The slice of heaven that is The Great Kiwi Bake Off was this week awash with sweet and/or salty caramel. Tara Ward ranks the gooey results.
It seeped over slices, it poured over pineapple, it oozed over benches and onto floors and threatened to drown us all in a sticky sea of sugar. Drowning in caramel sounds like my own personal slice of heaven, especially if I was upside down and covered in a million pineapple rings.
It was ‘Kiwi Classics Week’, and never before has the word ‘pineapple’ been uttered so many times on New Zealand television. These golden rings of terror were everywhere: upside down, inside out and round and round, as our amateur bakers tackled their first Technical Challenge. Judge Sue asked the bakers to make an Upside-Down Pineapple Cake, gave them the ingredients and left them a recipe with hardly any instructions on how to make it.
The Signature Bake of a ‘Kiwi As’ slice was just as tense. “It was slice mayhem in there,” Hannah said afterwards, and can you even begin to imagine? Not in your wildest dreams. Fillings failed to set and slices refused to be sliced. Hannah’s hokey pokey was smooshed to within an inch of its life. It was cooking chaos, it was baking bedlam, it was everything the Great Kiwi Bake Off should always be.
Let’s lift the gingham tablecloth from this week’s power rankings to reveal who was top, who was bottom, and who was trapped in a pineapple ring of their own misfortune.
Poor Ana’s fate was sealed the moment she burned her caramel; if only she’d written “oops” in pineapple rings to placate Sue’s disappointed heart. Even her “luscious, creamy, unctuous” Caramel Slice failed to win the judges over, because unctuous = smooth, burned = a fate worse than death. Farewell Ana, see you round like a pineapple ring.
Shannon danced with danger when first he used an unlined cake tin and then baked a slice he’d only ever made once before. Shannon, this is one heck of a time to fly close to the sun. What next? Refusing to use a measuring cup? Mixing up a tablespoon and a teaspoon on purpose? This is madness, MADNESS I TELL YOU.
“Shit! What’s happening here?” Just Vanessa’s cake tin catching on fire, nothing more, nothing less.
Hannah faced a hokey pokey whodunnit in the freezer of broken dreams, after her honeycomb trays were mysteriously sandwiched together. I’m not pointing chocolate ladyfingers at anyone, because in the face of tragedy, Hannah persisted. She did the hokey pokey, she turned around, and that’s what it’s all about.
Larissa’s Banoffee Slice was a right old shitfest (“it looks like poo”), so let’s turn our attention to the true star of GKBO, aka John the Rabbit.
Last week Sonali was all about the booze and this week she was busy “getting the eyes out of the pineapple”. Love a bit of spiky fruit with multiple eyeballs, love a bit of praying to the cake gods and love the talking to your baking like it’s your first born. “I love you, be good,” Sonali told her cake, and if we all spoke to each other the way Sonali talks to her oven, the world would be a better place.
“Mmmmmm,” the judges said on eating Annabel’s Ginger Crunch. Mmm, indeed.
“Clayton, this is not a slice,” Sue purred, as she ran her beady eyes over his revisionist Louise Slice-Biscuit-Cupcake extravaganza. Stand down, Sue/Louise/whoever you are, because anyone who creates a Club Tropicana scene on the arse end of a cake is a winner in mine own eyes.
Nothing to see here, just Joel, chill AF, eating a banana.
He’s the singing baker who won the Technical Challenge with a upside-down cake that was definitely the right way up. Jeff’s delicious cake made the judges cheer with joy, but his Three Nut Chocolate Slice was three nuts flat of a slice. No idea what that means, but give me an oven tray and let me fan it appreciatively in Jeff’s general direction while we work it out.
STAR BAKER: Stacey
Stacey soared to Star Baker on a puffy cloud of pink marshmallow slice, but not before we saw some alarming footage of her at work in Invercargill, giving a client a body piercing. “Owwww,” the client whimpered, as Stacy smiled kindly and jammed something sharp through an ear flap. I’m sure it’s fine. Star baker, star piercer, can Stacey please jam that marshmallow slice directly into my stomach, thank you and goodnight.
The Spinoff Weekly compiles the best stories of the week – an essential guide to modern life in New Zealand, emailed out on Monday evenings.