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Bake Off: Lent Edition

Our Bake Off correspondent, Tam Blaxter (2013), is back with an update on the Graduate Parlour’s favourite baking contest…

pigs in chocolate

Pigs-in-Mud chocolate cake

Another term of the Great Pembroke Bake Off has come to an end! The first three weeks of term were spent finishing off the first round, with six new competitors bringing exciting cakes to the hungry masses on Sunday afternoons. These were chocolate-heavy weeks — particularly impressive was a pigs-in-mud chocolate orange cake, pictured above.


R: Nutella Espresso Rolls. L: Hot-Cross Buns and the GP’s most popular honorary member in the background!

The rest of term has been taken up with the second round, where the twelve winners of the first round have been paired up against each other. This time, instead of bringing any cake they want, each pair of competitors has been set a different challenge to which they have to respond, adding an extra level of difficulty to the competition.

Some of the challenges have been quite descriptive. When the competitors were presented with the challenge to bake ‘something risen with yeast’, traditional Hot-Cross Buns faced off against Nutella Espresso Rolls, a Scandinavian-American food-blog favourite!


Top: The winning layer cake, with raspberries and cream-cheese icing. Bottom: New Forest Gateau.

For another challenge, the competitors were asked to bake ‘something with three or more tiers or layers’. For this one, a rhubarb-cream-and-honey confection entitled the New Forest Gateau bravely made an entrance — but stood no chance next to a many-layered tower of raspberries, sponge cake and ever-popular cream-cheese icing!

A nostalgic challenge asked competitors to bake ‘something from their childhood’, with the result that tea-and-cake goers were treated to a full cream tea with scones, clotted cream and jam. Requiring a little more creative thinking, in another week the bakers were challenged to make something including ‘an unusual flavour combination’. The winning response was creative indeed: an olive oil, rosemary, lemon and chocolate loaf cake!

The olive oil, rosemary, lemon and chocolate loaves

Finally, two challenges were a little more abstract. One asked the competitors to bake ‘a metaphor for their thesis’, resulting in a puzzling raspberry tart and a basket of Chelsea buns that the punters were assured represented particles and entanglement! The other suggested that the bakers should bring a bake that represented their favourite song. One competitor baked a lemon meringue pie in honour of the song ‘Lemon Tree’—the other brought a cake iced with lyrics that will be familiar to anyone who has ever attended a Pembroke bop…

Top: Possibly the best use for the fruit of the Lemon Tree! Bottom: A cake that will bring back memories for every Pembroke student 😉

Next term, our six remaining competitors will face off against each other again! This time, they’ll get to set each other challenges, ensuring that the bar will be raised yet again…

For a reminder of the mouth-watering Michaelmas entries, take a look at Tam’s previous blog post.

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