Monz recaps The Great Australian Bake Off episode 1: Rule Brittania.

Oh my God.

Close the lounge room door. Let the top button out on your jeans so your muffin top can hang freely. Pour yourself a cup of tea and get ready to fight intense dessert cravings. Because The Great Australian Bake Off is back and it’s enough to turn even Michelle Bridges away from the treadmill and towards the tiramisu.

The Aussie version of the blockbuster British show is HERE, guys. And it’s got new hosts and new judges and cakes and cream and ALL thing things that make you go hmmmmm.

Creaming myself.

The hosts are Claire Hooper and Mel Buttle, the former of which is so delightful I would like very much for her to win, despite having not baked a single thing. She deftly handles the scripted puns like “who will rise to the top?”, and the rest of the time looks genuinely so fricking excited to be in a room full of cakes that you can’t help but want her to be your best friend.


OH, and the contestants.  The first girl we meet has a thick British accent.  Are the producers hoping to trick everyone into thinking it’s the British Bake Off so 9 million people will watch? Do we need to be EASED into this Australian version? Are they hoping by starting with the British one we will barely notice the other 11 Aussie ones?

There’s a strange guy who bakes with a headscarf on and a parrot on his shoulder (hygiene be damned). There’s an experimental cool chick who looks like she’d put vegan bacon in a chocolate mousse. There’s a CWA lady with great 80s hair and transitions lenses.  And then there’s Pete the doctor. “I cut my baking paper like it’s a surgical incision,” he says proudly. Except he’s not wearing gloves or scrubs so I make a mental note to not have him perform surgery on me.


The judges, Matt Moran and Maggie Beer, who, if they ever got married would be BeerMat, tell us that the bakers need to bake their signature cake.

I’m thinking chocolate cakes, banana cakes, sponges.  I’m thinking a carrot cake with an inch of cream cheese icing, a fork, my bed and about five minutes alone time.

Alas, bakers are trying to impress.  Hence we are subjected to “creativity.”

Like cake with a parsnip in it.


Buddy. No.

Candied vegetables? Parsnip? You’re not trying to trick fussy toddlers into cramming more vegetables into their day. You’re just trying to make a cake.

The bakers are given TWO HOURS to bake, cool and ice an entire cake from scratch. Which is impressive given most humans would struggle to get to Woolies and back with a pre-made mud cake by then. But then, these guys are PRO’s, so they will nail it.

Right? Right?



It’s cake wreck central.

The bakers of these abominations manage to remain fairly calm even though I’m certain they are crumbling with cake shame on the inside. I can’t help feeling for them because they are undoubtedly great bakers who have had a bad day with a new oven in an unfamiliar environment……BUT…….


At the same time, this is a victory for every human who has ever stayed up all night sobbing over wine and scrubbing the yellow food coloring stains off their hands from trying to make the frickin’ chip duck from the Women’s Weekly Children’s Birthday Cake Book:

#chipduck cements it’s place in history as the actual worst.

A photo posted by moniquebowley (@moniquebowley) on


I’m not sure whether BeerMat have been briefed on the ‘amateur’ level of these bakers, because when the CWA lady is making her chocolate icing (probably using the veggie peeler to shave some curls from the ultra frugal home brand cooking chocolate), Beermat asks her if she’s tempered her chocolate. Her response?


And then the experimental chick told them she was making a pinata cake, with lollies and chocolate on the inside that will tumble out of the cake upon cutting. Beermat ask her whether she’s considered HAND MAKING her chocolate and lollies. You know, in the two hours she has to bake, cool and decorate cake.

If looks could kill…


The bakers are given a challenge: a Maggie Beer recipe, which is bad enough. Any normal person would run screaming in fear of the verjuice and the chervil and god-knows what else, but what’s WORSE, is that this cake not only has ingredients that no one has ever heard but CRUCIAL  parts of the recipe instructions are missing.


Everyone survives, they are judged from best to worst. And they all look fine except for Doctor Pete’s, whose slides around on the plate half melted, and I quietly remind myself not to book in for knee surgery with him.



The bakers have to make a cake that will STOP THE SHOW. Only it won’t, because we need the show to go for another 9 episodes.

The showstopper cake must have a hidden message inside. Like maybe a note to Maggie Beer asking what verjuice is.

Cut to the British one. For a minute I think: she should probably DIVERT attention away from the fact that she’s British, because part from Jamie and his 30 minute meals, England isn’t exactly known for it’s brilliant food.

But then she makes an OFF THE CHARTS cake that when you cut into it, looks like the British flag and I can’t even imagine how she did that and with what wizardry AND JUST TAKE A LOOK AT THIS WHAT THE HELL:


But does it fulfil the showstopper guidelines of having a hidden message? The OBVIOUS message in this cake is “I’ve got skillz yo” but what is the hidden message?

Is it that Australia is still part of the British monarchy? Is it that England still rules us? Are you trying to tell us you’re the boss of us? Or that Australia, compared to England, is a ‘piece of cake’ in the cricket? WHAT IS THE HIDDEN MESSAGE?

The judges are impressed and very diplomatic in their tasting, not even mentioning how much blue food coloring went into it.

Tragically, there’s not a single cake from the pinnacle of cake books: the AWW Children’s Birthday Cake Book. C’mon guys! Nothing stops the show quite like jelly in a butter cake, and spearmint leaves atop a tower of ROLOs:

My Pool Cake. AKA: Greatest Cake On Earth.

There’s plenty of lovely other cakes, however, it’s Dr Pete for whom my heart does beat.

He’s making a cake that has a hidden Red Cross in it. Cos. you know, DOCTOR.


Except things start to unravel. And at one point BeerMat mentions to him about being a surgeon and he admits, “I’m just a G.P.”



Not even a defib could bring this cake back. And he shrugs and admits his time management is bad. And finally we understand why doctors appointments take so long to get into. It’s just all the Dr Pete’s of the world with their shitty time management and doddering ways that keep us waiting. NEVER CHANGE PETE.

And then it’s over, and don’t want any of the contestants to go. No one that partakes in the gentle art of baking deserves to be cruelly cut from the hearth.

But there are no second chances on GABO. Triage is done and we say goodbye to Dr Pete. It was a crazy first bake, but now the ovens are broken in. Much like the arse groove in my couch.

This show, guys, is going to be sweet.

What’s your most impressive baking experience?