The Great Kiwi Bake Off Power Rankings: Spongey balls to blow your socks off

The Great Kiwi Bake Off is back for a second season, and all is right with the world again. Tara Ward serves up the power rankings for week one.

Welcome back, my flaky pastry cherubs, to another glorious season of The Great Kiwi Bake Off. Please take my sweaty hand as we enter the moist marquee of dreams, and watch a fresh batch of amateur bakers climb aboard their pastry swans and take an eight week journey into a sea of  emotions. The emotions are contagious, because this was me when I heard it was Cake Week:

And again, when I realised there’s no Extra Slice this year:

The 10 new contestants were challenged with whipping up 12 lamingtons, a Battenberg cake, and a two-tiered mirror glaze personality cake, and now we can never mention the word ‘Battenberg’ again. The fog that descended on Kelliher Estate was an ominous sign, because that evil sponge cake swallowed all the joy in the tent. Nobody knew what it was, nobody knew how to make it, and if I ever see fog again, I will shout “MARZIPAN SUCKS” at it until my cake rage subsides.

Through the light and the stodge, hosts Madeleine Sami and Hayley Sproull were typically effervescent. Judges Sue Fleischl and Dean Brettschneider glided quietly around the tent, Dean casting an arched eyebrow over everything while Sue remained kind and supportive, no matter how much gritty icing got stuck in her molars.  “I want them to knock my socks off,” said socky Sue, while Dean wanged on about how “everyone has a favourite lamington”. Do we? Friends, I do not, and I was not expecting an existential crisis this early in the season.

In other news, Sue and Dean said ‘moist’ eight times and ‘unctuous’ zero times. Make of that what you will.

“A lot can go wrong down in the oven,” said baker Trev. Indeed, a hot box has a lot to answer for, so let’s cover ourselves in chocolate sauce and coconut and hoover down the first of this season’s GKBO power rankings.

ELIMINATED: Donna

Alas, poor Donna, you were gone too soon. Donna whipped up some beaut buttercream for her piña colada lamingtons, but her tie-dyed mirror glaze cake failed to win the judges over. Pfff, what do they know?

9) Anadil

Anadil made a rose petal jelly with blooms from her father’s garden. Flowers in gelatine, as I live and breathe! Dean was not ready for this jelly, but yes, Anadil, I will accept this rose.

8) Naomi

Naomi’s first batch of lamingtons ended up in the bin, even though Hayley reckoned lamingtons without butter and milk would be perfect for “people who get a bit farty”. Nothing sums up the spirit of GKBO more than bringing joy to farty people, so we, the flatulents of Aotearoa, thank Naomi from the bottom of our hearts/farts.

7) Louise

Architect Louise turned her lamingtons inside out and then made a cake out of a cup of tea. Forget GKBO, Louise should win the Nobel Prize, because that’s some big science right there.

6) Ethan

Accounting student Ethan made Jaffa lamingtons so beautiful that Sue wanted to put them in a shop window. Sadly, his Battenberg had a big crevice, and how many crevices do you see in a shop window these days? Not enough, to be honest.

5) Emma

Emma’s modern take on lamingtons shook Dean to his spongey core, because he’d just stared the future in the face and it looked like a tiny pipette filled with passionfruit curd. Also, Emma’s showstopper cake made Sue say “yum”, so it’s victory all round.

4) Anna

Anna’s cake was called ‘Princess Anna Rose’, her lamingtons were “fluffly little light fluffy lamingtons” and her mirror glaze was so shiny we could practically see ourselves in it. A literal cake queen.

3) Ana

Ana rode a rollercoaster of emotions this week, but somehow remained calm when her mirror cake exploded in the fridge. What else can you do when the bottom tier sits forlornly on the shelf while the top tier is smooshed into the fridge door? “It’s still a showstopper,” Ana said optimistically, and I tip my cake hat to her.

2) Trevor

Trev’s come to the tent with strategy and confidence, and he’s having a bloody great time. His fluffy lamington balls and beautiful Battenberg saw him in Star Baker contention, until the tragic moment when his Showstopper collapsed before our very eyes. “It looks like a five-year-old made it,” said Ironman Trev, but it’s fine – spongey balls always save the day.

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Star Baker: Heather

The judges reckon Heather’s the one to watch, after she created a magnificent pāua mirror cake that blew their cakey socks off. It’s the power of the pāua, it’s the star of the baker, cake for everybody please.

Great Kiwi Bake Off continues next Sunday from 7pm on TVNZ2


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