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The Great Canadian Baking Show

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Part of me was hoping that someone would make Rachel's Thanksgiving meat trifle. If I were a judge I would give anyone who did that an A+ just for having the balls to do it.

Dan drinking limoncello out of a measuring cup made me laugh.

For me, one of the important aspects of a trifle is the presentation. You have to have visible (and neat) layers. That's the whole point of putting it in that giant glass dish. It always seems so sad that you have to destroy the pretty trifle just to serve it (although I suppose you could make individual trifles in small glasses to avoid that).

James' gin and blueberry trifle with jaconde sponge and earl grey custard looked really messy.

Terri's strawberry rhubarb trifle with peach schnapps and vanilla custard was very simple but pretty. I liked the fruit combination too. I love peach and strawberry together.

Linda's raspberry lemon trifle with candied saskatoon berries was really beautiful. The big sugar circle on top was a nice touch. Linda is full of tips and tricks! I need her microwave custard recipe! Cutting the sponge to cool it more quickly is good science.

Sabrina's strawberry swirl trifle with lemon custard and limoncello looked so good. Doing something as simple as rolling her sponge with raspberry jam and using the swirled slices had a great visual effect. I also love that she clearly ddn't skimp on the strawberries on the top.

Vandana's mango kiwi strawberry trifle with boba was so colorful. The mango boba added such a bright splash of color.

Julian's mixed berry trifle with chocolate ganache, strawberry liqueur, and pistachio custard looked very neat with defined layers but as Rochelle pointed out, the layers didn't repeat. I knew he would get busted for using gelatin in his custard. If only he'd heard the voiceover so that he would have known why his custard wasn't thickening.

Heh, I had to laugh at James' description of brandy snaps: if you want to eat brandy snaps, you buy them! I've never made them before, but as soon as I saw Julian's thick batter on his baking sheet, I knew his were wrong. Is this the first time that Linda didn't do well on the technical challenge? Sabrina and Terri did so well!

On a shallow note, I loved Sabrina's dress on the second day, but the fluttery sleeves seemed impractical for baking.

James' military precision plan was a good idea, but a schedule is only good if you can stick to it. I have to agree with him because the vivid color of his purple soda bread was so awesome when it went into the oven. He got bonus points for his Wensleydale cheese sandwiches with pear relish on beet soda bread because I love Wallace and Grommit. His raspberry Bakewell tart was huge. His orange whiskey cheesecake was also gigantic. I'm all for good sized portions, but high tea is supposed to be small bites.

Linda's lemon, goat cheese, and basil scones sounded great. Her salted caramel chocolates looked really delicious. Her mini Yorkshire puddings with bison and saskatoon berry sauce sounded good.

Sabrina's amaretti cookies were so pretty. Her seared peach and prosciutto crostini sounded yummy. I know people tend to pair prosciutto with fig, so I liked that she used peach instead. You still get that salty/sweet combination but with a different kind of sweetness. Her scone with peach jam and Devonshire cream sounded great - like a British version of a donut with cream.

Terri's butter tarts with whale and loon bacon toppers were so cute and sounded delicious. Her sweet potato fritters with avocado and sriracha mayo looked great. Her cherry blossom and pistachio eclairs had lots of color.

Vandana's rice and chickpea dhokla were so bright and colorful. Her sandesh were very pretty - loved the pink color and the little silver balls. Her gujiya sounded delicious. Loved that she added orchids to the presentation tray for color. She also chose really beautiful trays in colors that contrasted with the colors of the food she was serving.

Justin's blueberry grunt sounded good. His salted caramel apple tarts were beautiful with those apple slice flowers.  His smoked mackerel pâté in romano cheese crisps (what happened to the cups?) looked very rustic, to put it nicely.

Yay for Vandana being star baker this week! James is lucky that Julian was just a little bit worse than he was this week. I think Julian finishing last in the technical challenge may have been the nail in the coffin.

Edited by ElectricBoogaloo
Because there’s no such thing as pecah
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ElectricBoogaloo I love your recaps every week. Do you take notes as you watch?  I'm lucky if I remember who made what, while I'm watching!

Not surprised to see Julian leave last night.  Unless one of the women screw up badly next week, I suspect next to go will be James. 

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13 hours ago, ElectricBoogaloo said:

His smoked mackerel pâté in romano cheese crisps (what happened to the cups?) looked very rustic, to put it nicely.

He couldn't get the edges of the "crisps" to fold over the bottoms of the cupcake tin, so he just left them flat.

Edited by dewelar
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I appreciate a good high tea once in a while, but I do not like it to be too busy. Vandana's seemed too fussy and ostentatious for my tastes. I feel she often overdoes it as far as decorating and colors. Restraint and simplicity do not seem to be words in her vocabulary.

Trifle is different; its basic principle is excess, but again some of the cooks did not seem to know up to where it's reasonable to go too far.

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On 11/17/2017 at 8:47 AM, ElectricBoogaloo said:

Julian's blueberry pavlova looked gorgeous and elegant. Loved the piping on the sides and the blueberry sauce dripping down.

That thing was stunning!

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I thought all of the gingerbread houses were really good but that treehouse was beyond adorable!  

James seems to be upping his game now.  I like all of the remaining folks so it will be hard to root for someone.  I just enjoy the whole sense of camaraderie among the bakers.

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Awww, I love how festive the tent looked with all the wreaths and holiday decorations! I know this was filmed months ago, but I live in California so it doesn't bother me at all to see people wearing short sleeves while looking out at the sunny weather. I love the jingle bells they added to the theme song for this episode too.

I am okay with bûche de Noël. I mean, it's cake with filling so what's not to like?

Linda's pumpkin caramel roll with cream cheese filling candied cranberries, truffle pine cones, and chocolate bark looked so festive and professional. I am one of those weirdos who haaaaates pumpkin so I don't know that I would have wanted to actually eat this, but it definitely looked good. And Bruno can hush his mouth! I'd rather have the filling/cake ratio she had! It's always disappointing when there isn't much filling inside. I do agree that the spiral could have been tighter. Ha, I loved that when Dan asked if there was anything he could do to help (as we've heard from the hosts on different iterations of the show ask), she put him to work making those pine cones!

James' chocolate orange roll with chocolate mousse looked way better than I thought it would when he was describing it beforehand. The bark texture he created with his jaconde sponge was really great! And thank goodness he finished on time even after having to make a second cake. Linda's face when he said that he'd forgotten to add butter to the first one was hilarious. I'm surprised it turned out as well as it did considering how much of his filling was oozing out before. Heh, at least he admitted that rather than a rolled cake, he had a folded cake.

Terri's birch tree yule log with candy cane cream and meringue mushrooms looked very homemade. I wish the judges had been more specific about what was too sweet. The sponge? The cream? The white chocolate coating? I'm not sure why Rochelle was so impressed with the chocolate bird. She just used a mold to make it.

Sabrina's gingerbread spice roll with eggnog cream filling was a little amateur looking. I think it was the combination of the white coating with what looked like fork tine marks dragged through it and the haphazardly drizzled white chocolate on top of that. I did like the little pearls she added, and her holly berries and leaves looked well done. She had a nice tight spiral with a good amount of filling.

Vandana's chocolate log with cherry jam, chocolate buttercream, brandy syrup, and truffle pine cones looked so great - even better than Linda's in my opinion! Her bûche de Noël looked like a quintessential holiday dessert.

Mmmm, rugelach! That was an obvious first place with everyone else automatically a distant second since James was the only one who didn’t have underbaked/raw dough.

For me, gingerbread houses are about the way they look. I've never eaten the gingerbread after the house was decorated. I loved when Linda and James were talking about kneading their gingerbread and then James said he doesn't know why he kneads it but that it's a nice feeling dough.

Sabrina's Rockefeller Center was a fun idea but it looked very amateurish, from the blobby frosting to the big peppermint candies glued to the front. The only impressive thing was the size, but since it was just a big rectangle, that didn't require much engineering skill. On top of that, she finished early but didn't decorate the back at all.

Vandana's treehouse was such a fun idea. I love that she used very simple pieces (like two notched pieces that formed the tree trunk or the piece of gingerbread with cutouts that made the ladder) to create something different. Loved the blue raspberry ponds (mmm, Jolly Ranchers!) and the little sandbox. She had lots of fun little details in her decorating too like the tiny berries in the garden and the little flowers.

Terri's farmhouse looked like a typical gingerbread house, which isn't impressive because it's a bunch of frosting on gingerbread. My favorite part was the chocolate squares with rainbow sprinkles for the tile roof. I disagree with Bruno - less sprinkles would not have made this more elegant. The sprinkles weren't the problem. It was all the shaky piping with the frosting that made it look amateurish (which again is the nature of most gingerbread houses).

James' eco-home was a very smart idea. He kept the piping to a minimum and used it for the flowers and vines (which didn’t require straight lines) on the house instead of outlining everything. He had lots of good details like the worms in the compost bin. Using the solar panels for working lights was cool.

Linda's barn was very simple but elegant. She didn't use a simple A shaped roof. She used some icing but sparingly so that it didn't look messy. The candy decorations were used well without looking childlike. That was a sophisticated, grown up version of a gingerbread house.

Although I think it's great that Linda and James added lights to their show stoppers, I feel like the bakers should be rewarded more for technical and creative prowess in their baking skills, not adding non-baked stuff. I can't remember what season (or even which country) it was when one of the bakers kept adding stuff that wasn't baked (think the equivalent of Matchbox cars) almost every week. I'm fine with embellishing but the emphasis needs to be on their baking skills in my opinion.

I knew it was down to Terri or Sabrina going home because both of them did poorly at all three challenges. If you had told me earlier in the season that this would be the top five, I would have guessed that James would be the one sent home, but he has really upped his game last week and this week. He did well in all three challenges this week (and won the technical challenge!) so he might be peaking at the right time.

I'm not surprised that Vandana was star baker again. It was obvious that Linda was really disappointed that she didn't get it this week.

Edited by ElectricBoogaloo
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I was really impressed with Vandana’s treehouse. I would pay money for that if it was being sold in a bakery. She definitely earned Star Baker this week.

Edited by kalamac
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I am not a big fan of gingerbread sculptures; I prefer ginger cookies or pastry to be on the chewy side, while for structural reasons such assemblages require a dough that is too crispy for my taste. However, I was appreciative of what some of the cooks achieved, epecially James; his lines were so clean and straight, he did not have to resort to masking them over with big glops of icing as most cooks usually do because they are uneven. It often makes things look sloppy, as it did with Terri and Sabrina (who probably was overambitious with her plans for a gingerbread Rockefeller Center). Vandana's tree house was also rather elegant.

Linda and James achieved excellent bark effects by different techniques. They also brought an interesting diversity to both filling and cake, which are so often limited to the standard choices of chocolate and white icing or jelly.

I think I had kugelachs once or twice at a friend's Chanukah parties, but the latkas were the star of the evening so I mostly remember them. I may now try my hand at this pastry, although perhaps with something else than apricot filling since I don't really like that fruit, even though it may be too much of a departure from tradition for some people (I am thinking of using figs or dates).

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Oooh, French pâtisserie! I forgot to plan ahead and have some sweet treats on hand while watching this so I was drooling over their creations.

It looks like everyone is taking inspiration from Vandana. In the signature challenge, three out of the four bakers used orchids to decorate their plates.

Hee, I love whenever they show long shots of Rochelle and Bruno at the deliberation table because she's always wearing really comfy shoes that contrast with her fancier looking outfits.

Dan is still a little too forced when he's giving instructions or making announcements, but I do enjoy his interactions with the bakers because he seems to really sympathize with them and like them.

Linda's raspberry white chocolate mille feuille sounded good. They were a bit too tall for me because of the fresh raspberries. Her nectarine, caradamom, and caramel mille feuille looked pretty.

I totally cracked up when Rochelle silently walked up to Sabrina's work station and then startled her. Poor Sabrina! She was concentrating so hard (and to be fair, Rochelle did kind of sneak up on her). Sabrina was very ambitious in making four different flavored creams, so kudos to her for getting them all done. Her strawberry pistachio mille feuille were very pretty. I liked the triangle of powdered sugar. Like Rochelle, I like when food tells me what's inside, so I liked that she put a strawberry on top of each.  Her mango, coconut and pineapple mille feuille sounded very tropical so I liked the flowers on top.

Vandana's rooh afza mille feuille was pretty. After watching multiple seasons of Paul turning his nose up at flavors, it's so refreshing to see Bruno and Rochelle try new flavors and like them. I get that everyone has flavor preferences, but Paul seems to think anything not within the usual flavors in his limited bubble are icky. It's especially irksome when he makes remarks about flavors he's never tried or never heard of that are extremely popular. I think anyone in the cooking/baking field needs to stay aware of food trends and try new things whenever possible. Anyway, Vandana's raspberries and lemon pistachio cream mille feuille looked so neat (especially compared to the mess that James presented).

I had to laugh when James said that normally if he wants puff pastry, he will just buy it at the store. Nothing wrong with that! Both mille feuille flavors he presented were an absolute mess. I have no idea why he thought that adding fondant to the top was a good idea. That just made them look even messier. He should also get demerits for not making six of each flavor. In my opinion, he didn't complete the challenge. His strawberry basil mille feuille sounded good. I'm glad that his cream was strawberry basil (not just basil). His blackberry balsamic mille feuille sounded delicious.

Opera cake isn't my favorite thing. I don't actively dislike it, but there are just a lot of other desserts I'd rather eat. I do understand why Bruno chose it since there are several components and it requires precision. Julia was evil when she told one of the bakers that she heard an opera cake has ten layers! Heh, and this is why kids should still be learning cursive in school, damn it! No one wants to see the word "opera" printed on top of their cake.

Oh, Sabrina! When she accidentally put her handmark right on top of the cake at the last minute, I cringed for her. That was just carelessness. Vandana's chocolate was too thick when she wrote "opera" on her cake. I was surprised that James did so well because he didn't seem very confident while he was making it. Why did Linda print "opera" on her cake?

Croquembouche towers always look so messy to me so I wasn't really looking forward to the showstoppers. I'm glad that the challenge was just to make a Christmas tree. You can only get so creative with a tower of cream puffs.

Linda's mascarpone and coffee croquembouche was a little simple looking (maybe because all of her stars and birds were white?) but I'd rather have simple than a messy looking croquembouche (see: James). I also thought that the top of her tower wasn't pointy enough.

Sabrina's vanilla mousseline croquembouche Christmas tree was leaning a little bit, but overall it was very pretty and festive. I liked the snowflakes and the star on top.

Vandana's mint chocolate and orange croquembouche looked very Christmasy with the red flowers and little green leaves. The red berries at the base were very pretty too.

James' coconut custard croquembouche with chocolate ganache and raspberry glaze looked so messy. I appreciate that he wanted to push himself but I wish he had found a way to incorporate all of those flavors a different way. He is SO lucky that Vandana gave him her extra caramel or he wouldn't have been able to finish his tower. Not only did he run out of caramel but he also ran out of cream puffs. James, COME ON! I applaud him for not giving up though. When he realized that he was out of cream puffs, he broke apart some of his nougatine to close the top of his tower.

I honestly thought that James would be eliminated much earlier in the season, but hearing the judges' comments this week I was sure he would make the finals because they love his flavors so much. I was surprised that he was finally eliminated. I was also surprised that Linda was star baker because she didn't do well at the technical challenge and her mille feuille was undercooked.

But now we have an all female finale! That's only happened twice in eight seasons of GBBO (S2 and S4). As happens every time we arrive at the end of the penultimate episode, I'm excited for the finale but simultaneously sad that the season is almost over.

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I think this is Linda's title to lose. I like both Linda and Vandana a lot and if Vandana has a good week she could win. I don't believe Sabrina has a chance in hell unless the other two drop all their bakes on the floor.

I don't know anything about this Bruno guy except I expected to hate him because I kind of disliked him at first BUT he has completely won me over. I kind of love him. I actually wonder if it'd be fun to be friends with him. I think they should team him up with Mary Berry.

Hate the two who are performing the Mel and Sue roles. Can't be bothered to learn their names.

Why does an opera cake have to have "opera" written on it. It's just stupid.

Maybe I watch too much bake off because I actually said "another croquembouche? boring."

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They did that "opera" thing on the British Baking Show.  Not sure what the heck that's all about. And I hate coffee so I'd never even try it.

I do like both judges but just ignore the others. 

I agree it's between Vandana and Linda.  I was actually surprised James got let go.

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It took me a second or two to figure out what a "mil-foy" was supposed to be (perhaps a side branch of the Harry Potter villainous family). At least the judges pronounced "mille-feuille" correctly (unsurprisingly considering their background) but you would think that the CBC could have spent a few minutes for coaching the hosts into how to say the words correctly in the country's other official language. The narrator was inconsistent and got it both wrong and right.

Sabrina works with so much so concentration that she was startled twice during this episode!

I was surprised to see James leave after the judges were so complimentary on his various flavour profiles and he won the technical.  I suppose his showstopper was considered well below standards. I do not much like croquembouches since they can be quite a bother to take apart to get a single serving, especially if a lot of caramel has been used to glue the choux together. I prefer individuals profiteroles or choux; they are much easier to handle and just as good, although not as spectacular of course.


11 hours ago, ElectricBoogaloo said:

Linda's raspberry white chocolate mille feuille sounded good. They were a bit too tall for me because of the fresh raspberries.

Since the layers of a mille-feuille tend to break apart, I feel they need something of uniform density to hold them together like a crème patissière. Fruits and uneven gobs of garnishes tend to make things more awkward when you try to cut it and it's then more difficult to obtain bites that retain some structural integrity instead of being an all-over mess. If the results are too tall, it compounds the problem.


19 minutes ago, zibnchy said:

Why does an opera cake have to have "opera" written on it. It's just stupid.

It's not even required but it's become a tradition for many. Some bakeries use various other decorations like gold leaves for example. They can be very nice to look at but if you dislike coffee, as I do, then they are just something to admire for the glazed finish and garnishes.

It was a nice surprise for the CBC to broadcast a British Christmas Special from a few years back rigth after this episode and it made for an interesting contrast. Even when he is trying to be nice and complimentary, Paul Hollywood can come across as a condescending ass and he is so very much set in his gustatory ways. Mary Berry, Rochelle Adonis and Bruno Feldeisen would make a great cross-over team of judges.

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I have to admit I was pulling for Linda.  The older, experienced bakers never make it for some reason.  Sabrina's cake was gorgeous, though.  I truly liked them all and they all seemed to take it in stride.

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Like James, I was Team Vandana, but I'm fine with Sabrina winning.  They all did so well! 

I also liked Vandana's explanation about how she was using agar agar to make her mousse vegetarian - I had no idea that mousse would normally have gelatin in it.  I've been vegetarian for 20 years, and I learn things all the time.  (Not that I ever eat mousse anyway, but if it comes up, I'll know.)

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Awwww, the Great Bake Off finales always make me simultaneously so happy because I love seeing everyone's final bakes, the culmination of the entire seaon, and so sad because I know it's over and I will miss my weekly dose of these bakers and this sweet little show.

Vandana's passionfruit pistachio mousse with a cookie base was a little blah looking so I liked that she used her go-to decoration of orchids to brighten up the presentation. Her white chocolate mousse on a chocolate base with thandai syrup looked nice. I know I have said this before in reference to Rochelle and Bruno, but I loved David not hesitating to try the thandai syrup and then saying it was delicious. After eight seasons (nine if you count the first American season) of watching Paul turn his nose up at anything that outside of his comfort zone, I appreciate (and LOVE) that everyone on this show is so open to trying new flavors and not saying any new flavor is yukky. On top of that, Bruno says that her flavors inspire him! I liked that Bruno talked about his experience using agar agar powder too and said that it can be difficult.

Sabrina's strawberry mouse on a sponge base was so pretty. I loved the strawberries she put on the outside. Her blueberry and apricot mousse was not very pretty, but I like that (1) she made two different mousses and (2) she didn't use food coloring to brighten her mousses. I liked that Bruno told her how she could have avoided the problem with her sponge sticking by using sugar. I've used that trick and it works well!

Linda's cherry mousse with a brownie base sounded good. Her coconut mousse with pineapple curd sounded like a soft and smushy piña colada. Although she has been pretty strong throughout the season, after her toppling mousse cakes I knew there was no way she could win unless she did the most amazing showstopper AND the other two made huge mistakes. But I like that she knew the reason they wouldn't stand up is that she used too much mousse. It's so nice to have a knowledgeable baker who not only understands what caused the problem but also acknowledges that she made a mistake.

I've never had a pear charlotte. Hee, I cracked up when Sabrina slipped but saved herself and Dan or one of the crew could be heard yelling, "WHOA!" Linda really redeemed herself in the technical challenge. She had a perfect pear charlotte.

I loved that all three women came into the tent for the final challenge all dolled up, but as soon as they were finished filming them walking in, Vandana and Sabrina immediately put their hair up.

It was so sweet to hear the crew applauding when time was called on the final show stopper challenge. Seeing the three finalists hug while wiping away tears made me go awwwwww.

I liked the red and gold sari inspired theme of Vandana's red velvet wedding cake - so pretty.  Mmmm, cream cheese frosting. And very smart to include a technique that she learned on the show a few weeks ago.

Linda's carrot cake was pretty. She really went for it too. She made her own fondant and made six cakes instead of the required three. Hers was the most traditional looking of the three and the kind of thing that many people think of when they hear the phrase "wedding cake." The piping was simple but sophisticated and so well executed.

Sabrina's pink champagne cake with strawberry filling was so girlie. Between the pink, the flowers, the glitter strips, the lustre powder, and the piping she did, it was perfectly feminine.

Linda and Vandana both said very sweet things about Sabrina after she won. I was disappointed that they just went straight to the credits instead of giving us updates on all the bakers! I love hearing what they're all up to. I may have teared up after GBBO S8 when several of the contestants were pictured taking road trips to visit each other. I love that this sweet little show has formed friendships between the bakers. That's so much nicer than the reunion shows of other competitive reality shows where the contestants clearly loathe each other.

Edited by ElectricBoogaloo
Missing a letter in someone’s name
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Since all three finalists had a combination of successes and stumbles in the first two tests, it was clear that the showstopper would be the deciding factor. Sabrina's wedding cake was truly spectacularly elegant and inventive, something any professional baker with much more experience than her would be proud to put on display in their store window; at that point, the competition was hers to lose if the cake itself was not up to par.

Which is exactly what happened to Linda's structurally impressive and very classical construction, which fell victim to what I believe is a frequent problem with wedding cakes: too dry. Surprising for such a seasoned baker, but cooking so many cakes in one oven at the same time probably threw off the expected results as Rochelle suggested.

The amount of flowers used for decorating the cakes was impressive but that is probably appropriate with that sort of cakes. However, Vandana really went overboard by dumping this big bouquet, stems showing, on top of her decorated pâte à glacer. This was overkill even by her standards; often during the season she overdid it with the pretty little flowers and colorful decorations, as if she wanted to distract from the bake itself.

Although I would have bet on Linda after the first few episodes, I think that Sabrina proved herself over the long run and who knows what she might achieve should she choose to continue in this field.

A very satisfactory combination of judges, hosts and contestants overall for this first Canadian outing. I liked that both judges provided specific technical critiques and pointers and were open to trying out new flavours, whereas in the UK version those duties mostly fell on the shoulders of Mary Berry. 

Perhaps as the show becomes more well known in Canada the next seasons will attract even more impressive bakers.

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4 minutes ago, Florinaldo said:

A very satisfactory combination of judges, hosts and contestants overall for this first Canadian outing. I liked that both judges provided specific technical critiques and pointers and were open to trying out new flavours, whereas in the UK version those duties mostly fell on the shoulders of Mary Berry. 

I agree and I actaully liked it better than the British version.  Partly because I could not stand Paul but also I thought the bakes were somehow more "realistic" most of the time.  Except for the Montreal bagels, nothing was totally unknown to me.

And, geez, Canadians are such nice people!

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Think they should have let Timothy go instead of Tim. I'd guess that Tim just had a particularly bad weekend but has a lot of better bakes in him whereas Timothy is far more inexperienced and is likely to struggle. Can't remember names but it looks like they've got some very good bakers there. The spun sugar crown that the winner made was amazing and beautiful.

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Helpful link with contestant names/photos until we get used to them: Meet the bakers of The Great Canadian Baking Show Season 2

I also thought Timothy probably should have gone instead of Tim, but Tim really did have a bad weekend. I think I heard one of the judges say his showstopper cake was raw.

I found many of the contestants to be kind of... a lot, but I know I will be fond of them all in a couple of weeks. Devon, Megan, and Sachin are the ones I find particularly annoying right now. Megan's cake was really impressive, though.

I love Mengling, she's so cute.

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7 hours ago, oldCJ said:

When a contestant on a baking show has never heard of French meringue it does not bode well for her baking experience. 

It's funny, as I had always thought of it just as a meringue, differentiated from the Italian and Swiss meringues. It took me a moment to understand what they meant by French meringue. Then again, I'm not on a baking show, so I can get away with my ignorance.

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