The Great British Bake Off is one of the most popular shows on British television, which is quite a feat considering that Bake Off is famously twee and prefers technical bakes and soggy bottoms to wine tosses and screams of “Rickayyyyy” (yes Eastenders, we’re looking at you).
The Great British Bake Off debuted on the BBC in the summer of 2010 and went on to achieve huge success, as well as resulting in renewed fame for the original line-up of judges and presenters, namely Mary Berry, Paul Hollywood, Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc. At one point during the 2014 series, contestant Diana made the decision to remove her fellow baker Iain’s Baked Alaska from a freezer prematurely, causing it to melt and resulting in Iain throwing his creation in the bin. The moment secured GBBO’s place in British television history, sparking a huge national debate which saw the scandal grace the front page of several national newspapers and someone change Diana’s Wikipedia page to label her an ‘ice cream melting supervillain’ (bit harsh).
In 2017, the BBC made the shocking announcement that Great British Bake Off would be leaving the channel and finding a new home on Channel 4. The move also saw judge Mary Berry, plus hosts Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc quit the show, although judge Paul Hollywood stayed. The revamped series now airs on Channel 4 towards the end of each year and has since been warmly received by most critics and viewers, proving that Bake Off hadn’t lost its magic.
Now, The Great British Bake Off is back for its 14th series, with a new line-up of contestants and a brand new host. To give you the full lowdown on everything you need to know about this year’s series, we’ve rounded up details on everything from the contestants and judges all the way through to what you can expect from the final. Read below to get all the answers you’ve been looking for - happy baking!
When is the release date for Great British Bake Off 2023?
The official start date for series 14 of The Great British Bake Off 2023 was Tuesday 26th September at 8pm on Channel 4.
What happened last week in Great British Bake Off?
On week nine contestants were focusing on all things patisserie.
The episode kicked off with contestants making financiers, which have to consist of a light and moist sponge. There were a variety of flavours used including Dan’s matcha and pistachio versions, and Josh’s chocolate, orange and hazelnut ones. The judges were sceptical of Dan’s creations but it actually resulted in Dan getting a handshake, whilst Matty ended up with overbaked sponge and Tasha was piping on curdled buttercream but was still praised for her spot on flavours.
For the technical challenge, the bakers were tasked with making a tarte aux pommes, with a Calvados frangipane. Prue described this as a dish that was bound to be delicious, so the focus was on presentation. Neat tart cases that are well baked, an even layer of frangipane, and immaculately sliced apples laid out on top (ideally in the shape of a rose). Tasha came fourth with a cracked case and messy top layer, followed by Dan who didn’t manage to pull off great presentation on the apple layer, then Matty came in second and finally Josh took first place.
The showstopper was a millefoglie, with puff pastry made from scratch and layers of creme patisserie. Josh, Dan and Matty all used the traditional method for making their pastry, whilst Tasha took a risk and made inverted puff pastry - where the butter is put on the outside when rolling and folding. Josh’s showstopper is described as a ‘thing of beauty’, and while Paul thinks it’s SLIGHTLY overbaked, Prue disagrees. Dan’s guitar shaped millefoglie looks great, tastes nice but has a rubbery mirror glaze, whilst Tasha’s has great layers but the mango curd has a grainy texture. Finally Matt’s pastry needed more baking and he’d squished the outside when cutting which hid the layers.
Josh finished the episode winning starbaker, whilst Tasha unfortunately got sent home (ON her birthday…)
Week eight was party week, where bakers were celebrating some British classics.
For the signature challenge, contestants were tasked with producing 12 sausage rolls, a staple for any party, using a pastry and filling of their choice, as long as it’s shaped into a sausage and wrapped in pastry before baking. There were creations like ‘dumplings in disguise’ from Dan with pork and prawn fillings and a soy dip, as well as Josh’s festive rolls with pork turkey chestnut sprouts and apricots. Mixed reviews all round, with most bakers underbaking, but Matty got the best comments with good lamination, bake, flavour and even got landed himself a Hollywood handshake
For the technical round, Paul’s words of advice were ‘you’ll all know this for sure, it's a very famous bake. Read carefully and enjoy’ - of course it’s the chocolate caterpillar cake. It had to be recreated with chocolate swiss roll sponge, filled with choc meringue buttercream and finally coated in silky smooth ganache. In this round Dan came in 5th, followed by Josh, Matty, Cristy, and finally Tasha in first place.
The showstopper challenge was an ‘anything but beige’ buffet - with Paul and Prue looking for a colourful and highly decorative display of a mix of sweet and savoury party bakes, in in four and a half hours. Dan did prehistoric theme with lots of dinosaur related bakes, Cristy was inspired by Willy Wonka, Tasha did a farm theme, Josh went down the Christmas route (as he had done all episode), whilst Matty opted for a sports theme. The feedback for each varied, but Josh’s showstopper was described as faultless with great flavours.
This week Cristy was sent home and Matty won star baker.
Week seven saw desserts take centre stage, with the signature round requiring eight ‘exquisite’ creme caramels, consisting of perfectly set custard and caramel sauce in two hours 45 mins. Bakers are able to use whatever flavours they’d like, but must find the perfect balance whilst still allowing the caramel to come through. Flavours used included rosemary, lemongrass and chai. It was a mixed bag of feedback, including Christy overbaking hers which affected the texture, and Matty on the other end of the scale being complimented on his flavours.
For the technical challenge, Paul set the task of making six orange and ginger treacle puddings, offering advice that includes ‘3 very distinctive textures, which all have to be spot on to get a good result’. The judges are looking for something soft and light, served with smooth creme anglaise and a ginger and orange syrup. It’s a tight one for time, so the bakers really had to push against the clock to get the sponges completed. This resulted in most bakers serving up underbaked puddles of cake batter, with Tasha producing the only edible plate of food of the challenge, which resulted in her coming in first place, and Matty coming in last.
For the showstopper, the bakers had to make a sharing size dessert encased in a meringue bombe, with 4 hours to make it. Matty went for a pistachio, strawberry and basil flavoured centrepiece, with Josh going for a tennis theme with strawberry and cream theme flavours.
At the end of the episode, Saku was sent home, and Dan won star baker.
It was a Bake Off first in the tent for episode six, with Botanicals week taking over - this means using ingredients that come from flowers, including spices, herbs, and any ‘floral hints’ as Paul Hollywood said.
The first challenge was for the bakers to create six spiced buns using flavours of their choice in 45 minutes - the key was to make the buns absolutely identical whilst finding the perfect balance between a good hit of flavour without overpowering. All the bakers made an enriched bread dough, which adds something for both the taste and overall look, bringing a change of colour to the final bake. We saw cardamom Swedish buns and a take on a class - the hot cross bun. Tasha got the judging off to a strong start with her mulled wine ‘yuletide’ buns, whilst others were pulled up on their flavours and uniformity (mainly Dana and Saku).
The technical this week was a lemon & thyme drizzle cake, which consisted of a light moist sponge soaked with a lemon and thyme syrup, and a sprinkling of crystallised lemon and thyme (in a bundt cake to make it that extra bit interesting!). This ones about making sure the bakers put enough thyme in the sponge, and grease the tin properly so it doesn’t stick. The blind judging saw Christy come out on top, and Tasha lagging behind for both the cake sticking to the tin and ‘clumsy icing’.
For the showstopper, bakers had to create dessert, which could be any style that they wanted but it must include a significant baked element, and must celebrate florals through the flavours and design. There were flavours like meadowsweet, elderflower and hibiscus, through various techniques such as jellies, custards, and sponges.
Josh won star baker for the first time this season, and the ever-smiley Dana went home.
For the signature, contestants were asked to create 12 individual savoury picnic pies made from hot water crust pastry that had to be attractive and tempting to eat. Everyone opted for different flavours, including Dana who made a pie filled with dauphinoise and caramelised onion, whilst Matty opted for a slightly lighter spanakopita for which both were praised for their flavours. A few bakers struggled with over filling their pies, soggy bottoms and under or overcooked pastry but overall Christy gets the best comments and even a famous Paul Hollywood handshake.
Paul Hollywood set the challenge for the technical - and it may sound familiar to some (Dana we’re looking at you). The bakers were tasked with making a dauphinoise and caramelised onion pithivier with a blue cheese sauce on the side, made with rough puff pastry. Dan suffered an injury from grating his finger, so had to restart his pastry after getting blood in his first attempt, meaning he was up against the clock. However, this didn’t hold him back as he took the top spot after the judging, with Nicky unfortunately coming last.
For the showstopper, the contestants had to create a stunning display of decorative sweet pies, with at least three ornate pies made from a rich, sweet, pastry case, and a minimum of at least two different flavours. Saku takes the biggest risk of them all by making her pastry with cream cheese instead of butter.
At the end of the episode, Christy was announced star baker, and the TWO to leave the tent this week were Nicky and Rowan.
Week 4 was chocolate week in Great British Bake Off, and in what it seems has become an annual tradition, it fell on the hottest day of the year.
The signature saw bakers making a chocolate cake without using wheat flour, allowing the bakers to get creative choosing between either no flour at all, or swapping it out for various nut flours. Saku made a ‘Sakutorte’, whilst Nicky opted for one with a chocolate almond top. Rowan came out on top in this round with his cake being deemed beautiful by Paul, whilst Tasha was told her torte needed a better finish and was overwhelmed by the flavour of the amaretto.
For the technical challenge, the contestants were tasked with making a set of baked cheesecakes using white chocolate that they had to caramelise - a challenge in itself. However part way through the challenge, Tasha began to feel dizzy and stepped outside the tent, only to then leave completely - a Bake Off first (heading home part way through a challenge). Saku comes in last this week, with Dan taking top spot (and Matty a close second).
Tasha is still too unwell for the showstopper, despite it being filmed on a separate day, but the rest of the bakers continue to make an edible chocolate box. Many of them struggle with this round, with Dan having to pitch in on Saku’s bake as she’s so behind, and Rowan branding it ‘the worst thing he’s ever baked’. Overall Dan and Matty had a good round, whilst Rowan and Josh struggled a little more.
The end of chocolate week resulted in Matty being crowned star baker, but due to Tasha not completing the week, no one was sent home. However, it will be a double elimination next week.
It was dreaded bread week for week 3 of Bake Off, which saw dough being flavoured, filled with cream and jam, and even plaited into imaginative shapes.
The signature was a Paul Hollywood favourite, a cottage loaf, which required bakers to make a flavoured loaf, with contestants opting for anything from chipotle and smoked cheddar to sun dried tomato with olives and parmesan. Tasha came out on top for her rosemary and garlic loaf, whilst Abbi's lack of salt caused her cottage loaf to lose its shape and earn the name 'flat Janice'.
The technical challenge introduced the bakers to a sweet treat they'd never heard of: a Devonshire split. This is an enriched dough that's cut down the middle, then filled with jam and an ultra neat helping of cream. Paul's advice for the bakers was 'timing is everything' - as useful as ever. As the task went on, the bakers struggled with timing, with Tasha forgetting her icing and Dan realising he'd not included caster sugar in his bake. Overall, every baker was told that their split was underproved, but Dan came out 10th, whilst Saku took first place.
The showstopper called for the bakers to show off their plaiting skills, as they were tasked with creating 'a visually stunning bread plaited bun centrepiece'. The contestants were ambitious, with Rowan making a standing tree, Saku baking a peacock, and Nicky going for a Highland cow called Angus. Feedback was mixed, Josh's tiger (called Paul, no less) was described as 'amazing', and Tasha's Medusa rendered Paul speechless, with Prue calling Tasha 'one hell of a bread baker', and Paul saying 'you understand bread, and I like that'. Unfortunately for others, they produced slightly less impressive showstoppers, with Dan, Abbi and Rowan all in a worrying position at the end of the episode.
After another impressive week from Tasha, it came as no surprise that she won the star baker crown for a second week in a row. Unfortunately for Abbi, it was time to hang up her apron as she was sent home.
In true Great British Bake Off style, the second week in the tent saw the 11 bakers tackle Biscuit Week, which challenged the contestants' techniques and creativity.
For the signature, Paul and Prue set a challenge of creating a marshmallow biscuit, with the freedom to make it any size and style the bakers wished. In the challenge there were triumphs, including Tasha receiving her first handshake (also the first of the series), and less successful outcomes, such as Keith's delicious but messy, take on the task.
The technical challenge involved a much loved biscuit being recreated this week, with the bakers attempting to replicate the custard cream. Luckily for Abbi, she admitted to having coincidentally checked the recipe of custard creams the night before - which could well be the reason she came out on top of the challenge, with Prue labelling her biscuits 'better than a commercial custard cream'. However not everyone received such rave reviews, with most being told their biscuits were either underbaked or didn't have enough definition, whilst Keith was told his were 'like rubber'. It's been a rough day for Keith.
For week 2 showstoppers, the contestants had to create an illusion display made entirely out of biscuits, with Paul advising, “we want the biscuits to look good, taste good, but taste like something else.” We saw everything from a charcuterie board to a deep dish pizza, but Josh's burger and chips was notably a cut above the rest - and even resulted in Paul walking over to Josh's bench to give out his second handshake of the episode.
Star baker was a toss up between Tasha and Josh this week, but was ultimately awarded to Tasha for her consistently impressive bakes throughout the episode, whilst unfortunately Keith was sent home following some particularly messy biscuit displays.
Series 14 kicked off with Cake Week in the Great British Bake Off tent, with 12 brand-new contestants baking their hearts out in three tense challenges.
For the signature, Prue and Paul asked the bakers to create a vertical layer cake, with even layers of sponge and buttercream, while the technical challenge saw the judges ask the contestants to make the iconic chocolate fudge cake from the opening titles. Everyone performed pretty well in this round, with Dan taking first position and Amos coming in second.
Finally, the showstopper challenge was to create a cake that looks like an animal. From 'Norman the beaver' to 'Herbert the Herdwick Sheep', there were lots of creative feats. Unfortunately, Amos' cake completely collapsed, with Prue describing it as 'not your best'.
So, who was named star baker? Dan took the crown this week, while Amos sadly was asked to leave the tent.
Who are the Great British Bake Off contestants 2023?
Find out the 12 lucky contestants who will be baking for the classic Great British Bake Off apron this year.
Born in Yorkshire, Abbi is a veg grower and delivery driver who learned to bake from her mum. She’s particularly interested in traditional bakes, specifically from the Victorian era, such as fruit cakes, puddings and more. Taking inspiration from the English countryside, Abbi forages and grows many of the ingredients she uses in her bakes. Commenting on her personal style: ‘I am very creative and love making actual real-life places and scenes out of cake, but I would struggle with making something very neat and chic.’
Amos is a deli and grocery manager from North London who also learned to bake from his mother. He originally grew up in Nottingham with his mum and sister, but now lives in a converted church which he describes as similar to his baking style: ‘traditional with a modern twist’. Amos likes colourful creations and focusing on the finer details.
Cristy is a mum and PA from East London, who draws inspiration from her Israeli heritage, and her husband’s Jamaican roots, in her baking. She describes her style as enchanted and pretty, and enjoys getting creative with decoration. Cristy can also solve a Rubik’s cube in under four minutes!
Civil engineering resource planner Dan fell in love with baking when he went travelling around South America in 2007. After a short stint living with the in-laws before he and his wife bought their first home, Dan discovered the art of pastry making from his mother-in-law. He’s particularly interested in pies and puddings and loves a challenge. You’ll often find him rifling through his 300-strong collection of cookbooks! Outside of baking, Dan enjoys playing footie with his two sons, working out in the gym, or foraging outdoors in the countryside.
Dana started baking nine years ago at the age of 16, catching the bus to her dad’s house to experiment with new ideas (and to avoid overtaking her mum’s kitchen!). Now, she practices in her own home in Essex, rustling up celebration cakes and the like for family and friends. Her style is rustic and homely, and although classic flavours are her forte, she enjoys incorporating familiar Indian spices as a nod to her heritage.
Josh is a post-doctoral research associate and applies scientific precision and experimental techniques to his baking. He loves to rifle through old baking books, bringing traditional classics up to date with unexpected flavours and seasonal twists. Josh enjoys playing rugby in his spare time, and once a month treats his teammates to some tasty bakes. One day, he dreams of opening his own artisan bakery.
Keith has a penchant for apple pies and fairy cakes, which he learned to make from his mum, along with traditional dishes inspired by his mother’s home in Malta. He lives in Hampshire with his partner and their poodle, Maisie, just a few steps from the sea. His passion for baking has grown over the years, to the point where he now attempts bakes that were once ‘beyond’ him, from freshly baked bread to more complex recipes.
When he’s not teaching at a school in Cambridge, Matty spends his time swotting up on online patisserie videos before bed. His ultimate aim is to match the impressiveness of the very first bake that captured his imagination: a teddy bear cake baked by his nan. Although he’s now the family’s dedicated baker, and is constantly taking requests, Matty’s next challenge is to create his own wedding cake for fiancee Lara.
Nicky describes her baking style as a ‘pair of comfy old slippers’, taking inspiration from memories of baking with her gran as a child. Pastries are Nicky's forte, but she also enjoys making bread and birthday cakes for her niece and grandchildren. Outside the kitchen, you can find Nicky volunteering for a pet therapy charity, and skiing.
English Literature student Rowan applies a ‘go big or go home’ mantra to his baking, once creating a three-tier, 12-layer extravaganza for his 21st birthday. His earliest memories of baking are scones, pork pies, shortbread and jam tarts, and has an eye for neat style and decoration. Rowan’s skills aren’t confined to baking though, and you’ll often find him mixing up cocktails for his friends.
Sri Lankan-born Saku loves to experiment with the flavours of her heritage, in particular curry spices for delicious pie fillings such as cinnamon, cardamom and nutmeg. She began baking when she moved to the UK in 2003, rustling up treats for her children’s lunchboxes inspired by the snacks she saw in the supermarket.
Tasha's first baking memory is licking the icing off the tops of fairy cakes which she made with her mum and grandma. She became more serious about baking at school, when her Food Technology teacher encouraged her to pursue her skills as a hobby. Tasha uses baking as a form of self-expression and loves attempting challenging recipes. When she’s not setting herself a major task, you can find her catching a West End show, or travelling around the world.
What are the three challenges in The Great British Bake Off?
Each episode of The Great British Bake Off follows the same format, with bakers asked to complete three challenges in every episode. At the end of the day, one contestant is crowned that week’s Star Baker and one contestant is sent home. Although the format remains the same throughout the series, each episode is focused around a different theme, such as ‘bread week’ or ‘biscuit week’.
The Signature Bake
Every week, the first task the bakers undertake is the Signature Bake. For this challenge, the contestants have to create a classic baked treat, giving it a rustic and home-made feel. In the last series, signature bakes included mini rolls, brandy snaps and focaccia.
The second challenge the bakers face is the Technical. Here, bakers are tasked with recreating a classic bake using a limited recipe. Each baker is given the same recipe sheet and instructions, but key elements have been intentionally left out and its up to the bakers to fill in the gaps.
The final challenge the bakers face each week is the Showstopper. This is the chance for contestants to really show off their skills, by creating something that is dramatic and elaborate. Of course, in order to win the coveted Star Baker accolade, the bakes need to taste just as good as they look.
When is The Great British Bake Off final?
The official date for The Great British Bake Off final has yet to be announced by Channel 4, but it is likely to air at the end of November, as this is when the 2022 final aired.
How does The Great British Bake Off final work?
The final round of The Great British Bake Off sees three remaining contestants battle it out to take the Bake Off crown. The format of the final isn’t dissimilar to the rest of the series, with the three remaining bakers still undergoing a signature, technical and showstopper challenge.
The specific tasks for the 2023 final have yet to be revealed, but you can expect a series of challenges that will push the bakers to their limits.
Who's the favourite to win The Great British Bake Off 2023?
We'll know more about the potential The Great British Bake Off 2023 winner once the competition has begun.
Where can I watch The Great British Bake Off 2023 on?
GBBO originally aired on the BBC, but was controversially sold to a new channel in 2016. The 2023 series will be the seventh one to air on Bake Off’s new home, Channel 4.
Who are the Great British Bake Off judges?
Leaving the BBC and moving to Channel 4 meant a bit of reshuffling for the Bake Off judges. The panel controversially lost fan favourite Mary Berry while retaining original judge Paul Hollywood who was joined by TV chef and restauranteur Prue Leith.
Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith have been judging the show for five years together now and the pair are set to return for a seventh season.
Who are the Great British Bake Off hosts?
The Great British Bake Off 2023 ushers in a brand new host for its 14th series. While Noel Fielding will return for his sixth year on the show, Matt Lucas has been replaced by This Morning star Alison Hammond.
Watch the trailer for Great British Bake Off 2023
Who won Great British Bake Off 2022?
The winner of The Great British Bake Off 2022 was 32-year-old Syabira. Alongside finalists Abdul and Sandro, the trio were tasked with making a seasonal summer picnic, a summer pudding bombe, and an edible sculpture along the theme of Our Beautiful Planet.
How do you get on Great British Bake Off?
If you find yourself lusting after the glory of the Great British Bake Off apron, maybe you should give it a go yourself. Be aware that the application process is a long one- if you fulfil all the entry crtiteria (over 16, not a professional baker, free during all of the filming process), you can start by filling out an online application form, before moving on to a phone interview, a face-to-face interview, screen test and finally a real life technical challenge. Good luck!
Prefer buying your sweet treats to making them yourself? Check out the best bakeries in London.