Season 11 of The Great British Bake Off has finally begun and we could not be more excited it’s back. Alongside enjoying the banter between the contestants and co-hosts Matt Lucas and Noel Fielding, our favorite part of the show is all of the baking knowledge we are basically learning by osmosis. If, however, you were too busy being soothed by the show, we gathered up the best tips we learned from the first episode below.
Whether you’re the star baker in your home or can barely make a mug cake, hopefully these lessons help you on your way:

Listen to your cake when you pull it out of the oven.

Contestant Peter shared a trick he learned from baker John Whaite from series three of the show, who at the time said his mom taught him to listen to a cake when you pull it out of the oven to see if it’s cooked. If it’s still wet, you’ll hear boiling, but if it’s done, it’ll sound “gentle.”

The tin makes all the difference.

Sura said she baked with a new pan for the first time and her batter overflowed. If you’re baking for something important, try not to use a new tin before giving it a whirl.

Use a ruler for super precise cake layers.

Get one just for the kitchen!

You need to get cake coverings and fillings rolled out just right.

Too thin, it’ll crack, too thick, it won’t taste very pleasant. They said this about marzipan, but it rings true for lots of things, such as fondant.

If the middle of your cake is raw, try to put it in the microwave.

Rowan tried this and it seemed to have worked for the most part? To be safe, if you have the time, pop it in the oven with some foil on top.

Use caramel carefully.

If you’re making something like a pineapple upside down cake and you use too little, your cake won’t get nice and crispy, but if you use too much, it’ll get soggy and sink to the bottom.

When swatting flies, make sure no cakes are in the way.

Sura learned this the hard way when she knocked fellow baker Dave’s cakes off his plate. Though she obviously felt bad, some of the cakes were able to be saved, and all’s well that ends well.

Trying to make a cake that’s shaped like something else can be daunting.

Prue noted how hard it is to make a cake that, say, looks like a person, because if it looks perfect but uses a ton of icing to make it happen, it might taste terrible.

Using mint is a bit risky.

Dave used mint alongside strawberry and cocoa in his bake, and the judges knocked him for it tasting like toothpaste. Be careful!

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