During the next four weeks every single baking aficionado on our team will be tested to find their hidden baking and decorating talent – an essential skill set for maintaining levels of personal happiness and customer satisfaction!
Each week several bakers will compete in varying challenges and will be judged anonymously on four major factors. The judges will have a maximum of 30 points to award each baker for appearance, taste, effort and skill. The contender with the maximum score of each week will compete in the grand final. In a month’s time, four finalists will try to dazzle the judges with a four-layered decorated sandwich cake. There’s going to be delicious rivalry for glory as well as the Best Baker Award of inniAccounts. Let the battle begin!
Week 1: Sweet tarts
This week our sweet competition kicked off with delicious tarts. The mastery is in the ability to deliver impactful flavours, neat presentation and, of course, avoiding a soggy bottom. Four fellow bakers measured their skills in the tasty battle and several plastic knifes fell victim to the crispy crest of the desserts. Apple and pear, chocolate strawberry, red cherry, and salted caramel were the choices our bakers offered to the team.
The accounts trio of Chris, Kevin and Henry scored high for taste and appearance, however, they couldn’t beat James’ refined skills in confectionery as well as marketing. The judges awarded most of their points to the eccentric salted caramel creation of our most pronounced baking whizz. Very close behind was Henry with just 8 points less scoring slightly lower on the skill scale.
Well done to all first rounders, your tarts are worthy of sharing your secret recipes with us!
To balance the male only baking crew from week one, next on the round table we’ll see the best selection of scrumptious pies prepared by Rachel, Charlotte and Hannah with plenty of sugar and love. They’ll have to live up to our precise requirements and high expectations, having seen some of their exquisite baking skills in the past.
Week 2: Pies
Week two of our baking competition arrived quickly. On the menu we had three delicious pies. Charlotte ventured the round with a light and fruity Banoffee pie which scored first for great taste. Actions spoke louder than words on that day – it was gone before noon, and clearly deserved its taste rank.
Rachel surprised us with a Mississippi Mud pie.
Its rich dark chocolate taste complemented the judges’ morning coffee quite well, however, the generous cocoa flavour came across a bit too strong for the panel’s preferences.
Hannah chose a safe bet with a classic Apple pie. The level of skill and effort involved in its preparation stood out on the score sheet, and her final touch on the decoration secured her a place on the final.
In week three Claire, Matt and Paul will have the chance to unleash their imagination for making and decorating cupcakes. The judges will be particularly strict for identical results, so watch out to spot the differences.
Week 3: Cupcakes
It’s time for cupcakes in the inniHQ! We’re expecting a lot of icing, glitter, chocolate sprinkles and fancy colours on top of the delicious tiny muffins. The judges agreed to be super-generous with their score for creativity and imagination, as long as the taste meets their criteria and all cupcakes prepared by each baker look identical.
Paul chose a classic recipe with a chocolate cream finish, Matt prepared lemon curd cupcakes, and Claire showed-off with “Oreo Bears”. It was difficult to select a clear winner in terms of taste as they were all delightful. In line with the rules though, Claire’s originality stood out and she won the privilege to bake along with James and Hannah for the final award.
The last round before the great final will challenge Rowena, Lorna, Stela and Greg to bake their own sandwich biscuits and go beyond the classic custard choice of fillings.
Week 4: Sandwich biscuits
Today our judges will voice their critical opinions once again to determine the last baker to join the finalists next week. Over the last month we’ve tried a great variety of sweet tarts, pies and cupcakes. Just before we put James, Hannah and Claire to the final four-layer sandwich cake test, let’s see who else will compete with them for the Great inni Bake off award.
Sandwich biscuits for us today prepared Greg, Rowena, Lorna and Stela. After plenty of weekend hours spent in the kitchen in clouds of flour and sugar, the results were finally here. Rowena, Lorna and Stela presented different versions of chocolate crispy sandwiches. Lorna even went a step further and added a little colour and fun in the rainy morning with a layer of smarties popping out of her biscuits with every bite.
Greg offered us an alternative view of ‘sandwiches’. He experimented with sugar paste to recreate ‘real’ layers of ‘cheese’ and ‘salad’.
His creativity managed to impressed the judges the most and grabbed the best score for all criteria.
Being the unprecedented winner this week, he’ll have another chance to show us his sweet sandwich skills in the next week’s grand inni Bake-off final.
Congratulations to all winners so far! They’ve all got seven days to practice and show us their best cake recipes in a week’s time. We’re all looking forward to the last round and may the best baker win!
Week 5: Time for the Great Final
It’s the Great inni Bake off final day! It’s also the first day of the UK’s national chocolate week – will our contestants spoil us accordingly? We can’t wait to find out!
So, what were the judging criteria for the great final?
Each baker is tested for taste, appearance, skill and effort. The former two factors weigh twice as much as the later, however, all four are important when calculating the winning score. The challenge today – a decorated sandwich cake with at least four internal layers. Let the final battle begin!
Once all bakers enthusiastically laid their masterpieces for us, they were all left out behind the closed doors for a long and strenuous judging session. Picking up a winner was not an easy process today. All four of them had made a great effort to achieve an attractive appearance and a great taste. However critical we tried to be, we couldn’t resist the great variety of jams, creams and chocolate lining the numerous layers of spongy base, so we were generous with the scores too.
Hannah ventured a five-layer Posh Victory Sponge with a delicious homemade strawberry jam. The huge tower proved a cutting challenge but also a tasting pleasure. The extra height she achieved was a sure statement of where she’s heading to, but how did she compare to the rest?
Charlotte was graciously granted the chance to bake on the final by Claire, who stepped down as an interim winner. She prepared a heart-shaped Choccy Woccy Doo Dah with numerous star shapes on top and a forest fruits jam inside. It tempted the chocolate enthusiasts in the panel and convincingly dominated the taste scale, sharing the glory with James.
James who dazzled us with a masterful salty caramel tart in the very first round headed for the final with a Red Velvet cake. He grabbed us again with the taste of his creation. Today he crafted a classy sponge cake which was awarded the highest score for taste, competing only with Charlotte’ Choccy surprise. The skill rivalry was intense – James’ Red Velvet was just a point away from the top score on this scale. Overall his cake took the runner-up place in our Great inni Bake off contest.
Greg’s Chocolate Crunch, once again after the sandwich biscuits round, was in the spotlight with its appearance. The artistically arranged maltesers covering the top and spreading along the side of the cake grabbed the judges’ attention. The surprise was even greater with the first cut revealing four differently coloured base layers. Greg, who only joined our team recently and chipped in the last few rounds enjoyed a great baking success in inniAccounts. On the skill front he was just a point away from James, yet convincingly taking the lead for effort. Remarkably, not only did he win last week, but he also scooped the first prize in today’s great final.
Congratulations to Greg and well done to all finalists today!
With this post we conclude our Great inni baking challenge and head for the next one. Keep an eye on our Facebook page and be the first to hear all the news and updates from our team.
Now over to you, baking experts. Do you have a passion for baking? Why don’t you put on your apron and surprise us with your sweet creations? Stayed tuned and check out our baking board on Pinterest for more inspiration.