Here's how I described The Great British Bake Off to my colleagues when I presented them with half a Madeira cake yesterday morning: it's a baking contest and it's incredibly competitive, but it's also twee and old-fashioned while being self-aware of how hip it actually is.
From the GBBO website:
The Great British Bake Off is the ultimate baking battle where passionate amateur baking fans compete to be crowned the UK’s Best Amateur Baker. Over the course of 10 hour-long episodes, the series follows the trials and tribulations of the competitors, young and old, from every background and every corner of Britain, as they attempt to prove their baking prowess. Each week the bakers tackle a different baking skill, which become progressively more difficult as the competition unfolds.In every episode, the bakers have three challenges: signature, technical, and showstopper. Lots of fans are baking along with the show, and Amanda and Ala, to show their deep and abiding love for GBBO, are hosting a bloggers' Bake Off Bake Along for the duration of the show - and of course I wanted in! As my baking skills (and tastes) are more classic than creative, I suspect I'll most often be making the signature recipe in each episode. Last week, that was the traditional Madeira cake.
It's tremendously fun watching, if you can tune into the BBC by legal means (ahem... or otherwise)!
It must be admitted that, while my Madeira cake was delicious, it probably wouldn't advance me to the next round of the competition. I used the BBC recipe and it didn't rise nearly as much as it should have or sport that gorgeous tectonic crack down the middle that you should see on loaf cakes. But it was yummy - especially when topped with blackberry coulis (made from the blackberries I picked on Sunday) and homemade lemon curd!
Madeira Cake - as per the BBC
makes 12 slices; 6 Weight Watchers pointsplus per slice
Blackberry Coulis - as per the BBC
makes 12 servings; 1 Weight Watchers pointsplus per teaspoon
Lemon Curd - as per Smitten Kitchen
makes about 2 cups; 1 Weight Watchers pointsplus per teaspoon