The Great British Bake Off episode one: contestants get in a jam with swiss roll challenge

BBC One showed the first episode of The Great British Bake Off series five on Wednesday evening, which saw 12 new hopefuls starting the culinary competition for the coveted Star Baker crown.

The contestants walked into the bunting-covered marquee to be greeted by Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry with their first baking signature challenge – creating a perfect Swiss Roll.


Paul and Mary deliberated who would win the technical challenge

With two-and-a-half hours to perfect their signature swirls, the sponge cake rolls varied from Diana’s tea roll filled with lemon curd, Luis' Spanish sponge with homemade honey whipped into the cream, and Chetna's cardamom, pistachio and coffee-filled bake.

Mary admitted that the Swiss roll was a tricky first bake for the contestants. The classic roll is fatless sponge consisting of sugar, flour and egg, lined with jam and cream, rolled up in a perfectly circular bake – requiring only minutes in the oven in order to roll easily.

Some of the bakers appeared to be in a jam at times as techniques varied from cooling sponges to pre-rolling from the oven in order to ensure the bake maintains a memory of its shape.

Luis created a Spanish Swiss Roll for the bake off

Construction engineer Iain used his building expertise to create a beautiful apricot and basil-flavoured sponge with mascarpone cream, but it was builder Richard's pistachio and strawberry sponge which went down well with the judges, deemed "perfect" by Paul Hollywood.

The second baking challenge demanded the contestants to create Mary Berry's classic cherry and almond cake, drizzled with thick white icing. The trick of the bake is to avoid cherry – not soggy – bottoms which caught some of the bakers out, while Jordan used up all of his cherries in the bake, forgetting to read the recipe fully.

However it was Nancy who reined in the technical challenge, impressing Paula and Mary yet again with her baking prowess.

For their show-stopper challenge, Paul and Mary asked for 36 beautifully decorated and evenly sized miniature cakes.

Chetna wowed the tent with a three-tiered victoria sponge while Martha played it safe with a simple lemon and thyme sponge. Both Claire and Kate decorated their mini bakes with fondant designs. Luis and Jordan, meanwhile, attempted the tricky Genoise sponge.

Chetna's showstoppers were compared to upside-down ice cream cones

Mary praised Norman and Richard’s miniature sponges, calling them "scrumptious". Unfortunately for Iain, he failed to impress with his multiple layers and lack of cohesion.

In the end, Nancy's light, perfect guillotine-chopped Jaffa orange sponges were seen as the crème de la crème of the day. Sadly, Claire's luck ran out as her mini chocolate cherry cakes didn't wow the baking royalty.

Nancy was awarded Star Baker this week, but who will win the coverted title next week?

Episode two promises an evening of biscuits, Florentine surprises and three-dimensional show-stoppers next Wednesday at 8pm on BBC One.