We are back in the tent! Welcome to season 4 of The Great Canadian Baking Show. This season, it looks like it is Western Canada versus Ontario (and one contestant from Quebec). This season’s batch of bakers feature four from Ontario (3 from the GTA. Question: is Milton part of the GTA? I know it is not that far from Toronto but not 100% sure if it is considered part of it) and no one from the Atlantic provinces or the Territories or Saskatchewan. I can perhaps understand why the show is Ontario heavy as this was filmed as COVID-19 was impacting its production. So it was probably easier for the show to cast people in Ontario (especially the GTA) as the show films in Toronto and this reduced the amount of travel the bakers or production had to do.
Another new thing is we have two new hosts! Ann Pornel and Alan Shane Lewis who replaces Baroness Von Sketch Show’s Aurora Browne and Carolyn Taylor who in turn replaced Julia Chan and Dan Levy. I am bit sad to see Aurora’s and Carolyn’s turn as hosts only be one season. I really liked them.
Now on to this season. I did apply for season 4 but unlike season 1, I did not get an audition.
Despite that I will keep on applying until I get on this show and hopefully be like Liam from last season and Anjali from this season and finally land a spot in that tent!
If there was any good thing about COVID-19 is that I have been doing a lot of baking and stretching myself to bake things I’ve never felt comfortable doing before. Last year, I made my own rough puff pastry and tackled more bread recipes like I made brioche for the first time and made focaccia, kouign amann and English muffins.
Of course the baker I am rooting for the most is my Vancouver boy, Sheldon. Sheldon and I happen to be part of the same Facebook group called “Subtle Asian Baking”. I only found out we were in the same group when he announced his casting on the group. This Facebook group is pretty amazing and have found great recipes there along with the similar Facebook group “Subtle Asian Cooking”.
Let’s meet the Bakers:
- Sheldon, Vancouver, BC
- Tanner, Winnipeg, MB
- Raufikat, Milton, ON
- Oyaks, Calgary, AB
- Mahathi, Markham, ON
- Maggie, Toronto, ON
- Larry, Edmonton, AB
- Dominique, Quebec City, QB
- Bertie, Toronto, ON
- Anjali, Toronto, ON
The Bake: Bundt Cake – any flavour you want, made in a mould and covered in a drizzle/glaze.
The Time: 1 hour and 45 minutes
What I would bake: I made two bundt cakes in my past. The first was a peppermint chocolate cake with a icing sugar drizzle and topped with crushed candy canes. The next was Claire Saffitz’s poppy seed almond cake that had a orange glaze (but you can’t tell from the picture). I would probably to chocolate orange bundt cake but have the chocolate run in the middle of the cake as a surprise when the judges cut into it. The glaze would be a more visible orange liqueur glaze with candied blood oranges.
What the contestants baked and judges thoughts:
Of all the bundt cakes, the ones that interests me the most is Oyaks’, Dominique’s and Raufikat’s.
Sheldon: Lucky Dragon Bundt Cake with Chrysanthemum glaze and topped with a sugar work dragon. Bruno called it light and fluffy like a brioche.
Tanner: Citrus and Floral Bundt Cake with Elderflower glaze. Kyla was nervous about the grapefruit but really liked it
Anjali: Baton Rouge (a lemon cake) Bundt Cake with a Bourbon glaze topped with marzipan fruit. Kyla really liked the glaze.
Dominique: Cabane a Sucre (maple sugar cake) Bundt Cake with a maple liqueur glaze and candied walnuts. Bruno was hoping for more maple flavours considering how the cake was decorated.
Maggie: Lemon Blueberry Bundt Cake topped with Buttercream Flowers. Bruno liked the lemon flavours but wanted more.
Bertie: Memories of Cuba Bundt Cake with an Avocado glaze and topped with Candied Hazelnuts. Kyla noted that the look of cake looked rushed. Bruno was hoping for rum.
Larry: Fig and Apricot Bundt Cake with Chocolate Covered Figs. Bruno noted it was undercooked and looked messy.
Raufikat: Lime and Coconut Bundt Cake topped with Toasted Coconuts. Kyla wanted more glaze but Bruno called the lime flavour refreshing.
Oyaks: Chai Spice Bundt Cake with an Orange Liqueur glaze and Isomalt Crown. Bruno called it a tasty cake.
Mahathi: Gulab Jamun Bundt Cake with a Rosewater glaze. Bruno really liked how it was decorated.
So since we are still in a pandemic and I am working from home, I am going to try and make all the technical bakes this season and try and do it in the time that the bakers had to do it in. The only thing that will stop me is if I have to buy equipment that I am probably never going to use again or ingredients that I am never going to use again or cannot find. I will document this over at my baking blog at: gotobread.wordpress.com and on my Instagram (@gotobreadbakery).
The Bake: A Cupid Cake. Vertical Stripe Red Velvet Cake with a Swiss Meringue Buttercream icing topped with heart shaped decorations.
The Time: 2 hours
How I would have fared: I think I would do okay with this. Might have an issue with getting the vertical. I’ve tempered chocolate before so that won’t be an issue. Will I try and make this? I don’t think so as mentioned above, I would have to buy ruby melting chocolate that I may or may not use again. It looks like I might have to buy a jelly roll pan for the swiss roll and I don’t have the space in my place for it. I will probably buy more red food dye but the only reason why I wouldn’t make this is because this makes a lot of cake and I don’t think I can eat this huge cake myself.
How the bakers did:
The Bake: Cascade Mirror Glaze. Mult-tiered cake of delicious flavour of choice and must have smooth shiny mirror glaze that cascades down the cake
The Time: 3 hours and 30 minutes.
What I would bake: My mirror glaze would be a red and yellow glaze to honour the traditional colours during Lunar New Year. I would probably do a chai tea vanilla cake with a mango buttercream. However, I’ve never made a mirror glaze before. But we are still in a pandemic so there is still time for me to try my hand at it.
What the contestants baked and judges thoughts:
The cakes that intrigue me are Raufikat, Bertie, Oyaks, Dominique and Larry (for the bacon alone)
Sheldon: Georgia O’Keefe Mirror Glaze Cake with Honey Buttercream. Kyla noted the largest tier is under baked and Bruno said there wasn’t enough jelly.
Tanner: Water Lilies Mirror Glaze (pistachio cake) with chocolate ganache. Bruno said the top layer is perfect but his banana cake is gummy and watery.
Anjali: Social Movement Mirror Glaze Cakte (chocolate spice cake) with Black Pepper Buttercream. Kyla said adding the peppercorn to the ginger cake makes it a wow.
Larry: The Dog Ate my Cake with bacon and peanut butter. Bruno said the shine was amazing. They all like the flavour combinations.
Dominique: Pink Dream Mirror Glaze Cake (red velvet cake with vanilla buttercream). Bruno called the cake tasty but the look too simplistic.
Maggie: Up and Away Mirror Glaze Cake (salted caramel, lemon, and strawberry cakes). Kyla is impressed with her piping. Bruno liked the tang of the lemon curd.
Bertie: Hello Broadway Mirror Glaze (champagne and strawberry mousse cake). Kyla notes that it was not the cake that Bertie wanted. Bruno called the cake rich with good crumble.
Raufikat: Chocolate and Hazelnut Mirror Glaze. Kyla calls it understated elegance and says it tastes as it looks. Bruno calls the chocolate filling tasty.
Oyaks: Pina Colada Cake with Pineapple-Rum Compote. Bruno says the cakes were baked properly. Kyla said the cake was a close to sipping a pina colada.
Mahathi: Chasing Waterfalls Mirror Cake (champagne cake with passionfruit). Both admired the shine of the mirror glaze. Bruno like the tang of the passionfruit.
Up for Star Baker: Raufikat and Oyaks
In danger of going home: No one is mentioned but says that nerves have gotten the better of some of the bakers.
Star Baker: Oyaks
Going Home: Bertie
Quick Thoughts: I have to say that it is so good to have this show back on my TV. We need shows like this to help us get through this pandemic. I re-watched season 1-3 on Netflix multiples times to get my fix of this show and even watching really old episodes of The Great British Baking Show that are airing now on my local PBS station.
Quick thoughts on the season 4 premiere. Can you really say that you assembled the best amateur bakers across the country when you stopped at Quebec and included no one from the Atlantic provinces, Saskatchewan or the Territories?
That being said. I am thinking that Oyaks and Raufikat will be in the final. They have great flavours and are creative in their bakes. Not sure who would be the third one joining them would be. Hard to tell right now.
As for our two new hosts. I am really digging Ann Pornel. She is funny and there for the bakers that need some comfort. Been a fan of Ann’s since hearing her as a panelist on CBC’s Because News. I am also like Alan Shane Lewis but want to see him interact a little more with the bakers. I do like that the both share the narration duties.
Next week is bread week and looks like the technical is making pretzels so I will definitely be trying my hand at that.