It’s late August and THE GREAT BRITISH BAKE OFF has returned to our screens. The show’s format is like a tried and tested recipe; two judges, Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood, two presenters, Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins, 12 amateur bakers, and one marquee. Mix everything together along with blood, sweat and tears and you’ve got a ratings winner.


Episode 1 (series 7) was cake week. First the contestants had to bake a signature dish (a drizzle cake), then they took part in a technical challenge with minimal instructions (jaffa cakes!), and finally they had to produce a showstopper (a mirror glaze cake).

Bakers to watch are, I believe, Selasi, who works in finance, and Jane, a garden designer. Jane was crowned ‘star baker’ and deservedly so. Paul liked her use of poppy seeds in her drizzle cake, whilst her show stopper (another jaffa cake only shinier) came in for lots of praise on account of its simplicity.

Despite the fact Selasi forgot to put cinnamon in his drizzle cake, he improvised and put it in the syrup instead, and to great success when it came to judging time. That said, although he made a beautiful mirror glaze cake, it wasn’t shiny enough.

I’m wondering where Andrew has been hiding all his life because he has clearly never seen a jaffa cake before, which is why he made upside down jaffa cakes.

PE teacher Candice, wasn’t happy with her first attempt at making a Genoise sponge; it was rubbery and so she threw it at the window. Her second attempt didn’t go so well either and she cried when it came to judging time.

At the other end of the scale, Lee, the oldest contestant, went too minimalistic and chose not to decorate his mirror glaze cake. He became the first person to be sent home, and it was the right decision as he didn’t have a great weekend.

Smiley Val is a character (she listens to her cakes to check they’re baked!), but I’m not sure she’ll last long in the competition. She didn’t have a good weekend either, and could easily have been sent home.

It seems that that the jaffa cake technical challenge sparked off the old debate: Are jaffa cakes biscuits or cakes? As this was cake week on GBBO, it would seem jaffa cakes are classed as, well, cakes, and yet Paul dunked his jaffa cake in his tea (much to Mary’s distaste), so does he secretly think they are biscuits? Ooh, the suspense of it all. Bake Off is back, and long may it reign supreme.

- Aired on BBC1, August 24 2016 at 20:00.