A new season of The Great Kiwi Bake Off started tonight. Tara Ward recaps all the delicious highlights.
Hold the phone, stop the bus and cover me in buttercream, The Great Kiwi Bake Off is back?
You bet your sticky toffee pudding it is. A new season of the delicious reality series began tonight on TVNZ1, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. GKBO is the comfort television we need right now, a heartwarming show to escape into when the world is scarier than a cake bust of Louis Theroux. The Great Kiwi Bake Off barn is a magical world where everyone is kind, nobody mentions the vaccine, and fondant fixes everything.
I’m sorry, did you say the Great Kiwi Bake Off…barn?
Season three of GKBO was filmed at a new venue called Parihoa Farm (about 45 minutes drive west from Auckland), and takes place inside the fanciest “barn” ever built. It’s sleek, it’s shiny, and there’s definitely no animals pooing in the corner. There’s not even any colourful bunting hanging on the wall this year. I miss that bunting.
Bunting is so 2019, and a farm seems like the perfect place to whip up a biscuit birdhouse of love. Plus, it’s not like they’d stick judges Sue Fleischl and Dean Brettschneider in the shearing sheds, right?
Sue and Dean were having a lovely time in the judges’ shed, while effervescent hosts Madeleine Sami and Hayley Sproull were bouncier than a perfectly cooked sponge. The judges expect big things from the contestants this season because, to paraphrase Sue, we’ve all spent a shitload of time at home experimenting with our baking over the last two years.
The proof is in the pudding, so what delicious treats did these 10 amateur bakers whip up in the first episode?
We kicked off with Cake Week, with bakers given three different challenges to test their creativity and innovation. First, a signature bake of a sponge cake that stood 15cm tall, followed by a technical challenge of a vegan apple cake, and finally, a showstopper of a “super size me cake”, which involved creating a giant version of something that means a lot to the bakers.
It’s great when the bakers are motivated by something personal. It makes them put their heart and soul into their baking, and the results are so inspirational.
I give you: The Poo Cake.
This tasty brown nugget was created by microbiologist Christina, who reckons the poo emoji sums her up perfectly. “It’s funny, it’s happy, there’s a surprise in the centre,” she said, and what more do we need from 2021? Sue enjoyed the taste, Dean praised the poo’s “nice, moist” texture, and wah-lah, a GKBO icon was born.
Please tell me this wasn’t just an hour of poo cakes.
Of course not, they’re saving that for the Christmas celebrity special. No, the bakers created some true baking visions last night, like Courtnay’s cake that looked like a big piece of sushi, Teniqua’s impressive strawberry and cream vertical sponge, and Alby’s saffron and orange blossom cake. Gabriel used 16 eggs in his signature bake and Wendy took out the technical bake with a beautiful apple cake that looked like it belonged…in my stomach.
That’s great, but how many cakes fell on the floor? Who lost their cool? Who stuck their head in the freezer when things got too much?
There were nerves aplenty, but it was poor Hamish who had a shocker. His signature bake collapsed into a sloppy avalanche of flour and eggs, leaving him to scrape together a tiny cake out of his offcuts, and he couldn’t win Dean over with his giant paintbrush cake showstopper. It wasn’t Hamish’s day, and he was banished from the barn forever.
Thank you for the memories, Hamish. Who made Star Baker?
Put your spongey ladyfingers together for Courtnay, the wedding planner from Masterton who impressed Sue and Dean with her creativity and consistency. She also went out of control with a blow torch, which we need to see more of next week.
Most importantly, how many times did someone say ‘moist’?
Open your pastry umbrella, it’s damp in here: at least 11 moist moments in episode one.
The Great Kiwi Bake Off screens on Thursday nights at 7.30pm on TVNZ1, as well as on TVNZ OnDemand.