The Great British Bake Off, Bake Off or GBBO – whatever you choose to call it, everyone’s favourite baking show is soon to be back on our screens. And if previous shows are anything to go by, Paul, Mary, Sue and Mel will be on fine form as they return for the seventh series of the hit show.
With the first Great British Bake Off series gracing our screens in 2010 the infamous baking tent decorated floor to ceiling in quintessentially English tablecloths and tea sets, has become the iconic setting of many a disastrous and triumphant bake. And we can’t wait to see what the bakers have up their sleeves this year.
But before the new raft of The Great British Bake Off amateur bakers present their efforts to baking royalty Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry, there’s just enough time to look back at the best and worst bakes of early series of GBBO. And haven’t there been some corkers? Stunning picnic pies, exquisite petits fours and crispy, snappy crackers sit alongside some not-so-creative and not-so-tasty disaster bakes, all on The Great British Bake Off…
Series Four: The best
Howard’s Black Forest Cake
Howard’s Black Forest Revisited left us speechless. Mary called it a ‘masterpiece’ but we loved it simply for ‘Paul the Black Forest Bear’. Mr Hollywood didn’t look too impressed.
Try our modern twist on the gateaux with this Black Forest Cheesecake
Frances’ Veg Patch Canapes
Frances was often accused of creating style over substance, but luckily for her, she proved the judges wrong and won the series. These vegetable patch treats were exceptional and fantastically dainty.
Frances’ Picnic Pie
In our (humble) opinion, this pie looks like mouth-watering perfection, it’s a clever combination of being both rustic and elegant, and even Paul heaped praise on Frances saying that ‘the filling was fantastic’.
Here’s our recipe for leek and goat’s cheese picnic loaf
Beca’s Cheese Cake
Beca’s spiced butternut squash and pecan cake put a surprising twist on the vegetable cake challenge. If only we could be quite as creative with icing!
Christine’s Gingerbread Shortbread House
Who knew that simple shortbread could be transformed into something so wonderful?
Simple shortbread recipe
Series Four: The worst
Ruby’s Wedding Cake
Ruby caused a stir, but it certainly wasn’t because of this unimaginative wedding cake! According to Mary and Paul, the flavours were ‘exceptional’ but the dull frosting and clumsy icing work left little to be desired.
Howard’s Peachy Buns
Paul poured cold water over Howard’s Peachy Buns by saying that they had no flavour. We just admired the name!
Series Three: The best
Ryan’s Key Lime Pie
One of the best ever bakes is undoubtedly Ryan’s key lime pie. Despite coming last in the technical challenge, his perfect American pie was enough on its own to earn him the accolade of star baker.
Try our key lime tartlets recipe
James’ Rose, Raspberry and Macaron Tart
Creamy tart? Check. Macaroons? Check. Raspberries? Check. This pink-hued tart was a Series Two triumph – and a first for Mary Berry who admitted she had never tasted a rose-flavoured tart before.
Try this flavour-filled raspberry and lemon tart
Brendan’s Stollen Castle
The instruction for this Third Series showstopper challenge was a celebratory sweet bread – and as ever, Brendan didn’t disappoint. His stollen castle won over the judges – and all of us!
Mix it up with our stollen parfait dessert recipe
John’s Heaven and Hell Cake
The grand final saw a bake to put all other cakes to shame: winner John’s showstopper heaven and hell chiffon cake.
Chocolate twisted bagels? Not an instant draw but they worked wonders in the second week of Series Three when baking bread was the key theme.
John’s Gingerbread Roman Colosseum
An architechtural masterpiece, John’s gingerbread Roman colloseum was a feat of baking – and engineering – all in one!
Brendan’s Petits Fours Cygnets
Resident Series three perfectionist Brendan carried off one of the most intricate bakes ever seen with his miniature lime curd cygnet petits fours. Incredible.
Who would have thought that the simple cracker was so difficult to master? Brendan’s multi-seed flatbreads were regimental in shape and size. We’re not sure we could manage the same!
Series Three: The worst
Natasha’s Mother’s Day Cake
It might have looked beautiful on the outside, but Natasha’s Mother’s Day rose cake was practically raw on the inside! You can’t judge a cake by its icing…
This rose cake recipe has a wonderful combination of flavours
Stuart’s black forest tart completely collapsed in the fourth week of Series Three when it failed to set. He then came last in the technical challenge, and left the show that week.
Try our black forest cheesecake recipe for a crowd-pleasing dessert idea
James’s Gingerbread Barn
For the ‘gingerbread structures’ challenge in the Series Three quarter final, James’s barn was in trouble from the start. But, by covering it in a little spun sugar, he managed to convince Paul and Mary that the ‘ruined’ look was in fact his goal all along!
Downsize your gingerbread house with our recipe
Danny’s Fraisier Cake
Danny’s Fraisier cake was a disaster. The creme patissiere failed to set, leaving what should have been a beautiful masterpiece little short of a sloppy mess.
Series Two: The best
The second week of Series Two saw the trials and tribulations of the quiche challenge. A deceptively simple task, not all bakers enjoyed success, however this beautifully made quiche pleased Paul and Mary.
Make your own masterpiece with this two-cheese and onion quiche
Series Two: The worst
Making profiteroles is hard enough – let alone stacking them in a giant tower with spun sugar and chocolate. The quarter final showstopper challenge of Series Two, saw the bakers’ croquembouche constructions resemble the leaning tower of Pisa more than The Shard!
Try a more simple profiterole recipe here
Victoria’s Blackbird Pie Cake
Despite leaving Series Three in the early stages, Victoria won the star baker award in the very first week with her incredible blackbird pie cake.
Stuart’s Creme Caramel
For the technical challenge, Stuart’s creme caramel didn’t go well, leaving him in the dangerous bottom spot. He was eliminated that week.
Series One: The best
Back in Series One, cupcakes were on the menu. These dainty, pretty white fairy cakes went down a storm – perfect for a wedding!
Feeling inspired? Click through our round-up of cupcake recipes here