The Great British Baking Show: Walton Edition, Episode 28 – Birthday Cakes Week

Join us for our first bake of 2021 as the bakers celebrate Dan’s birthday with Birthday Cakes Week!

See that face? That’s the face of disappointment.

Not disappointment in a recipe or a bake. Not disappointment in an ingredient that didn’t deliver the promised flavor. No, this face bears the grimace of betrayal that can only be brought about by people. And the two thoughtless, feckless people guilty of generating such massive disappointment are Mark and Chris.

This week’s challenge was simple: we would each bake a birthday cake for Dan, who would take a break from baking this week to act as sole judge of the cakes. Seems pretty straightforward, no? And it would have been if Mark and I had remembered to actually cook something.

It’s not that Mark and I forgot Dan’s birthday. We didn’t. We just forgot we were supposed to bake anything. We each walked in with a “Happy birthday!” on our lips and a very noticeable lack of baked goods in our hands.

Look at her. She can’t even look at us. We’re scum to her. And we deserve it. Mandy had gone to the trouble of making this beautiful Chocolate Mint Cake, and Mark and I had done nothing.

Mandy’s cake was not only gorgeous enough to grace the display case in any fine bakery, but absolutely delicious to boot. The pillowy sponge supported a delicate, homemade mint buttercream frosting that was almost sweet enough to cover the taste of heavy-hearted disillusionment. The fact that she would be this week’s Star Baker by default was of little comfort. I thought perhaps Dan might be more understanding.

Nope.

You can see Dan stayed bundled up even as he ate. Not against the cold January weather outside, but against the chill of thoughtless friends sitting at his own kitchen table. The look on his face says all there is to say. We had failed him once too often.

Long time readers will know by now that failing to bring a bake means you have to bring dinner for everyone the next week. Along with dinner I brought a cake for Dan of my own devising, my Fudge Rounds Cake. It was soaked with a coffee syrup and designed specifically to appease Dan’s deep love of chocolate. I even whipped up a warm chocolate ice cream sauce for the cake, in hopes of atoning for the sins of the previous week.

Congratulations once again to Mandy for being this week’s Star Baker, and my sincerest apologies to Dan for forgetting his cake. Join us next time when we ALL participate in a beefy little competition we call Sliders Week!

Until next time, bon appétit!

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mandy