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Pop CultureOctober 30, 2018

The Great Kiwi Bake Off Power Rankings: Pavlova puts national pride on the line

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Polish off your whisk and separate your egg whites because it’s Dessert Week on The Great Kiwi Bake Off. 

Let’s pray to the gingerbread gods that Harry and Meghan managed to catch this week’s episode, because they’d learn more about Aotearoa in one hour of GKBO than three thousand years of Orc visits and Government House fire alarms. I mean, what could possibly sum up our nation better than a trestle table covered in chocolate logs, exposed ends, and thousands of tiny shards?

New Zealand, I’ve never been prouder. God save The Queen Sue Fleischl, and God save The Log.

Polish off your whisk and separate your egg whites because it’s Dessert Week, and our bakers were tasked with creating a Raspberry Chocolate Roulade and a multi-layered Pavlova extravaganza. “Focus on time management,” Sue advised the bakers, but Sue also wanted a cake shaped like a tree, so time management was the least of their problems.

The pressure was immense.  A thousand log jokes floated around my juvenile brain until I was ready to crumble like Joel’s pavlova. Rolls were good and cracks were bad. Vanessa drank her ingredients, Clayton dropped his biscuit, and Larissa lay on the floor and waited for it all to be over.

Never be over, GKBO. Never leave us again.

Pavlova, pavlover, palaver. Whichever way you spell it, it’s delicious, so let’s beat ourselves into shimmy ribbons and pour ourselves onto a soft bed of meringue to devour this week’s GKBO power rankings.


“What the hell does a branch look like?” It’s a question as old as time itself, and poor Shannon still doesn’t have the answer. There was nothing left for Shannon after his ends were exposed and his pav sank quicker than his hopes and dreams.  “Oh, Shannon,” was all Sue could say. Oh, Shannon, indeed.

9) Sonali

Someone call 111, because Sonali’s baking took a near-fatal turn. “We have seepage, we have curdling, I am a little worried,” Sue said. I was, too. Worried for the log, for all the chocolate drops that died in vain, for Sonali’s whipped cream which had suddenly vanished.

But call off Search and Rescue, because Dean was ready to administer Roulade CPR. He pushed his face up to one of the spongy flaps and shouted “hello?”, his voice echoing into the dry abyss. The nation waited, but there was no reply. “He’s barking mad!” Sue said. Oh, how we laughed.

8) Larissa

We are all Larissa, lying on the floor, thinking of John the Rabbit. What would John do with an undercooked sponge? How would John respond to a pavlova that magically morphed into a ganache?

Answer: he would eat it. All of it. John is wise, and that is why we love him.

7) Hannah

Hannah makes this baking malarkey look as easy as falling off a chocolate log. Her pavlova was a tropical vision, her roulade was bursting with cream, and I’ll be stumped if Hannah’s not flying under the radar all the way to the final weeks.

6) Clayton

Clayton promised Sue and Dean a “masterclass in macarons” and layered his baking with the sweet confidence of a man doing a Happy Macaron Dance on national television. Back the dinosaur slide up, Clayton, because the proof is in that pavlova tower. Also, please sign me up for Clayton’s next masterclass, because I’ve got some jazz hands that will take Bread Week to a whole new level.

5) Vanessa

Vanessa’s philosophy is “if all else fails, get people drunk”, and she’s welcome to bake at my house any time she likes. Her chocolate was gloriously glossy, she bribed the judges with swigs of limoncello, and when the ganache hit the fan she turned to the booze. Great work, Vanessa, that’s the sort of time management I can get behind.

4) Joel

Look, Joel had no idea what was going on with his baking and I had no idea what was going on with his constant referral to the “national New Zealand rugby team.” Are we not allowed to utter the words “Black Ferns” within ten metres of #FleischlSchneider? Do the All Blacks have a trademark on chewy meringue? Must they infiltrate every single granule of our national identity? WHAT IS HAPPENING NEW ZEALAND?!

3) Stacey

Lay me down on the floor and cover me in a chewy blanket of Stacey’s pink meringues, because YUM.

2) Jeff

We barely saw a skerrick of Jeff this week, even though he came a close second in the Technical Challenge and said things like “let’s get this party started” while covering his roulade in chocolate ganache. It’s true, the GKBO party don’t start til Jeff walks in.


“You’ve created a beautiful log,” Sue told Annabel, and is there finer praise to be heard in the GKBO kingdom? Not in a million years of raspberry chocolate roulade petrified forests. As Sue and Dean sliced into Annabel’s bake, choirs of angels began to sing, butterflies were released, and confetti fell from the skies. Annabel, we salute you.


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