Procastibaking: The art of making cupcakes instead of doing something else you should be doing.
When we were growing up, my mother loved to bake. Cookies, cake, but never pies. She was not a fancy baker, but we loved it. She had recipe cards for everything and Leslie and I look at those cards periodically. We say “we should make those bar cookies,” or “remember her apple cake?” but we never get around to finding all the tools and ingredients.
Maybe because my mother was such a good cook and baker, Leslie and I love to watch cooking shows. We started early with The Galloping Gourmet. Then came Unwrapped, Next Food Network Star, Trisha’s Southern Kitchen, Top Chef, Cupcake Wars. We tried watching Great American Food Truck Race and Hell’s Kitchen, but those were too over-the-top. Also, how did Guy Fieri become a TV star?
We had never watched The Great British Baking Show until this season that just ended on Sunday (in the U.S.). Recently, ABC renamed it The Great American Baking Show, which we watched, of course. Same show with American hosts and American contestants. Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood appeared on the American version and they are characters.
The British show is the one to watch. The British hosts are very engaging and Paul and Mary love to issue royal challenges to the contestants. Sunday’s “star baker challenge” was to prepare a picnic fit for a queen. In five hours, the three finalists had to prepare a total of 49 items to theoretically put into a picnic hamper.
Andrew is a good baker and very meticulous. He created a color-coordinated spreadsheet telling him how to spend every five-minute increment of those five hours. After the first half-hour, he was already five minutes behind. He wasn’t as creative as the other two finalists and we knew he wasn’t going to win.
Jane is a home baker and her two grown children think she’s the best mom ever. She seemed a bit disorganized and it appeared she didn’t measure a lot of her dry ingredients. What kind of a monster is she? She promised to make a white chocolate collar for her four-tier chocolate cake and, for the second time this season, the collar didn’t work out for Jane.
Candice is the star of the show. Each week, she made each challenge look easy and she always seemed to make more than what was asked for. She made a peacock out of a five-tier cake covered in multi-colors of marzipan. I would have loved to have a bite of that! One of the items to prepare for the royal picnic was sausage rolls, and she actually made hers look like little piggies with eyes, a nose and a tail! Candice went home at the end of the day with a bouquet of flowers and an engraved pie plate.
Did we learn anything watching this show? There are two kinds of marzipan. Two kinds of meringue. Making 49 items in five hours in a large tent is nearly impossible. I sure hope that there were cash prizes given, because these bakers worked their tartlets off.