Our favourite shows can transport us back in time or whisk us off to a far away land; they can thrill us, scare us, and make us laugh. They can also give us such strong food cravings that we immediately consume every gram of sugar hiding in the kitchen cupboards (and bedroom drawers if you’re harbouring a secret stash).
That’s right – I’m talking about baking shows!
They’ve made a serious come back in the last few years, especially baking competitions, with hundreds, if not thousands of aspiring bakers battling it out for a variety of prizes and titles. But it’s not just the snacking they inspire; TV shows like the ones below have encouraged bakers around the world (including me) to pick up a whisk or wooden spoon, get out of our comfort zones and create something new.
Here are four baking shows I recommend you binge-watch immediately…
1. The Great British Bake Off
It had to be number one – no doubt about it. I love GBBO! This year marks the show’s 10-year anniversary and even after a decade, it’s still fantastic.
For those who haven’t seen it (and should start binge-watching it straight away), the Great British Bake off tests a group of amateur bakers over several weeks with a series of challenges. Each week has a theme, e.g. bread week, cake week, biscuit week, etc, with one contestant eliminated and one crowned ‘Star Baker’.
It is such an iconic show – Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith are great judges (and let’s not forget about Mary Berry, pre-Channel Four), the contestants are always quirky and lovely, and the whole show celebrates a love of baking.
2. Sugar Rush
I actually started watching the Christmas edition of Sugar Rush before the main show, but it’s another addictive baking show that leaves me drooling.
In each episode, four teams of two professional bakers compete against each other across three timed rounds (cupcakes, confections and cakes) to win a whopping $10,000. They have to be as creative as possible with all their bakes, which are judged by professional chefs Candace Nelson and Adriano Zumbo, as well as a guest judge each episode.
What I love about this show is how quickly all the bakers are able to come up with amazing flavour combinations and different ideas. There is a theme to each episode, such as ‘All Things Chocolate’ or ‘Trending Treats’, so each pair has to work together to come up with something totally unique to fit that theme.
3. Nailed It!
Have you ever tried to recreate an amazing looking cake you saw online, but failed in the most spectacular way? That’s essentially what Nailed It is all about – and it’s hilarious.
The show takes three amateur bakers and pits them against each other for another massive $10,000 prize. Each episode features two challenges – ‘Baker’s Choice’ and ‘Nail It or Fail It’ – where they have to bake against the clock. The winner of the first challenge gets to wear a golden chef’s hat, and in the second round a panic button is introduced, which allows the bakers to get three minutes of assistance from one of the judges. The judges pick the winning creation based on presentation and taste.
It’s such a funny show, but you’ve got to give those bakers a pat on the back – some of those cakes are actually really complicated!
4. Zumbo’s Just Desserts
The set of this show is what I imagine Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory to look like….and I basically want to live there. Anyone else?
If you haven’t watched it yet, the show is hosted by Sugar Rush judge Adriano Zumbo and puts ten Australian dessert makers to the test with a series of challenges. During the first stage – aka ‘Sweet Sensations’ – the contestants have three hours to create a stunning dessert following a specific theme, which changes per episode. Their creations are then judged by both Zumbo and fellow judge Rachel Khoo, who decide which baker is awarded ‘Dessert of the Day’ and which two bakers will battle it out in the elimination round (the Zumbo Test). One baker is eliminated per episode 8until the ultimate champion claims the crown (and a grand prize of $100,000 – erm…yes please).
The skill that these bakers have is inspiring – even more so when you consider they are creating intricate desserts under a huge amount of pressure. Serious kudos.
What’s your favourite baking show? Let me know in the comments!