First baker eliminated as Great British Bake Off returns for new series

The popular baking show kicked off the new series with cake week.
The popular baking show kicked off the new series with cake week.

Former charity director Will is the first contestant to be given the boot from the new series of The Great British Bake Off as a fresh batch of amateur bakers were put to the test in cake week.

The opening episode of the Channel 4 show on Tuesday night saw the 12 contestants tasked with baking 12 signature mini sandwich cakes, a classic red velvet technical and a home-inspired showstopper.

Will, 45, from London, became the first to leave the series after failing to impress judges Paul Hollywood and Dame Prue Leith with his ginger and caramel square signature and his final bake which recreated his former north London flat.

Following his exit, he said: “Someone’s got to go first and obviously I’m disappointed but I’m proud to have made it.

“There’s a lovely bunch of people I’ve met and I’ve got an experience that I can definitely talk about and share. I’m proud of that.”

While Janusz from Brighton, 34, was the first to be awarded the coveted star baker title after impressing the judges with his Polish-inspired mini cakes and his extravagantly decorated showstopper of his mother’s flat and its colourful floral balcony.

After winning he said that receiving the title for cake week meant “everything to him”.

The contestants were first challenged to create 12 identical mini sandwich cakes, with whatever sponge, flavours and fillings they desired, within two hours.

Dame Prue admitted that it appeared like “quite a simple challenge”, but said what they were looking for is “a bit of originality”.

Personal assistant Janusz took inspiration from his Polish heritage for his bake which combined pistachio and cherry vodka liqueur to create his wuzetka bake.

Dame Prue said it was “light and boozy” which to her was “perfect”, while Hollywood felt there was too much of an alcoholic flavour for him.

Angolan-born Sandro, 30, who works as a nanny in London, also impressed with his chocolate sandwich cakes shaped as flower pots – which Hollywood described as “rich and indulgent”.

However, Will had a number of issues as he forgot to turn on his oven timer and his buttercream split forcing him to make it again.

Dame Prue later described his ginger and caramel squares as “a bit disappointing” and Hollywood thought they were “bland” with no hero flavour.

In the technical round, they were instructed to create a red velvet cake with six layers in two hours by Hollywood, who described it as a “classic” but reminded them to concentrate on their sponge and use of food colouring.

Cardiovascular research associate Syabira placed first in the challenge, which is judged blind, with Hollywood simply describing her bake as “fantastic”.

The 32-year-old baker, who moved from Malaysia to London, became emotional and said “my heart just melts” after receiving the praise.

While James, a 25-year-old nuclear scientist from Cumbria, came 12th with Dame Prue explaining that they “didn’t like the decoration much” of his cake and there was “not quite enough cream in the middle”.

For the final showstopper challenge, they were tasked with creating a 3D replica of a home where they have lived in which means something special to them entirely out of cake in four hours.

Will recreated his former north London flat made from alternating chocolate and orange sponge, but it failed to impress the judges.

Hollywood admitted that he had overbaked every layer, adding: “I think the chocolate could have been more punchy, love the orange, but it comes down to the baking.”

Masters student Rebs, 23, from County Antrim, also found herself at risk of elimination after she did not quite get the flavours right in her signature bake and her technical was described by Hollywood as “claggy”.

However, she brought things back with her showstopper of an Irish cottage with pina colada-style flavours and sprayed with coconut rum to portray the classic Irish rain.

Hollywood noted it was overbaked but said overall it “looks great” and “the flavours came through beautifully”.

The Channel 4 show opened with a Star Wars themed sketch which saw host Noel Fielding portray “Princess Layer Cake” with bagels on his ears to imitate Princess Leia’s space bun hairstyle and fellow host Matt Lucas played “Luke Piewalker”.

Dame Prue took on the role of Chewbacca dressed in a furry costume while Hollywood took on the villainous character of Darth Vader.

In the scene, Fielding offered up a slice of his fruit sponge which was served by an R2-D2 style robot to which Lucas replied jokingly: “I think you’ll be eating that flan solo.”

The popular baking show returned to Welford Park in Berkshire for this new series after two years of filming at Down Hall in Hatfield Heath, Essex.

The Great British Bake Off continues at 8pm on Tuesdays on Channel 4.