Welcome to the Eater round-up of Great British Bake Off 2022, as Paul Hollywood, Prue Leith, Matt Lucas, and Noel Fielding return to Channel 4 with the 13th series of cakes, puddings, breads, and inevitable recourse to terrible baking puns. It’s no longer filmed in a bio-secure coronavirus bubble, but Paul Hollywood’s terrible handshake is here, sweaty as ever, and the tent stands on.
Great British Bake Off 2022 Episode 6 was Halloween Week. Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith judged an apple cake signature, a s’mores technical, and a piñata showstopper.
Let’s get this out of the way: Noel Fielding crushes the episode
The spookiest man on British television is in his element from start to finish. If only Helena were here.
How does Paul like them apples? Spicy, for once in his life
It isn’t just this year’s Mexican Week. Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith’s palates are famously averse to anything resembling flavour that doesn’t come from sugar or alcohol, and this monochromatic judging has accelerated GBBO’s tumble into mediocrity. So it was something of a surprise to see Hollywood not just enjoy, but award Syabira’s apple, sour plum, and chilli cake with a handshake. Is the sourdough whitewalker finally developing the taste to match his hair, and growing up?
No, there’s some chilli in Sandro’s showstopper and he nearly expires. Oh well.
No s’more of this nonsense
No Graham crackers ... The disrespect! Asking for s’mores to be neat ... The ridiculousness! Flashing back to being forced to cook naan over an open fire but only having a blowtorch to finish off the marshmallow on a week already themed to the gills ... Scary hours. There is something fundamentally contrary to making s’mores, a snack concocted for ease of procurement; maximum sugar; and sticky camaraderie around a fire, a technical challenge, so this recap declares Abdul the winner for his absolute mess.
For the second week in a row, the showstopper got the balance right ... Just about
The upshot of the showstopper round in a themed week is simple: Things get ridiculous very quickly. One complaint, that asking the bakers to make the treats concealed inside their piñatas twice felt excessive, but otherwise the mixture of excellence (Syabira, Sandro) and utter horror (Dawn, Kevin) was just right for a spooky finale. Why it aired this week, and not next, is anyone’s guess.
Star baker: Syabira
Going home: Dawn
Running theme: [scary noises]