The Great Australian Bake Off – Episode 1 – Behind The Scenes…..

Monica Cavallaro – Showstopper – Ombre Challenge

Monica Cavallaro – Showstopper – Ombre Challenge

First episode saw a little craziness in the shed as we were 12 deer’s caught in on coming headlights, getting to know new equipment, new ingredients, new people and how to interact with camera’s and crew – it was truly over whelming…..

We did 50 million takes on walk ups (walking up to the shed), we were shivering (it was soooo cold and we couldn’t wear our coats etc), met the crew (who were all awesome), met the hosts (omg, love those ladies, the show truly doesn’t show how funny and naturally talented Claire and Mel are) and the judges themselves – the gorgeous and sweet as cookie dough, Maggie Beer and the stud muffin himself Matt Moran.

I was so nervous I was shaking like a leaf – even chatting with the judges when they came around for a walk, I couldn’t look them in the eye (watching the footage I feel like I look arrogant with no eye contact but it was seriously HUGE nerves….. ) I kept looking down and trying to focus on the task at hand as much as possible.

After a quick walk around the shed, a quick debrief on how to work the equipment (was I paying attention? No! Sorry Abe!) it was… ready… steady.. BAKE!!!

Hell, I couldn’t even figure out how to turn the flipping Kenwood on!!!

Cake week!!

My favorite subject of all – so I really felt the pressure because if I failed on cake week… I felt I really shouldn’t be in that shed….

So what did the camera’s not show? What did you miss?

I set an oven mitt on fire in the first 20 minutes of the lamington bake….

I forgot a major ingredient in my sponge as I was too busy yapping with the production manager and put it into the oven before realising… thankfully I had enough time to knock up a second batch as the first was flat as a pancake! I was a sneaky and didn’t tell anyone about it and it wasn’t until Matt walked around and pointed out my flat sponge, asking “Is that your sponge?” And I replied, it was a fail and a new one was in the oven did anyone realise. The other bakers were shocked I was able to still finish on time – and frankly so was I with my shaky hands and stuttering speech.

My sponge was so soft and fluffy I could barely hold it to dip it without crushing it – was superb and I was happy with that bake. I finally came up for air and was able to look around the room to see what everyone had made. Every thing looked awesome… the ones that caught my eye was Antonio’s and Liv’s.. omg, Liv’s pink little numbers looked a treat! I could have gobbled up her platter!

My Tiramisu Lamingtons went well. I would say middle of the road. I  made a mistake in looking at what other people were doing and thinking mine where too plain, I pipped a little creme pat on the top, which of course had skinned by the time judging came around – rookie mistake!! The highlight was Fiona’s

Tiramisu Lamingtons

Tiramisu Lamingtons

Judging was interesting – watching and listening to it all – we are then moved outside for the first of our voxy’s (mini interviews). Poor producers had to ask me the same question about 10 times before I could get my answers right! This is all mind blowing to me! Overwhelmed.

Next up… technical challenge…. Matt’s upside down pear challenge… which way to put the pears (lots of discussion between the bakers here), how long to caramelize the butter and sugar etc etc – minutes to spare I unleash my cake from the tin into literally a swimming pool of caramelized sauce…. dear lord…. wtf…..at least it’s baked…. moving on – it’s night time – judging time… I came middle of the pack, thank christ!

Back to the apartment for a shower, wash our clothes and prepare for the show stopper challenge in the morning.

Early start – 5.30am… yawn…..how many things went wrong here? Where to start….

I bake 3 of my cakes with baking soda and the second batch of 3 I forget to add it in…… bimbo… do I stagger them through the bake in the hope no one notices? … Yep….. and no one did… phew! Jesus I am a clutz!

Ombre Inside View

Ombre Inside View

I got one of my layers of pink out order order – no one notices until I, with the big mouth, says it!

Fiona had a major problem with her bottom layer -I managed to help slice it enough to save it with my trusty cake slicer (though not as fabulous as Jeremy’s but it did the trick to save the layer!)

I butter creamed a warm cake… yep, you read it here first and it stayed put without splitting – the baking gods were smiling on me that day!

Matt and Maggie were going around saying, “I hope it’s not too sweet” “I hope you have some balance in your cakes” to all the bakers and I’m thinking.. frig… it’s cake… mine is sweet as… god help me….. so I changed the flavours at the last minutes to give them options in judging…. starting from the top the butter cream was lemon, it then moved into strawberry, next to raspberry and ended on strawberry and raspberry butter cream frosting…. ready for the irony? They loved the original raspberry one the best…. another lesson of the season… don’t change things last second… (now, did I heed this lesson? hello no! Bwhahahahahahahahah).

Judging was nerve racking – a different format, we had to bring the bakes to the front of the shed and onto the judging table. I swear, I was shaking like a leaf! Was so scared I was going to drop the cake as I put it down for judging.

At that moment I calmed right down, thinking, I don’t care what they say as it was pretty as a picture. Yes I needed to tell myself something to breath.

2 minutes later I ate those thoughts as a shed a tear from the lovely feedback, so much for not caring!

Thrilled to bits and still on a high of the first few days of filming we all sat on stools at the front of the shed for elimination.

I had COMPLETELY forgotten about the show’s format of a Star Baker at this point. I was so focused on relaxing Antonio, who was very worried at this point about the elimination as he felt the judges were disappointed in his great efforts. Just as he starts to relax, we are then all shuffled into new seats and I am placed next to Diana who nudges me, saying “Star baker”, my brain clicks! “Oh yes! Noel or Liv for sure!” I said…… 2 minutes later I am announced as Star Baker! What the…..!!!!!

I think we can all tell how shocked I was because if I was a betting woman, my money was on Noel or Liv! I was just happy to have survived week 1….

Week 1 down….. phew!

Hands up and step away from your bakes!

Hands up and step away from your bakes!

Pretty as a picture!

Pretty as a picture!

Monica Cavallaro