CAKE OR BREAK #2: An American Recaps Bakeoff Episode 2

Updated: Sep 14, 2019

by Hannah Jane Cohen

I still don’t exactly understand what a biscuit is. Is a chocolate chip cookie a biscuit? Is a macaron? Or are they only the mildly sweet “digestives” you find in the supermarket? I highly doubt they help with digestion. Do people believe that in the U.K.? Perhaps that is the reason behind your high obesity rate.

Editor's note: Britain's political institutions are today in unending crisis. However, while millions of Brits are switching off to tales of political subterfuge, cloaks and daggers, kings and queens, they're still tuning into what may be the last democratic institution left in the country: The Great British Bake Off.


Given our nation's demonstrable lack of ability in dealing with the pressing issues of the day, we turned to one of our new overlords to adjudicate as our great national drama plays out every Tuesday at 8PM on Channel 4.


That is to say, we asked an American to recap Bake Off ahead of tonight's episode. Meet Hannah.


Jamie is over and Jamie is gone

Jamie's decided it's time to move on

Jamie has new dreams he's building upon

And I’m..

still hurting


That’s right, we’re starting this round-up with a musical theatre song. Sue me.


But alas—Jamie the English bro who didn’t know how to bake has left. Jamie, the boy who forgot to put eggs in his sponge cake. Jamie, who entered puberty as he presented a cake in the shape of a dog. Jamie, who responded with “Thank You” upon being told his cake tasted terrible. Jamie, who EGG WASHED a FIG ROLL, which apparently you aren’t supposed to do… is gone.


Jamie arrived at the end of the line

Jamie's convinced that the problems are mine

Jamie is probably feeling just fine

And I’m..

still hurting


The worst part of all this is that we’re all ripping on Jamie, calling him the dude who accidentally walked into the tent thinking it was a Logic concert, but in reality, he’s probably a better baker than 99% of the population and just had a bad run. Hey—if told to make gingerbread cake in the shape of a guitar, I’d probably just feign cramps and hope I could go home sick. Don’t lie—you would too.


But let’s move on. We can all follow Jamie’s ridiculous laddy Instagram and let him live on in our Adidas-covered hearts as we still hurt. For reference, that’s a highly dramatic song from a great musical called, “The Last 5 Years.” Check it out.

But without further ado, let’s get into the sweet stuff: It’s Biscuit Week!


As an American, I am not even going to get into the idea of biscuits versus cookies. To be honest, I still don’t exactly understand what a biscuit is. Is a chocolate chip cookie a biscuit? Is a macaron? Or are they only the mildly sweet “digestives” you find in the supermarket? Those break into tiny bits if you dunk ‘em into coffee, which I find offensive. I also highly doubt they help with digestion. Do people believe that in the U.K.? Perhaps that is the reason behind your high obesity rate.

Anyway, the first challenge to make the most ridiculously complicated cookies I have ever seen. They had like 6 layers and were covered in chocolate. Jamie's looked like shit while the 30 year old white ladies created some perfect specimens of white lady-ness. I wasn’t that compelled by any of the creations because the idea of eating a 6 layer cookie covered in chocolate makes me want to vomit. How on Earth could that possibly taste good?


The second was to create Paul’s dad’s Fig Rolls. Now, I am a massive fan of Fig Newtons, so I was properly invested. Anyway, the goth lady, and obviously Jamie, completely bombed and the 30 year old white ladies did really well. I do question Jamie’s decision to egg wash the rolls merely because he had one egg left over, even though absolutely no one else—especially the 30 year old white women—were doing it.


If I was Jamie, I would definitely not think so highly of myself that only I knew how to make fig rolls correctly and everyone else was making just a massive fucking mistake by leaving an egg out. That said, I do commend him for taking such a bold risk. I think a sausage roll/fig roll combo sounds pretty good.


But let’s get into the showstoppers: a 3D biscuit sculpture that relied on structure and not on stacking. This shit is the most ridiculous example of western overindulgence that I have ever seen. Seriously, how comfortable have our lives become that we now spend our time trying to defy the laws of gravity using cookies? It’s obviously ridiculously stupid, but there’s still something endearing about how earnestly each contestant takes the task. Let’s dive in.


The Welsh white lady makes a cookie tower in honour of her favourite Rugby team. The goth girl makes a spider, obviously. (In response, Noel has an orgasm.) The Veterinarian recreates her favourite chicken from home. There’s a bit of drama with #DragonGate, as two of the women decide to make a dragon and one is clearly better than the other.


The winner though is Michelle, who nearly has a seizure when she doesn’t mention how she spent time in New Zealand for five fucking minutes. Admittedly, her sheep cookie sculpture is very cute.


The best part of this episode though was getting a peek into the lives of our beloved contestants. Apparently, lorry driver Paul is actually a biker and the goth chick is a professional poker player. But it’s HENRY, the tie-clad 12 year old who clearly went straight from school to the tent, that wins the bizarre backstory game. HE PLAYS ORGAN IN THE CHURCH TO PAY FOR UNI. WHERE DO THEY FIND THESE PEOPLE?


But, of course, the episode ends on a tragedy. RIP to our favourite lad. I’ll try to recover before bread week, which sounds super compelling.


Jamie is over and where can I turn?

Covered with scars I did nothing to earn

Maybe there's somewhere a lesson to learn

But that wouldn't change the fact

That wouldn't speed the time

Once the foundation's cracked

And I'm

Still hurting


Tune in next week for the next instalment of our Bake Off recap, in which Hannah masticates over the form and format of fresh bread. You can watch The Great British Bake Off every Tuesday at 7PM on Channel 4.

Based in Iceland, Hannah Jane Cohen is the Listings Director for The Reykjavík Grapevine and was recently crowned the Drag King of Iceland for her performance art project, HANS.

The Radical Art Review is a non-profit cooperative platform fuelled purely by people power for those who think art holds the potential for social transformation. We publish the thoughts, philosophies, and stories of all who dare to dissent. We seek to inform, to empower, and to dream collectively of a better tomorrow.

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