The Great British Bake Off week one: did Karen rise to the challenge?

THE GREAT BRITISH BAKE OFF 2018
THE GREAT BRITISH BAKE OFF 2018

If you’ve not yet watched the first episode of The Great British Bake Off, turn back now. This article contains spoilers for the first week.

The premiere of The Great British Bake Off had an added dash of excitement last night as Wakefield-based baker Karen took to the screen.

She wasted no time in winning over the hearts of the audience, pausing in her signature bake to tell presenter Noel Fielding that she came from “Shakey Wakey.”

As if that wasn’t enough, she could be seen taking the time to snack on crisps as contestants raced to finish their bakes.

In an unusual move for GBBO, the first week of the show this year centred around biscuits, rather than the usual cakes. 
The signature challenge asked the bakers to produce a set of 24 regional biscuits with a personal twist.

Judge Paul Hollywood said the biscuits should be “something that celebrates the bakers themselves.”

THE GREAT BRITISH BAKE OFF 2018: - Baker Karen

THE GREAT BRITISH BAKE OFF 2018: - Baker Karen

Karen wasted no time in getting to work, producing 24 identical Yorkshire Perkin Biscuits, flavoured with mace, coriander and nutmeg. She took the time to hand make and decorate each of the edible white roses with which she adorned her biscuits, a step up from Leeds baker Kim-Joy, whose roses were shop bought.

Despite their uniform appearance, the biscuits were not a hit with Paul.

He said: “I don’t like the texture. It didn’t blow me away.”

For the technical challenge, the 12 bakers were asked to bake classic wagon wheel biscuits, following Paul’s own recipe.

The Great British Bake Off (2018)'Talent Specials: - Presenters: Noel fielding, Sandi Toksvig and Judges Paul Hollywood, Prue Leith with Contestants.

The Great British Bake Off (2018)'Talent Specials: - Presenters: Noel fielding, Sandi Toksvig and Judges Paul Hollywood, Prue Leith with Contestants.

Although Karen admitted she had “never made a wagon wheel” before, she was one step on from her fellow contestant, Manon, who had never even eaten one.

The contestants’ bakes were judged blind, and Karen placed sixth after judge Prue Leith declared that she was “delighted” by the bake.

London-based baker Ruby took first place in the technical bake for her biscuits’ lovely shine and consistent shape.

The final challenge, the showstopper bake, saw Karen produce a stunning, edible “selfie portrait”, with layers of rosewater and cardamom biscuits held together with flower paste and royal icing.

Her portrait represented the time she has spent at her holiday home in France and led Noel to declare that she looked “like a cross between Dame Edna and Sue Pollard.”

Once again, there was disappointment for Karen as the judges sampled her biscuit but warned that they could not taste the rosewater.

Paul said: “It’s a shame, because it looks great, but you expect a little more kick to it.”

But Karen’s consistent performance kept her safe as Imelda, 33, from County Tyrone left the tent and French baker Manon was declared the series’ first Star Baker.

A sneak-peek of next week revealed Karen kissing her bakes for good luck, and shows the contestants battling the elements as the tent begins to heat up.