Gettin’ Claggy Wit It

Who will win Series 13 of ‘The Great British Baking Show’? We lay the odds.

The Great British Baking Show (originally called the Great British Bake-Off until Pillsbury’s legal team got their sticky little hands on it; hereafter GBBO) is a familiar confection at this point: twelve home cooks from around Britain bake increasingly elaborate desserts under the watchful gazes of experts Prue Leith and Paul Hollywood. Its friendly, low-stakes appeal is the exact antidote to the stressful cooking competitions produced on these shores, and accordingly it’s now a massive global hit, spawning celebrity editions and so forth.

And so: Series 13! After a corny Star Wars-themed intro full of horrible baking-themed puns (Luke Piewalker, Princess Layer Cake – you get the idea), we’re back at the tent, meeting our new hopefuls and our old presenters: Matt Lucas and Noel Fielding, as irritating as ever.

Week one is, forever and always, Cake Week, tasking our contestants with making mini sandwich cakes for their Signature Challenge. The Technical Challenge saw them making “American cake,” in this case a six-layer red velvet cake, with no indication of how much food coloring to put in.

“What is crimson?” one particularly existential contestant asked. “Is it a light red?”

“What I’m not looking forward to,” winced Paul Hollywood, “is trying twelve red velvet cakes.”

Finally, the floridly insane Showstopper Challenge saw the home bakers tasked with creating a 3-D replica of their own homes. Not a cake that reminds them of home, an actual house. Haha, “home bakers,” get it?

A note before we get to the predictions and fake odds: since the British embrace gambling in ways we Americans can only dream of, there are actual odds for this show. I made up my fake lines without consulting the real ones. As always, these are for entertainment purposes only.

Syabira +300

Her coconut, pandan, and caramel mousse cake looked amazing, and her red velvet cake was inarguably the best of the bunch. Her showstopper, a tribute to her tropical Malaysia childhood home, included a wildly phallic coconut tree. Hollywood dinged it for lack of “hero flavour,” whatever that means. Lost out in Star Baker, but still seems like the best overall.

Janusz +375

Jolly gay Polish guy who came correct with moonshine-soaked cherries for his mini cakes. Prue appreciates the booze. His boyhood home was a terrifying Communist-style apartment block, but his mother’s flat had a lovely garden. The judges raved about his cake’s look and taste, and he vaulted in front of Syabira and the others to win the first Star Baker.

Sandro +450

Hunk alert! Sandro is a full-time nanny and boxing enthusiast, incredibly jacked, and looks a bit like someone you’d hire to impersonate Drake at your kid’s birthday party. Made a chocolate flower pot with grotesque roses sticking out of it. Took second place in red velvet cake. “Second is kinda first, innit?” Easy there, Champagne Papi.

Dawn +500

Former advisor to Boris Johnson, whose hair looks like…Boris Johnson’s. Lopsided mini cakes. Judges loved her showstopper. Seems to generally know what she’s doing.

Carole +550

Purple-haired “wacky” lady of a certain age. “Affectionately known as Compost Carole.” “Nice big nuts!” she enthused while chopping walnuts. Makes for excellent pull quotes, even if she’s going to get extremely grating after a week or two.

Maisam +750

Adorable 18-year-old whose sloppy sandwich cakes weren’t helped by curdled buttercream. “Clumsy” showstopper. And yet: GBBO judges are historically kind to very young contestants, and she wasn’t in any real danger of elimination.

Maxy +800

Bakes with her cute kids. Mini-cakes were enormous overbaked monstrosities. Swedish. Has a master’s in architecture, yet somehow made a house that looked like shit.

Rebs +1000

This season’s obligatory Northern Irish contestant. “Very claggy” red velvet cake, whatever that means. Redeemed herself with a pina colada cottage, obviously stinking of rum, thanks to “coconut rum mist.” The lesson: Prue can be bought with booze.

James +1200

Scottish nuclear scientist and horror-movie enthusiast, shown in an extremely unconvincing Freddy Krueger costume. Wore a kilt to the tent in order to subtly remind us that he’s Scottish. Dead last in velvet cake. Showstopper theme is “the first place I remember getting terrified.” When he was a child, his father walked by the window with an axe while he was watching “Bram Stoker’s Dracula.” Hey dad, good vibes only! Hollywood’s verdict: “Claggy.”

Kevin +1500

Scottish professional flute player. Made his house out of banana bread with giant unchopped pecans. A recurring theme this episode: shoddy British architecture hidden by “pebble-dashing” and other unconvincing facades. Sort of like Kevin’s cake, actually.

Abdul +1800

Judges raved over his “Cakey cacti” with unconvincing-looking frosting cactuses. Forgot to turn his oven on during Showstopper. Forgot to turn his oven on. It’s a baking show!

Will OUT

Absentminded professor type. Forgets to set his timer in signature round, fucks up his buttercream, judges hated his mini cakes. Showstopper much too technically complex.

“In theory, this is done,” he says, pulling his sponge out of the oven too early. In theory, so is Will.

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Daniel Cohen

Daniel Cohen is a software developer who lives in Syracuse, New York. He has written for Yard Work, The Guardian, and Maura Magazine.

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