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Athena

S10.E11: The Great Christmas Bake Off

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Noel, Sandi, Prue and Paul gather for their traditional festive get-together, welcoming former contestants for Yule-themed challenges and Status Quo with Rockin' All Over the World

UK Air Date: December 25, 2019.

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Even when I don't totally remember the bakers right away (ahem, Tom), I'm always glad to see them again!

Cake pops seem a big simple for the signature challenge, but I guess the challenge is trying to get all 24 of them decorated in the time limit. Because they had only two and a half hours, I would have split my batter into two pans to make thinner cakes so they would bake more quickly and then cool more quickly so I could start assembling everything sooner. Yan's idea to bake them in muffin tins was a good idea and high five for precooling her sheets in the freezer so the cake would cool down faster.

Since some of them were just adding flavoring from a bottle (like Briony's gingerbread flavor and cassis liquor), why wouldn't you just put that in the cake batter too? Why flavor only the buttercream?

Briony's chili chocolate cracker cake pops looked messy and I hated that they had two lollipop sticks. Her Christmas pudding cake pops looked good because the design was simple and doable. Her gingerbread cake pops looked very messy. The white glittery cake pops and the snowmen looked good though! I liked that she gave the Prue gingerbread lady a colorful necklace and that she made Sandy's gingerbread lady smaller than the others.

Tom's chocolate orange penguin cake pops were cute, as were his chocolate and peanut butter reindeer cake pops. His white chocolate and ginger Santa cake pops were a little messier. It's too bad he didn't have time to make his stollen snowman cake pops. I cracked up at the naked cake pops that he included in his display.

Yan's chocolate gingerbread latte snowglobe cake pops were a fun idea but some of them weren't executed as neatly. Her chocolate orange cake pops ended up looking like ornaments aka round colored balls. Her chocolate hazelnut snowman cake pops were too messy. Her mint chocolate Christmas tree cake pops looked pretty good - her design was smart (dipped in green and then a few stripes of green icing on top). I laughed when she told Paul he had glitter on his lips.

Terry's carousel cake pop stand was really cute. His eggnog cake pops varied. The Santas looked messy because he had way too much detail and none of it was executed well. The snowmen and penguins looked better because the designs were simpler and he was able to execute them more cleanly. Were those dogs supposed to be reindeer? They looked terrible. And he only had 22 instead of 24.

The sausage roll wreath technical challenge seemed fine to me. It wasn't super challenging (like some of the recipes where the bakers were totally flummoxed) and it was doable in the allotted time. Ha, I laughed when Tom was trying to figure out how much sage and mace to add and Noel told him to add all of it: "What could go wrong?" Congratulations to Tom for winning the technical! Yan did pretty well too.

Oh, no. Gingerbread structures = producers want something to collapse so that someone cries.

I love Yan. First she bluntly told Noel that he was distracting her and he had to go away and then he revealed that her recipe instructions had 208 items. Her lemon and cardamom shortbread house with a florentine roof, pina colada marshmallow, rhubarb sugar glass, and orange blossom and chai masala was so messy looking. I give her credit for making so many components.

I'm with Terry - gingerbread is great for construction but I never eat it. And I love that he made internal structural corners! His Chrysler Building with cinder toffee trees and mint crisps was a great idea but the icing for the windows was so sloppy. The dancing Paul and Prue cracked me up. And the exploding roof gets an A for effort.

Ha, I loved that first Tom said that when he practiced at home, he was 90 minutes over the time limit and despite that, he made five spare pieces in case he had any disasters. His Edinburgh bank/bar looked great. The sugar dome was fun too.

Briony's train station and steam train with chocolate marzipan roof was great. The piping was a little messy but overall she did a good job. The dry ice for the train and the alcohol inside were great touches.

Yay, congratulations to Briony for winning!

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It's always good to see the returnees and Terry's showstopper was brilliant.

On the other hand, the continuation of the "Sandi is so short..." jokes was just as tiresome now as it has been from the start, and for some reason the tent didn't feel as cozy as last year. Last year, I wanted to move into the tent and never leave.

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I'm happy for Briony, though it really could have been any of them. I liked how they all did good in the show stopper and Terry's explosion made me jump the first time lol. 

on a side note, I figured this had to be 2019 due to the family being able to celebrate with them. I wonder if they will do one for 2020. 

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3 hours ago, blueray said:

on a side note, I figured this had to be 2019 due to the family being able to celebrate with them. I wonder if they will do one for 2020. 

Yes, there will be two specials. Exact date and time have been not been announced but it will probably follow the same schedule as these two. 

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Cake pops are so gross. All that cake & frosting mixed together and then rolled until moist (eww) makes me gag. I will never eat one.

Terry is just adorable. Loved his showstopper, so funny. I love Briony but I thought hers was boring. Tom's was my favorite and I think if he had made the required number of barf pops he would have won. Yan just made too many different things. This was a good group, they all have nice personalities and good senses of humor.

I miss Sandi. 

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I enjoyed it very much! I loved all of the contestants and the atmosphere.  I laughed when Yan told Noel he had to go away. I bet that's what they all want but can't say it.  

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It was delightful seeing Yan and Briony again.  They are two of my recent favorites.  I'm happy for Briony.  I have no memory of Tom, but his building turned out nice.

It's a bit of a shock watching this for the first time after the covid season.  The before times look so cheery.  And I have never appreciated Sandi's cheerful, grounded warmth more.

Agree that cake pops are too sweet.  I can see the practicality for using up cake scraps, but I feel like they should be much smaller and coated in something bitter, almost like a truffle.

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2 hours ago, TimothyQ said:

Was this the first f-bomb ever dropped on Bake Off? 🤣

I feel like Henry dropped at least one in 2019. He had quite the potty mouth for such a baby face. (I say that with love. 😂😂)

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15 hours ago, TimothyQ said:

Was this the first f-bomb ever dropped on Bake Off? 🤣

Lottie had one in this past season.  I know because I didn't realize that they would close caption it accurately.  Not only did she say it, but it's there in full spelling in the close captioning.

Good for Tom for accomplishing something that he had trouble with previously.  I was happy to see all four of these bakers back.

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They need to edit out the very blatant Tom F-bombs.  This is a family show, for fuck$ sake, and people like to fuck!n' watch with their fuck!n' kids, so they need to clean up the fuck!n' language.  

I loved Paul in the sweater with the silver fox on the front.  Yum.  

And I love Noel & Sandi together, short jokes aside.  Matt in the new series just sucked SO fuck!n' bad.    

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So refreshing to have Sandi on this episode.  Noel was not nearly as obnoxious.  It's like he and Matt just play off each other and it comes out ugly.

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On 12/9/2019 at 11:09 AM, Athena said:

welcoming former contestants for Yule-themed challenges and Status Quo with Rockin' All Over the World

What does this mean? (The latter part, obviously.) 

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5 hours ago, J-Man said:

What does this mean? (The latter part, obviously.) 

That Status Quo (the band) is playing out the episode with that festive song 😉

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On 12/4/2020 at 5:47 PM, festivus said:

Cake pops are so gross. All that cake & frosting mixed together and then rolled until moist (eww) makes me gag. I will never eat one.

I've never had a cake pop, and I always assumed that they were just tiny cakes. Isn't that what cake pop molds are for? What they were doing repulsed me. (Here's a tip: I know someone who just uses plain donut holes and decorates those for cake pops.)

Tom seemed intoxicated in the first day.

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6 minutes ago, janie jones said:

I've never had a cake pop, and I always assumed that they were just tiny cakes. Isn't that what cake pop molds are for? What they were doing repulsed me. (Here's a tip: I know someone who just uses plain donut holes and decorates those for cake pops.)

Tom seemed intoxicated in the first day.

I'm totally with you.  I thought they used something like this....

https://www.bing.com/images/search?view=detailV2&ccid=wXWpo00U&id=62E3CF82EA7FC0EEDF8F870EA6513FFC91915E28&thid=OIP.wXWpo00UIpm439d-_82F8gHaHa&mediaurl=http%3a%2f%2flearntocookbadgergirl.com%2fwp-content%2fuploads%2f2012%2f05%2fcake-pop-pan.jpg&exph=600&expw=600&q=cake+pop+pan&simid=608000024775757356&ck=D9CC743481B36D4D9436023717CA5AB7&selectedIndex=0&FORM=IRPRST&idpp=overlayview&ajaxhist=

Edited by leighdear
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Did anyone else notice that Briony's laugh got louder that first day as she sampled her liquid ingredients?  It was fun to watch them all be so relaxed; they clearly enjoyed themselves.  I also loved that I had no idea who would win.  I could make a pretty good case for any of them, but I have a soft spot for Briony so was thrilled for her.

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10 hours ago, janie jones said:

I've never had a cake pop, and I always assumed that they were just tiny cakes. Isn't that what cake pop molds are for? What they were doing repulsed me. 

What they were doing is the standard method for cake pops in all the professional bakeries I'm aware of. Which is why I've long thought cake pops were gross. The point is usually to use up cake scraps though. (I know these are home bakers, but my point is they were clearly asked to do it the "professional" way...except they had to purpose-bake the cakes for it, which is very not normal.)

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6 hours ago, theatremouse said:

What they were doing is the standard method for cake pops in all the professional bakeries I'm aware of. Which is why I've long thought cake pops were gross. The point is usually to use up cake scraps though. (I know these are home bakers, but my point is they were clearly asked to do it the "professional" way...except they had to purpose-bake the cakes for it, which is very not normal.)

Ha, it's like when people make brand new rice in order to make fried rice (which is normally made with leftover rice)!

The thing with cake pops is that it's really up to the baker to decide how much frosting to add. Some people add WAY too much frosting which makes them ridiculously sweet, but the purpose of the frosting is just to bind the cake together so that it can be shaped without falling apart. When I used to make them, I used barely any frosting because, despite my sweet tooth, I didn't want the finished product to be tooth achingly sweet.

17 hours ago, janie jones said:

I've never had a cake pop, and I always assumed that they were just tiny cakes. Isn't that what cake pop molds are for? What they were doing repulsed me. (Here's a tip: I know someone who just uses plain donut holes and decorates those for cake pops.)

Back in ye olden days before cake pops got super fancy, they were just round balls (like donut holes so props to your friend for finding an awesome shortcut!) dipped in chocolate or candy melts. Once they got really popular, people started using molds to make different characters and shapes. While I appreciate the effort with the detailed decorations, there's something to be said for the old school cake pops that were just dunked in chocolate and got some sprinkles on top if you were feeling fancy.

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7 hours ago, ElectricBoogaloo said:

Back in ye olden days before cake pops got super fancy, they were just round balls (like donut holes so props to your friend for finding an awesome shortcut!) dipped in chocolate or candy melts. Once they got really popular, people started using molds to make different characters and shapes. While I appreciate the effort with the detailed decorations, there's something to be said for the old school cake pops that were just dunked in chocolate and got some sprinkles on top if you were feeling fancy.

FWIW, when I mentioned cake pop molds, I was referring to round ones. I didn't know they made other shapes, and I had actually been thinking that they couldn't have used cake pop molds anyway, if they were wanting to make reindeer heads and snowmen and whatnot.

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When I've made them in other shapes, I've shaped them with cookie cutters. 

When Bakerella invented them, it wasn't about using up the old cake. She baked a brand new cake for them because the intent was to use them as a dessert at a party.

I do like them but they feel like a lot of work for such a reward. A couple Christmases ago, I was watching Bake Off and decided to try my hand at a roll cake. It did not work out as planned, so ended up cake pops. 

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When I have a cake disaster it always becomes trifle.  One day I will have to try the cake pop route instead.

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2 hours ago, Crs97 said:

When I have a cake disaster it always becomes trifle.  One day I will have to try the cake pop route instead.

Nah.  A trifle is always better.   I always will take whipped cream over frosting.

Edited by Irlandesa
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Well now I have a caving for a sausage roll that is going to have to go COMPLETELY unsatisfied because I can't think of anywhere in Austin, Texas where I could curbside-pick-up a close substitute. (sigh.)   I ate a pop-tart instead.  It was unsatisfactory.

But I'm delighted to have found this unwatched episode to kick-off day two-hundred-and-whatever of social isolation distancing.  These holiday specials are always so fun and upbeat and this one was no exception.  The gingerbread houses were -- in the end -- really great, despite looking like they were all headed for disaster during the construction phase.

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On 12/9/2020 at 2:38 PM, WatchrTina said:

Well now I have a caving for a sausage roll that is going to have to go COMPLETELY unsatisfied because I can't think of anywhere in Austin, Texas where I could curbside-pick-up a close substitute. (sigh.)   I ate a pop-tart instead.  It was unsatisfactory.

Sausage roll for non-bakers...  cut a sheet of puff pastry in thirds.  Use a tube of breakfast sausage, and put a thumb width line down the middle of the pastry sheet.  Roll into a long log and seal the ends.  Cut them into about 1" bite size pieces.  Bake at 400F for about 15 minutes.  (Watch carefully - they go from golden brown to burnt in a hot second.)  Reheat leftovers in a toaster oven the next morning for breakfast.  🙂 

This was a fun episode.  I like when bakers have the pressure off and can have fun with what they're doing without the threat of elimination.  Cake pops aren't at the top of my dessert favorite list, but I wouldn't turn one down, either. 

Loved Tom's gingerbread house - the sugar dome was fantastic!  I can't believe Terry's stood that tall! And I loved Yan's "condemned" house.  Again, good to see bakers having fun, even when things don't quite go right.

 

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Sorry but a non-baker will not have a sheet of puff pastry hanging around.  Use biscuits in a can instead.  Pop open the can, flatten out the biscuit dough.  Then add the sausage, roll it over and bake.

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On 12/4/2020 at 7:29 PM, TimothyQ said:

Was this the first f-bomb ever dropped on Bake Off? 🤣

I was surprised it wasn’t edited!  I didn’t realize f-bombs were allowed with a tv-14 rating!  

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On 12/10/2020 at 8:34 PM, chaifan said:

This was a fun episode.  I like when bakers have the pressure off and can have fun with what they're doing without the threat of elimination.

I think that Tom summed it up perfectly when he said that because no one was eliminated, he was automatically in the semi-finals!  All of them being relatively relaxed was a joy to watch.  It was great when Yan said she had a timer for talking to the judges, and that Paul's time was up. 

FWIW, even Paul seemed relaxed, and it's nice to hear him genuinely laugh and joke.

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On 12/4/2020 at 7:29 PM, TimothyQ said:

Was this the first f-bomb ever dropped on Bake Off? 🤣

It cracked me up, because he said, "Fuuuck! Oh, sorry. Excuse my language. (brief pause) It's...fucking fuck!" 

Briony and Yan are two of my GBBO bakers, but they were all delightful. Fun episode. 

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