Monday, 21 January 2013

Well, Butter My Bum, it's The Great Comic Relief Bake Off!

Put four comedians in the Great British Bake Off tent, overseen by the usual dough-some twosome, Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood, and what do we get?

We get the Great British Bake Off Comic Relief Special!  Or The Great Comic Relief Bake Off.  We've only got Mel Giedroyc though, Sue Perkins was too scared she might be out-comedied.

"Branded" butter on the Beeb...
Obviously, Jo Brand is featured.  And her preferred method of making sure the butter for her shortbread is room temperature is to sit on it.  Yes, really.  She's making rhubarb and custard shortbread.

Stephen K Amos has missed out his nuts.  Shame.

Ingrid Oliver (one half of comedy duo Watson & Oliver) is using Lady Grey tea in her shortbread, but Hollywood would seemingly have preferred she used poppy seeds.  Shame on HER.

Lorna Watson is doing everything slowly, including making very sticky shortbread dough.  Dough?  Batter?  There's a reason I'm not on this programme.  I'd end up making pancakes by mistake.  FLIP!

Jo Brand's shortbread has suffered from "shrink-back".  It sounds like an Asda initiative, but apparently it means it's just shrunk a bit.  Or something.  Brand wishes it would happen to her.

Stephen K Amos (what does the K stand for?) has baked something with non-existent lavender in it.  And something citrussy that is described as "terrible" by Hollywood.  Plaudits abound!

Oliver is using a Mary Berry recipe, the crawly-crawly bumlick.  But she's worked the dough a bit too much.  Horrors!  The lavender overpowers the tea.  Mel Giedroyc has eaten them all by the time anyone has a chance to go back for seconds.

Watson has baked squillions of biscuits.  To be precise, she's over-baked squillions and put enormous walnuts on them.  But they were quite nice biscuits.  So that's good.

Brand was just delighted Hollywood swallowed, instead of spitting.  This is PRE watershed, right?  Hmm, maybe it's just my brain that isn't.  Yes, that'll be it.

The Technical Challenge recipe is a surprise, so they can't fake it.  They just have to bake it.  Ha!'s a custard slice.  Paul Hollywood's recipe.  Mary Berry calls Hollywood on how tricky the recipe is - he knows it's tough.  But he doesn't care, because that's how the Hollywood rolls.

The pastry proves interesting, as does the custard vanilla-ing from Brand - she pulls it all out of the pod with her thumbnail and then scrapes it into the custard.  Let's hope she didn't scrape the butter out of her bum with the same nail earlier.  She puts what looks like quite nice pastry in the oven.

Watson puts another sticky mess in the oven.  And then it catches fire.  Amazingly, her pastry has risen beautifully, but unfortunately, it tastes of meaty barbecue.  Just what you want in a custard slice.  Hey ho, maybe Berry/Hollywood won't notice.

Oliver splats chocolate on the top of hers, only marginally better than Watson.  Brand is actually surprisingly competent at this and makes a well decent job of her feathered chocolate.  Unfortunately, she then ballses up cutting them and makes them look shit.  

The squashed, sticky offerings are laid on the sacrificial gingham altar.  Hollywood pisses himself laughing when he sees them - always a good start.  Still, it's Comic Relief.  And fucking hell, these custard slices are jokes.  They're just missing the red noses.

But noooo, we have a soggy bottom!  Stephen K Amos maybe sat on Brand's butter too...

Oliver's is "not bad".

Brand can't count (not the right number of slices) - and she has another soggy bottom (still sitting on the butter?  I am so not over that image - can you tell? #brainbleach).

And Watson's isn't just soggy, it's raw.  It makes Paul Hollywood have to think nice thoughts to avoid coughing up a furball.

Watson's in fourth place.

Brand's in third place.

K Amos is second.

And Oliver wins and is "genuinely gobsmacked".  Nobody's ever said that when they've won something on reality television.  She'll be on about her journey next.

Watson, bless her, still thinks she can be Star Baker.  Oh, dear.  She seems a nice girl, but baking ain't her forte.

Being a Comic Relief programme, there's now a short film about the brilliant stuff that Comic Relief does in Africa.  And there's a bakery they support - how awesome is that?!  Women baking, their children being looked after and educated at the same time - it's called the Virtuous Women's Bakery!  To send a lovely chunk of cash to this fine cause, simply text BAKE to 70005.  Do it.  Do it now.

Have you done it?  GO ON!

Right, on with the show.  WHO is going to be Star Baker?  The third and final test is the Showstopper Challenge.  They have to bake a novelty chocolate portrait cake, featuring a picture of someone they all know and recognise.

Personally, I'd do Mr Uppity.  He's just the right colour for a chocolate cake.  What about you?

Brand's gone for the Archbishop Desmond Tutu, which is probably a better, more inspiring choice.  One of the reasons is she doesn't think she has ever seen him on a cake before.  She should get out more - he's a common enough feature on tea tables round my way.

Oliver's doing Paul Hollywood.  Not ACTUALLY.  Well, she may be, but not on camera.  There's comedy and there's Just Too Far.  But she's putting Paul Hollywood's face on the cake.  It's a SECRET though; she doesn't tell him.

Stephen K Amos is putting a glitter picture of himself on the top.  The giant narcissist.

Watson - well, it's going to be sticky, isn't it?  She's using white chocolate and fresh raspberries.  And Sue Perkins will feature - ahhh.  Hollywood points out her cake has split, so she uses a beater instead of her hand to mix the next version.

Into the oven now, with Brand imploring her cake to "be good".  She's gone for a cup of tea in the sunshine, relaxed as fuck.

Stephen K Amos is cooking his chocolate to death.  It's gone as grainy as a filthy pap long-distance telephoto picture of Kate Middleton topless.

Oliver's having a mare.  She forgot to put raising agent in the orange sponge.  She has to start again, with one hour to go.  Whoops.  It takes 45 minutes to bake...  It'll be tight!
Sue looking ironic, eyebrow-wise

Watson is doing an ironic eyebrow in icing.  I love that sentence.  I think I will always ice ironic eyebrows on EVERY cake I ever make from now on.  It may end up being my epitaph.  "Here lies the tetchiest pedant we ever knew. She iced a mean ironic eyebrow."  What better way to be remembered?

Ten minutes left.  Watson seems to be pulling it out of the bag, with her raspberry buttercream looking only slightly like the product of liposuction.

Stephen K Amos has de-grained his chocolate somehow.  Brand holds the stencil of his face over the cake and Stephen K Amos shakes glittery brown dust through it.  The resulting picture looks...well, it looks shit.

Amazingly, they've all finished in time.

Brand's isn't overdone.  And her freestyle Tutu has gone down well.  Berry says she's made a very good cake.

Amos's is bitter.  And dense.  I wouldn't want a picture of myself on a bitter, dense cake, would you?

Paul Hollywood then cuts into his own face as they try Oliver's cake.  He declares it "lovely".  And the orange sponge that went so horribly wrong first time round was light and nice.  Hurrah!

Watson's Sue cake with the ironic eyebrow is soon sliced up.  The buttercream (lipo residue) has curdled.  And Sue tastes scrummy, but the cake is a bit wonky.  Paul Hollywood declares it " tastes perfect".

Brand's biscuits were the best.  And her cake was the best.  Will she win?

Amos's cake was burnt and bitter.  He thinks it went well, having made Berry pull a face with so much "expression" which is a devastatingly self-confident delusion.

Oliver - lovely cake, a good all-rounder.

Watson's cake was "perfect" - but was it enough to win her the competition, given her sticky messes earlier?

This person's journey (always with the sodding journey!) started with humble shortbread dreams, via custard slices, ending up in the foothills of - oh, I lost the will to live, sorry, Giedroyc!

Anyway, Ingrid Oliver won and receives the Apron of Glory.  And some flowers.  She was the all-round best.  I think it was just because she put La Hollywood on the top of her cake, don't you?  And didn't set fire to her pastry, make a dense, bitter cake or sit on her butter.  There you go - top tips for winning Bake Off.

So, let's have a bake sale for Comic Relief.  GO ON!  And ice ironic eyebrows on every last damn cake.  GO ON!

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