Marley??? Because of his “don’t worry” attitude??? Linda absolutely sells problematic hats with Jamaican flags on them at swap meets.

SS: Dave is making a cake that looks like Blink-182’s Tom DeLonge, to which Dan and I can only offer a full throated, very 2004 “HELL YEAH”

DT: I TOOK HER OUT IT WAS A FRIDAY NIGHT

SS: Three quarters of the way through the challenge, and Lottie is using a skeleton mold for her base cake and building facial features on top of that like some kind of fucked up Westworld technician. 

DT: Laura makes a questionable Freddie Mercury cake, the worst thing to happen to him since Rami Malek. David, meanwhile, attempts to pay homage to David Bowie, but he ends up accidentally making an homage to the Elephant Man.

SS: Sura’s cake gracefully tips over while they all wait for judging, but only Sura seems to mind. Hermine’s Lupita Nyong’o cake doesn’t quite resemble Lupita, but does have giant cake-tits, which has to be a plus, right?

DT: A major plus! Most of the bakers struggle, but Peter wins the challenge for making a cake out of somebody who rides a bike? 

SS: It’s unfortunately Loreia who goes home in this first episode, because Paul decides her ginger and chili cake is “too flavorful” (read: Paul has no palette for spice), and Linda somehow survives to bake another day.

DT: I can’t wait to see which deceased family member she honors next week.

SS: And I can’t wait to see if we’ll meet a third Mark!

New episodes of collection 8 of The Great British Baking Show arrive on Netflix every Friday with Star Baker recaps to follow.


Daniel Trainor is writer, podcaster, son and friend from Los Angeles, California. Originally from Michigan, his love for all things pop culture started early, once using pancakes to bribe his way onto the Oscars red carpet bleachers with his mother. In addition to writing for AwardsWatch, he is an huge sports fan and hosts the LGBTQ sports podcast “Same Team.” One day, he hopes Jane Krakowski will win an Emmy.

Sam Stone is a writer and actor based in Brooklyn, New York. He writes humor, culture, and travel among other things, and spends his free time reading about all those things. You can find him on twitter @sam_the_stone or on Instagram @samstone000.


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