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About the show

The ultimate baking contest

It’s the moment every cake, bread and pie lover has been waiting for.

Bake Off is back and this time, the search goes nationwide in a bid to find and crown South Africa’s best amateur baker.

The tent is up, the ovens preheated and 12 of the country’s best amateur bakers are ready to showcase their baking skills through a series of challenging tasks.

This creative competition show is sure to provide inspiration and delicious fun as the amateurs go all out to impress the judges with their originality and skill, ultimately hoping to bake their way to the final. No matter what the theme, all the bakers must deliver a showstopping, mouth-watering creation. But after nine weeks of whisking, crimping and piping, only one can emerge victorious.

There will be tears, there will be tension, and there may even be a soggy bottom or two.

On your marks... get set... bake!

Bake Off bites

Soggy bottom – the oft-repeated reprimand that all contestants dread. If any of the bakers make the grave error of presenting either saturated or undercooked pastry to the judges, those two words are sure to echo around the tent immediately.

If Shirley or Tjaart declare that a contestant has achieved an ‘even bake’, then that means that the lucky baker’s cake has been cooked properly throughout and is even in colour. It also means that their neither overbaked nor underbaked creation has passed muster and that they can breathe a sigh of relief.

Signature bake – a favourite recipe that the contestants have already rustled up a thousand times in their own kitchen; a tried and tested triumph that’s been well-received by friends and family. That may not necessarily receive the same rapturous response from the judges…

Showstopper – as the name suggests, allows each contestant to unleash a creation of edible ingenuity and which should also demonstrate their attention to detail and all-round culinary superiority.

Technical challenge – the most nerve-wracking! After Shirley and Tjaart provide the recipe for a well-known bake with various details missing, the bakers are left to try to whip up a technically-perfect version of their own whilst the weight of the judges’ expectations threatens to crush them.

Star baker is the ultimate accolade for each contestant. All they need to do is rustle up three perfect bakes, or improve immeasurably from the previous week, to be in with a chance of getting the much-desired pat on the back by the end of the show.

Crumb is a term used by bakers to define the inside of the bread – so when the judges raise an eyebrow and declare that a contestant has produced an ‘even crumb’, it’s cause for celebration. Because it generally means that the way they mixed their flour, yeast and water together wasn’t too shoddy.

Series 2 Bakers

GSABO S2 Bakers

Earl

Hometown: Durban
Occupation: Electrician (Electrical Contractor)
Age: 48

When/how did you get into baking?
I was always interested in baking but only started applying myself when I needed a distraction in my life to take my mind off everyday issues. So baking was my escape to another dimension. What’s your signature bake?
My dark moist chocolate cake with chocolate ganache and caramel centre.
What type of baker are you?
Methodical, precise perfectionist who always expects good results.
What’s your most memorable baking disaster?
Whilst trying to bake my first chocolate cake and trying to get it to rise without the use of baking powder resulted in four bakes going to the dogs.
What sets you apart from the other bakers?
I bake with passion and perseverance. Failure is not an option.
How would other people describe you?
Dedicated father who tries to do his best in everything that he sets his mind to What are you most nervous about in the competition?
Not finishing on time or having my bake fall to the ground with no time to start over.
If you could describe yourself as a type of cake, what would it be and why?
Chocolate fondant baked to perfection, firm on the outside but liquid on the inside. If you could bake a cake for anyone, who would it be for and why?
I would bake for my Mom because she has given her all for me, taught me to appreciate the little things in life.
What slogan would you have emblazoned on your apron?
Thanks MOM for believing in me.

GSABO S2 Bakers

Avontalent

Hometown: Durban (originally from Zimbabwe)
Occupation: Domestic Worker
Age: 29

When/how did you get into baking?
My passion for baking started 4 years ago, with the fact of me being so far away from home, l always miss my family a lot so baking is the only thing that distracts me and keeps me going. When l bake l forget all the worries – I’m in my own world. l also tried to bake banana loaf in a mini oven with a few failed first attempts then worked out, from that moment l knew the door for baking was now open for me.
What’s your signature bake?
My signature bake is chocolate mousse cake, ooh it’s heaven. Soft, sweet and mouth-watering.
What type of baker are you?
l am a very passionate baker, l don’t give up easily when l mess up.
What’s your most memorable baking disaster?
l tried to make beef sausage rolls and the pastry didn’t puff up very nicely and it was very soggy and the meat undercooked. l then removed the meat from the dough and tried to make meatballs and even that didn’t work out.
What sets you apart from the other bakers?
What sets me apart from other bakers is l am still new to baking, it’s all exciting and l want to try everything and learn new techniques. I don't back off easily, I’m good with my flavours, fast, determined and optimistic.
How would other people describe you?
People will describe me as hardworking, kind, caring, loving and passionate.
What are you most nervous about in the competition?
I’m nervous about not being able to get things to work out the way I want them to due to being in a different environment.
If you could describe yourself as a type of cake, what would it be and why?
A wonderful chocolate cake, sweet, soft and very comforting.
If you could bake a cake for anyone, who would it be for and why?
l would bake a cake for Arnold Tanzer. He is a very good chef and he is also very patient. l would like him to say this is the best thing he has ever tasted in years. And that moment l would know that l am on the road to success.
What slogan would you have emblazoned on your apron?
A day without baking is a day wasted.

GSABO S2 Bakers

Cait

Hometown: Cape Town
Occupation: Restaurant Manager
Age: 18

When/how did you get into baking?
I grew up around baking. My gran and mum are both avid bakers, and eventually I figured out that it was my passion and definitely something I should pursue.
What’s your signature bake?
Anything to do with chocolate and salted caramel.
What type of baker are you?
I am a focused baker that enjoys classic flavours.
What’s your most memorable baking disaster?
It wasn’t so much a baking disaster as a serving disaster – my mum and I were moving a tart to a plate and ended up dropping it upside down on the floor. We collapsed laughing and still giggle about it to this day.
What sets you apart from the other bakers?
Probably my love of bringing together exciting flavours and classical techniques.
How would other people describe you?
Driven, but maybe a little too calm.
What are you most nervous about in the competition?
The technical – I hate not knowing!
If you could describe yourself as a type of cake, what would it be and why?
A dark chocolate cake with salted caramel Swiss meringue buttercream and raspberries – because I adore chocolate, can be light and sweet, but can have some surprises.
If you could bake a cake for anyone, who would it be for and why?
Darren Purchese – I cannot get enough of his work and would love to hear his feedback.
What slogan would you have emblazoned on your apron?
Never lose your temper.

GSABO S2 Bakers

Motshidisi

Hometown: Heidelberg
Occupation: Economist
Age: 28

When/how did you get into baking?
I only really got into baking about 5 years ago whilst completing my Master's Degree. My passion and love for cakes grew even deeper as I started working and needed a creative outlet from my stressful days at the office. Baking has now become a gift that I love sharing with those I love and those willing to share in that experience.
What’s your signature bake?
Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Icing.
What type of baker are you?
I'd describe myself as an analytical, but messy baker. I spend quite a lot of time researching about baking techniques and the science behind baking before actually trying it out. I often know a lot more about the what and why of baking and not enough about the how.
What’s your most memorable baking disaster?
When I was about 13 years old, my younger sister and I decided we wanted to bake a cake from a recipe we had found in a magazine.  After school one afternoon, we set out to bake this simple vanilla cake only to realize once we'd beaten the eggs and measured everything out that we didn't have any baking powder in the house.  We did however, have bicarbonate of soda.  We assumed that they were pretty much the same thing and went ahead adding the bicarb in place of the baking powder.  We ended up with a stodgy, flat and ridiculously oily mess that not even our dogs would eat! We have since made more successful vanilla cake baking memories.
What sets you apart from the other bakers?
I always try to tell a story through my bakes... it’s always my aim to put a piece of me in everything I make.
How would other people describe you?
People who know me would probably describe me as genuine. Those who don't know me would most likely describe me as serious.
What are you most nervous about in the competition?
I'm most nervous about being too hard on myself! I am my biggest critic and that can be to my detriment at times.
If you could describe yourself as a type of cake, what would it be and why?
Red Velvet Cake. It has a special combination of a sweet cake balanced by the creamy cream cheese icing. Just like me...I have a very serious side to me that is balanced by a quirky side.
If you could bake a cake for anyone, who would it be for and why?
Julius Malema. South Africa's current socioeconomic climate says a lot about where our people and our leaders are at in terms of ideologies and dreams for this country. I believe that sometimes it takes understanding the radical mind to fairly interpret what it will mean for our future. As such, sharing a piece of cake with Julius Malema would give me the opportunity to debate the issues facing our nation with one of the most radical thinkers of our time.
What slogan would you have emblazoned on your apron?
In all toil there is profit! By His grace!

GSABO S2 Bakers

Hillary

Hometown: Johannesburg
Occupation: Accounts Payables Clerk
Age: 32

When/how did you get into baking?
My baking journey started in my early teenage years. I loved to experiment in the kitchen. Traditionally on every Sunday, as a family we had to have something fresh out of the oven, so I would always bake anything from scones to breads and my favorite, Chocolate Cake. I have to thank my sister for allowing me the freedom in the kitchen to bake. I used to love watching her make “vetkoek” and not too long after that, I got into the action myself. She always tells me that I have very light hands, and this apparently makes my vetkoek always light and fluffy (smiling). In the last two years I found myself baking increasingly more, and it is incredibly amazing how everything that happened in my life has prepared me for what’s to come.
What’s your signature bake?
I have an absolute love for sweet and salty combinations, and recently I had an opportunity to bake a Salted Caramel Popcorn Cake with Crushed Honeycomb. It was a profound moment and I believe it came at the absolute right time in my life. I know that there will be many dishes to follow that will be inspired by this bake.
What type of baker are you?
It’s all about the taste. I always strive to get that perfect flavor balance in my dishes. I know there is a saying that goes, “You eat with your eyes”, but for me, it’s the smell of food that attracts me. If it smells good, it will taste even better. I love the rustic appeal of food. I’m not a very polished cook when it comes to pretty decorations, etc.
What’s your most memorable baking disaster?
My most memorable baking disaster has to be my first attempt at the traditional ‘melktert’. I made my own puff pastry, and the all-important filling. I remember being so excited, because I tasted my filling and it was amazing. Everything was going as planned, and I even got that perfect wobble. In the end it just ended up as a scramble mess and my pastry was undercooked and soggy. Yeah, I said it! Needless to say, it ended up straight in the dustbin.
What sets you apart from the other bakers?
I have overcome quite a number of challenges throughout my life, and through that I have developed a very strong mindset. I think this will definitely come in handy on the show, as all of us will be faced with our own unique challenges, but I believe that I am prepared for it all. I’m a focused individual, and this will give me the edge above the other bakers.
How would other people describe you?
A fun-loving and affectionate person. Considerate and generous. Always eager to listen and give advice when needed. Very adaptable to situations and change. Adventurous and always looks neat and presentable.
What are you most nervous about in the competition?
I am most nervous about the Signature and Showstopper challenges. I can generally be very tough on myself, and because these bakes are so personal to me, it’s going to be difficult to be judged on them. I’ve never considered myself a “Showstopper” kinda guy, and because we will be judged on one of the criteria, being the “professional appearance” of our bakes, I know my decorating skills are probably not on the same level as the other bakers, so I am more nervous about this one specifically.
If you could describe yourself as a type of cake, what would it be and why?
It will be a Rainbow Cake. It’s a brightly coloured, multi-layered cake. I consider myself a man of many layers and I definitely love my bright colours.
If you could bake a cake for anyone, who would it be for and why?
I will definitely bake a cake for my late parents. I know my mom and dad are watching over me and I would be so delighted to take them through my journey in my own words. What better way to do this, over a cup of tea, served in fine china with a beautiful big slice of Chocolate Cake.
What slogan would you have emblazoned on your apron?
LIVE + LOVE + LAUGH

GSABO S2 Bakers

Jason

Hometown: Johannesburg
Occupation: Urban Design Student
Age: 24

When/how did you get into baking?
I’ve always been involved with helping my mom and family bake for all occasions, but only started taking baking seriously in the past two years when I realized I could bake bread that could rival any bakery.
What’s your signature bake?
Sourdough Bread.
What type of baker are you?
Experimental and Rustic.
What’s your most memorable baking disaster?
A Pavlova that swiftly turned into an Eton mess.
What sets you apart from the other bakers?
I can do the moonwalk while baking.
How would other people describe you?
Eccentric, energetic and creative.
What are you most nervous about in the competition?
The dreaded technical challenges.
If you could describe yourself as a type of cake, what would it be and why?
It would have to be a croquembouche. Partly because it is super fun to bake but mostly because well, it looks like a hat and I love wearing hats. Bingo!
If you could bake a cake for anyone, who would it be for and why? It would definitely be Lady Gaga. She is one of my biggest inspirations. I love her music, her style and everything she stands for. Also because I would really love to make her a dress out of cake one day.
What slogan would you have emblazoned on your apron?
When life gives you lemons, make a cheesecake!

GSABO S2 Bakers

Nasreen

Hometown: Johannesburg
Occupation: Industrial Psychologist
Age: 28

When/how did you get into baking?
I was introduced to baking when I was young. Baking with my mum is one of my most precious memories.
What’s your signature bake?
My signature bake is a salted caramel and apple crumble cheesecake.
What type of baker are you?
I am an adventurous baker, I love to experiment with different flavor profiles.
What’s your most memorable baking disaster?
My most memorable baking disaster was when I over filled a cake pan with batter and the batter flowed out onto the element of the oven and ignited. Flames were small and no harm was caused.
What sets you apart from the other bakers?
I think what makes me different from the other bakers is that I tend to push the boundaries of the bakes we are required to make. I think out of the box, use unusual flavor profiles and have an eye for detail, especially the showstoppers.
How would other people describe you?
A lover of life, cakes and all things fabulous! Someone who cares about others.
What are you most nervous about in the competition?
I am most nervous about being the first baker to leave the tent.
If you could describe yourself as a type of cake, what would it be and why?
I would be a croquembouche- it’s different, delicious, complicated and oh so fabulous.
This cake or dessert describes me as it has components that are traditional and pretty.
If you could bake a cake for anyone, who would it be for and why?
I would be honored to have baked for ex-president Nelson Mandela. What an amazing man!
What slogan would you have emblazoned on your apron?
“I bake, what’s your superpower?”

GSABO S2 Bakers

Leon

Hometown: Johannesburg
Occupation: Correctional Officer
Age: 50

When/how did you get into baking?
30 years back, my mom taught me.
What’s your signature bake?
Fruitcake.
What type of baker are you?
Home baker.
What’s your most memorable baking disaster?
Baking pancakes on a fire.
What sets you apart from the other bakers?
I’m very calm and my uniqueness.
How would other people describe you?
Lovable and compassionate.
What are you most nervous about in the competition?
Working with the mixer and oven.
If you could describe yourself as a type of cake, what would it be and why?
Bee sting cake, soft in the inside and hard and sticky on the top.
If you could bake a cake for anyone, who would it be for and why?
For Mandela, as he was an icon.
What slogan would you have emblazoned on your apron?
The best of the best.

GSABO S2 Bakers

Carol

Hometown: Johannesburg
Occupation: Promo Producer
Age: 35

When/how did you get into baking?
From watching cooking/baking shows on TV.
What’s your signature bake?
Vanilla and chocolate cake with custard cream filling.
What type of baker are you?
A careful baker.
What’s your most memorable baking disaster?
I honestly have never had a disaster.
What sets you apart from the other bakers?
I always plan ahead.
How would other people describe you?
Rebellious. I don’t like to be put in a box.
What are you most nervous about in the competition?
Pie week (pastry making).
If you could describe yourself as a type of cake, what would it be and why?
Red Velvet - it has a mysterious taste which you can’t really put your finger on it.
If you could bake a cake for anyone, who would it be for and why?
My late mom as she was a hopeless baker. She would be very proud of me.
What slogan would you have emblazoned on your apron?
Work hard, Bake good, Play hard.

GSABO S2 Bakers

Matthew

Hometown: Durban
Occupation: Scientist (Crop Modeller)
Age: 35

When/how did you get into baking?
I used to bake occasionally when I was young with my mom encouraging or at least tolerating my interest! I was always inspired by the bread baked by my grandfather. Since getting married in 2010, my wife and I have enjoyed baking together; and since having kids we have found baking to be a creative, constructive and enjoyable family activity.
What’s your signature bake?
Pull-apart loaf, loaded with cheese, basil pesto and salami, baked in a gas braai.
What type of baker are you?
Pragmatic and authentic – I favour recipes with simple, easily-obtained ingredients, and I prefer to bake things where the appearance is determined by the preparation method and ingredients, rather than artificial decoration.
What’s your most memorable baking disaster?
Mistakenly overdoing the gelatine in a chocolate mousse and serving it as dessert to dinner guests. It had the texture of a pencil eraser and was totally inedible.
What sets you apart from the other bakers?
I try to understand the scientific mechanisms and underlying processes involved in baking different recipes. Rather than trying to remember to do ‘x’ when making ‘y’, I try to figure out and then remember why ‘x’ should be done when making ‘y’.
How would other people describe you?
Thoughtful, caring, and slightly caught up in my own world.
What are you most nervous about in the competition?
Probably the unfamiliar environment – unfamiliar equipment, protocols and expectations.
If you could describe yourself as a type of cake, what would it be and why?
Something like a Bee-Sting cake or Victoria sponge – relatively unadorned and minimal, that reflects culture and history, that is greater than the sum of its parts, and has a reason for being; a cake that is what it is, without pretending otherwise.
If you could bake a cake for anyone, who would it be for and why?
My family! For the simple reason that they are my favourite people in the whole world.
What slogan would you have emblazoned on your apron?
Superhero Dad.

GSABO S2 Bakers

Penny

Hometown: Johannesburg
Occupation: Housewife
Age: 57

When/how did you get into baking?
Learnt the basics of baking from my mom and the more advanced baking from my father.
What’s your signature bake?
Spiced plaited loaf served with guacamole.
What type of baker are you?
An all-rounder.
What’s your most memorable baking disaster?
Baking rusks for a friend and forgetting to add the sugar!
What sets you apart from the other bakers?
Experience.
How would other people describe you?
Creative.
What are you most nervous about in the competition?
The technical bakes and being eliminated.
If you could describe yourself as a type of cake, what would it be and why?
Marshmallow tea cake: hard on the outside and soft in the middle.
If you could bake a cake for anyone, who would it be for and why?
Harry Sideropoulos, because he would totally appreciate an “over the top” chocolate creation.
What slogan would you have emblazoned on your apron?
LEAF (Love Everything About Food).

GSABO S2 Bakers

Asfeyah

Hometown: Johannesburg
Occupation: Housewife
Age: 52

When/how did you get into baking?
About 35 years ago when I got married.
What’s your signature bake?
Venetian Cake.
What type of baker are you?
All-rounder.
What’s your most memorable baking disaster?
I forgot to add baking powder in the Venetian cake, silly me. I forgot to recheck my oven temperature and grease my baking pan. The worst was when I baked a huge batch of coconut biscuits, I decided to taste them and they tasted like soap. The desiccated coconut that I had bought had been stored next to some kind of soap. I had to re-bake all of them.
What sets you apart from the other bakers?
My experience and age.
How would other people describe you?
I like to experiment with new ideas, equipment, inspiration. I’m not complicated.
What are you most nervous about in the competition?
Technical challenges and time management.
If you could describe yourself as a type of cake, what would it be and why?
Chocolate cake, I find it a challenge to make them. Life is not always perfect.
If you could bake a cake for anyone, who would it be for and why?
A Birthday cake for the late President Mandela.
What slogan would you have emblazoned on your apron?
Bake from your heart.

Series 1 Bakers

The Great South African Bake Off

Alice

Home town: Cape Town
Occupation: Painter and creative consultant
Age: 24

When did you get into baking?

I guess the very first time must have been while I was propped up on the kitchen table as an 8-year-old, learning to separate eggs as delicately as I could for my mom’s chiffon cake and meringues before big family functions. I come from a massive family (I have 54 first cousins), so we often have a lot of reasons to get together. The kitchen was the nucleus of the family home I grew up in.

What’s your signature dish?

I suppose it would be my 'Choc-Hum' cake. I went online looking for surprising and yummy alternatives to wheat flour cakes and found a high-protein one based on cooked chickpeas. It is so light and chocolatey and fudgey. There is a slight chickpea-esque taste which I love because it reminds me of hummus… hence the name I dubbed it.

What type of cook are you?

I am the type of baker that does not believe 50 and 51 grams of something are the same thing. I measure everything very precisely. I always stick to the rules when baking, getting to know a recipe really well before trying to alter anything. My friends always say I am like a baking drill sergeant. But when it comes to cooking savoury meals I get to loosen up and play around a lot more. I like listening to certain types of music when preparing different things. Whenever I bake celebration cakes I listen to hip hop or R&B. Tarts call for Ella Fitzgerald and Dean Martin.

What’s your most memorable cooking disaster?

I guess just burning batches of cookies. A little bit of me dies whenever I get distracted and forget them in the oven. I am almost 100% sure a fairy dies every time a chocolate chip cookie is burnt in my oven.

How would other people describe you?

I suppose many people describe me as very creative or quirky, but I think a better word would be curious. I have an insatiable curiosity and fascination with using my hands, which always sees me sporadically taking on new hobbies and obsessions like crocheting, clay working or woodcarving.

What sets you apart from the other bakers?

I don’t know the others yet but I guess I am an artist, maker and avid crafter. So I like to think that my obsessive making and experimenting tactics would help set me apart by helping me construct baked goods in a new way. I am also very preoccupied with the sensuality of cooking. Texture and colour play a big role to me, just like in painting. In art-making you have to lose the fear of being wrong or having a lot of ideas that fail, in order for one good one to prevail. I like to think this has kept me playing around in the kitchen. I see this as a good thing.

What are you most nervous about in the competition?

I am most nervous about learning to use the new ovens. I feel like meeting a new oven is like meeting a new person. I need time to suss them out, find their quirks and hotspots. I kind of wish I could transplant my not-so-fancy oven at home into the Bake Off kitchens.

If you could describe yourself as a type of cake, what would it be and why?

A luxurious German chocolate cake because I once did this Facebook quiz and that’s what it said. But honestly, I would probably be a pavlova: classic, a little sweet, but also very dry.

If you could bake a cake for anyone, who would it be for and why?

I would love to bake for my favourite painter of all time, John Singer Sargent. I am reading his biography at the moment and just discovered he loved to eat as much as he loved to paint – two good reasons to be alive. Or else I would bake for Jeff Koons because I would be able to create something utterly ridiculous and overwhelming. I would also love to bake something for Desmond Tutu, because he has the best smile in all the world and I would like to help encourage it in any way possible. I know that’s three people. Sorry.

What slogan would you have emblazoned on your apron?

There’s always time for tea and cake!

The Great South African Bake Off

Andrew

Home town: Parkview
Occupation: Actuary
Age: 25

How did you get into baking?

I started baking as a child. I grew up watching James Martin on the TV and trying everything I could with the ingredients I found in the kitchen.

What’s your signature dish?

My profiteroles. I make the most amazing vanilla custard and caramel chocolate bites of heaven.

What type of cook are you?

I’m meticulous. Although I spend time playing with recipes and various flavour combinations, I believe that consistency is accomplished by maintaining accuracy.

What’s your most memorable cooking disaster?

There have been many. A friend had asked me to bake for her wedding, and no matter what I tried, everything seemed to go awry. Needless to say, I eventually came right (in the early hours of the morning), and made everything on time.

How would other people describe you?

I’m an enthusiastic and vibrant individual. I smile a lot and am always keen to enjoy a good laugh with someone. I’m a perfectionist, and can be somewhat flustered if things aren’t under my control.

What sets you apart from the other bakers?

My persistence. I think I will keep working on something (however frustrated) until it is something I’m happy and proud to present.

What are you most nervous about in the competition?

I am most nervous about my tried and tested bakes suddenly not working how they have always done, due to me being under a bit of pressure. I’m also concerned that with the time constraints I am not able to present something with as much attention to detail that I usually would.

If you could describe yourself as a type of cake, what would it be and why?

It would be a mixture of chocolate and hazelnut (love my nuts). It will be decorated with clean lines, and interesting patterns, representing my creative yet my meticulous and exacting nature.

If you could bake a cake for anyone, who would it be for and why?

I love trying to discover what flavours people enjoy, and then seeing their genuine enjoyment when you finally get something that’s perfect for their taste buds. So if there was anyone I would be trying to impress, yet please at the same time, it would be them.

What slogan would you have emblazoned on your apron?

I like it beaten not stirred.

The Great South African Bake Off

Dot

Home town: Johannesburg
Occupation: Admin manager
Age: 55

When did you get into baking?

I have always loved cooking but only got into baking about two years ago when my sister-in-law asked me to bake a fruit cake for my nephew’s birthday. I went into a baking shop and paid R25 each for some fondant Minions and decided I could make them better. From then, I have been making celebration cakes for friends and family.

What’s your signature dish?

I love baking bread and do a mean focaccia, but I am best known for my celebration cakes.

What type of cook are you?

I am not afraid to try something new. I love cooking for dinner parties.

What’s your most memorable cooking disaster?

Leaving a bread dough to prove for too long in the bush – it looked like something from a sci-fi horror movie as it spread all over the counter.

How would other people describe you?

Funny, outgoing, competitive.

What sets you apart from the other bakers?

My attention to detail from start to finish.

What are you most nervous about in the competition?

Being voted out in the first challenge.

If you could describe yourself as a type of cake, what would it be and why?

A quirky celebration cake full of colour and decorations.

If you could bake a cake for anyone, who would it be for and why?

Not too sure. I love baking children's birthday cakes – the look on their faces when I deliver their cakes is my best.

What slogan would you have emblazoned on your apron?

If the choux fits...

The Great South African Bake Off

Gavin

Home town: Sandton
Occupation: Transition lead
Age: 52

How did you get into baking?

Through my love of preparing and cooking food, but really more of the French patisserie side of cakes and desserts.

What’s your signature dish?

Smoked trout coubiliac or tarte fin au citron.

What type of cook are you?

I cook well, but cooking is a very different skill to baking and I am new to baking.

What’s your most memorable cooking disaster?

A crème brulee that separated into the caramel, what a disaster. I did not notice it and all the desserts were returned virtually untouched. Very embarrassing!!

How would other people describe you?

Smart, funny, ambitious, driven, caring and a leader. But also a perfectionist and stubborn! It can’t all be good.

What sets you apart from the other bakers?

I am very fortunate to have travelled a great deal and experienced a wide variety of foods from all over the world. I have spent time at some of the cookery schools in Paris to understand the unique relationship that the French have with ingredients and food.

What are you most nervous about in the competition?

Oh, a disaster, of one sort or the other, or probably that I did something really stupid, like forgot to add in the eggs!

If you could describe yourself as a type of cake, what would it be and why?

This would have to be French, probably something quite complex with many textures and the outside appearance is important, let’s say a fraisier!

If you could bake a cake for anyone, who would it be for and why?

For me it would have to be a humanitarian, someone who is making a difference in the world we live in, and for me to understand what foods they like and then to be able to watch the joy, hopefully, it brings them.

What slogan would you have emblazoned on your apron?

Go bake or go bust.

The Great South African Bake Off

Johan

Home town: Morningside
Occupation: Attorney
Age: 44

How did you get into baking?

Through my mother who used to bake for friends, family and later for profit when we were kids.

What’s your signature dish?

Coconut and almond cake or crème brulee or chocolate fondant.

What type of cook are you?

I'm part chemist baker, part artist. I believe in accurate measurement of ingredients and maintaining correct ratios. However, I also love experimenting and enjoy adding ingredients or replacing some – often forced when I belatedly discover that I have insufficient stock of a key ingredient!

What’s your most memorable cooking disaster?

My chicken pie. After my first attempt at chicken pie received the thumbs up from my family, I promptly made it again two nights later. This reduced my youngest daughter to tears, who confessed that when she told me two nights earlier that my chicken pie was good, she was "just being kind."

How would other people describe you?

Relaxed, but busy. I am probably a poster boy for ADHD as I am constantly tinkering with something or have one project or another on the run. I love good jokes and enjoy telling jokes (specialising in cringeworthy, corny ones). I am a passionate music freak who would probably have been a DJ in a different life. I love running and I am a keen golfer.

What sets you apart from the other bakers?

My enthusiasm, willingness to experiment and enjoyment of the trade. I bake because I enjoy it – it is not a grudge event and I don't have to earn a living doing it. I thus have the licence to experiment, fail and have fun.

What are you most nervous about in the competition?

Not performing to my ability. By the same token, I am very keen to see how far I can stretch myself and how I will fare in the competition environment. For me this is a wonderful opportunity to discover hidden aspects of myself, hopefully mostly pleasant ones!

If you could describe yourself as a type of cake, what would it be and why?

Probably a chocolate cake with sour cherries. I can be a bit of an acquired taste at the best of times. Not everyone will find me to their taste but I can linger on the palate of those who resonate with me.

If you could bake a cake for anyone, who would it be for and why?

My wife, my daughters and my late mom. My wife as she has truly been the mainstay of my life – she has inspired me to do more, achieve more and make more with my life. My daughters are a daily reminder that life is there to be lived; that you can make and do whatever you want to, provided you are passionate enough and put in the effort. And my mom because she slaved away for so many years, raising four children on her own, at different stages through her baking. She would have enjoyed seeing me taking over the family apron and continuing the baking tradition.

What slogan would you have emblazoned on your apron?

Unless you faint, puke or die, never give up!

The Great South African Bake Off

Lauren

Home town: Johannesburg
Occupation: Veterinarian
Age: 32

When did you get into baking?

I have been baking for about five years, and have become more serious about it in the last two. I started becoming more serious to try and develop the skills to create beautiful baked goods!

What’s your signature dish?

Macaroons.

What type of cook are you?

I like to be organised.

What’s your most memorable cooking disaster?

There are two – firstly when my spatula broke off in a delicate cake and I hunted through the batter to find it. I thought I could bake it anyway and it would be a success (yes, even after all that over-mixing). Needless to say, it was hideous. And secondly, when I was about 14, a friend and I were making toffee, and I thought it would be a great idea to stick my finger in the pot to taste the caramel. Yes, boiling sugar. It was so hot I tried to get it into my mouth and missed, so the caramel blistered my finger and the skin above my lip. Not my shining moment.

How would other people describe you?

It depends who you ask! I think bossy, loud, loyal, enthusiastic and committed.

What sets you apart from the other bakers?

I can perform really well under pressure and I have a great memory for remembering detail.

What are you most nervous about in the competition?

I am nervous of being eliminated.

If you could describe yourself as a type of cake, what would it be and why?

I would be a chocolate mousse cake with ganache, because it looks good and has many different layers.

If you could bake a cake for anyone, who would it be for and why?

My friends and family because I enjoy creating delicious things for them to eat.

What slogan would you have emblazoned on your apron?

Little Miss Always Right.

The Great South African Bake Off

Michaela

Home town: Cape Town
Occupation: Professional dancer
Age: 22

When did you get into baking?

I started helping my aunt bake when I was about four years old, basically just cutting cookies and decorating, and then I gradually became more involved in the process as I grew up.

What’s your signature dish?

My signature dish is a banoffee meringue cake.

What type of cook are you?

I would consider myself to be quite an adventurous cook. I often change recipes and play around with ideas when I have free time.

What’s your most memorable cooking disaster?

I once baked my signature banoffee cake for my boyfriend's family. The problem with the cake is that it's highly temperamental, and needs to be handled and assembled with care. Unfortunately, the weather was a bit warm that day, and the cake began to melt. The cake looked like a gloopy mess, but his family said it was the most amazing cake they had ever eaten!

How would other people describe you?

Extremely honest and funny.

What sets you apart from the other bakers?

I think my Chinese heritage sets me apart from the other contestants. Of course everyone has their own unique cultural background, so we'll all have something that makes our dishes special. I'm going to bring as much of my Chinese background into my dishes as possible, but combine them with a Western flair.

What are you most nervous about in the competition?

I'm nervous to see what the other contestants have to offer. I'm also nervous of making a stupid mistake that could get me kicked off the show.

If you could describe yourself as a type of cake, what would it be and why?

I would describe myself as a chocolate lava fondant cake. I often come across as being hard on the outside, but I'm actually really soft and mushy on the inside.

If you could bake a cake for anyone, who would it be for and why?

I think I would bake for Stephen Hawking. He's such a brilliant man, and although he suffers from such a terrible disease, he still manages to keep his sense of humour and his wit. So I would basically just love to have a sit-down conversation with him.

What slogan would you have emblazoned on your apron?

For the love of cake!

The Great South African Bake Off

Mmala

Home town: Pretoria
Occupation: Psychology student
Age: 20

When did you get into baking?

I started baking when I was really young, around seven. My mom and grandmother were always whipping up something yummy, and I’ve lived with them both so it sort of rubbed off on me.

What’s your signature dish?

Sourdough bread or any bread that needs a sourdough starter.

What type of cook are you?

I think I’m inventive but traditional at the same time. I learnt to cook and bake from books full of 80s classics, so that’s where the traditional falls in. And being a playful person is what makes my cooking inventive. Plus I get bored easily, so I like to make things that will keep me and other people intrigued.

What’s your most memorable cooking disaster?

The very first time I tried to bake on my own. It happened when I was eight, but it feels like just yesterday because I still get a bit wavery in the kitchen from time to time. I’d been nagging my mom for the longest time to let me try making something on my own. When she finally agreed she had one condition – it had to be something everyone would enjoy. And so obviously, the first thing that popped into my head was a cookie! The next day I got back from school and set out to make my cookies, while everyone was still at school or work. This meant I had nobody to tell me what to put in and how much of it… I remember feeling so proud of myself when I was putting them in the oven. They looked great. Little did I know, 25 minutes later they would come out the oven looking like puppy vomit. Spread all over the tray in chunks, smelling and tasting like an obscenely sweet fried egg. It was horrible.

How would other people describe you?

I’m an incredibly organised mess. In the best way possible.

What sets you apart from the other bakers?

The other bakers probably know what they are doing, and I don’t. Just kidding. I think I’m on the same skill level as the other bakers. I hope what makes me different is that I think I’m very good at thinking on my feet. I’m quite sharp.

What are you most nervous about in the competition?

I’m most nervous about the technical challenges. If I sit and think about doing the technical challenges for too long I might just pass out.

If you could describe yourself as a type of cake, what would it be and why?

I think I’d be a pineapple upside-down cake. Sometimes I make sense, sometimes I don’t. It’s like, I’m fun and nice to be around, but nobody really knows why.

If you could bake a cake for anyone, who would it be for and why?

My sister Maite. Because I have yet to convert her to an absolute cake lover. Everyone should love cake.

What slogan would you have emblazoned on your apron?

I need a hug.….e bottle of wine.

The Great South African Bake Off

Raeesa

Home town: Johannesburg
Occupation: Student
Age: 23

How did you get into baking?

I have been baking ever since I was a kid. My mom used to bake quite a bit, and it started out by me helping her out in the kitchen. She used to let me crack eggs into the mixture and cut out the shapes and decorate cookies.

What’s your signature dish?

Hmmm… signature. I am definitely known for my strawberry cheesecake. It’s baked and delicious.

What type of cook are you?

I am the type that doesn’t follow recipes. I kind of know the standard things and just add my own spin by trying out different flavours.

What’s your most memorable cooking disaster?

Oh gosh! There are so many! Most of them are centred around me not reading the recipe correctly, or, ironically, making a conversion mistake. I once used cornflour instead of icing sugar… that ended up pretty badly.

How would other people describe you?

People would describe me as a happy-go-lucky person. I generally tend to go with the flow and I am quite easy-going. People generally enjoy my company because I can relate to a variety of things and I am quite the funny guy.

What sets you apart from the other bakers?

I think I am quite unique. I love my things to taste good and be Instagrammable. I always try new things and it works out well most of the time

What are you most nervous about in the competition?

Leaving the competition first! My mother will literally disown me.

If you could describe yourself as a type of cake, what would it be and why?

Hmmmm… an angel cake because I am so angelic? Just kidding! I think I would be a multi-layered sponge cake with many different fillings and sponges. I think that would describe my dynamic personality best. The frosting would look all rustic and laid-back. I would taste good though… but not EVERYONE is going to love me.

If you could bake a cake for anyone, who would it be for and why?

I am already baking for the people I want to. Those who enjoy my baking and those I want to spoil.

What slogan would you have emblazoned on your apron?

This is kind of geeky. But if you did math at university you would get it: | delicious |

It is delicious between modulus. In math, we call it the absolute function. You would say “absolutely delicious” and much like the math function, my baking does not have a negative side. (Absolute function can never be negative.)

The Great South African Bake Off

Shainaaz

Home town: Cape Town
Occupation: Client care representative
Age: 41

How did you get into baking?

Through watching and helping my mom and grandfather bake.

What’s your signature dish?

My cupcakes and novelty birthday cakes.

What type of cook are you?

I’m an organised baker who sets out all ingredients and equipment beforehand.

What’s your most memorable cooking disaster?

I made a carrot cake for a friend and as I added the finishing icing on the cake, it slid off the turntable and landed in a sink filled with dishwater.

How would other people describe you?

Sweet as my cakes.

What sets you apart from the other bakers?

I think we are all unique in our own way, but I think that I attempt to take pride in the goods I bake.

What are you most nervous about in the competition?

The showstoppers.

If you could describe yourself as a type of cake, what would it be and why?

A chocolate éclair. I’m all-round comfy, sweet and soft gooey inside.

If you could bake a cake for anyone, who would it be for and why?

I have three nieces and nephews who live with their parents in Saudi Arabia. If I could make a cake it would be for these little ones, as I never get to celebrate their birthdays with them.

What slogan would you have emblazoned on your apron?

I bake... what is your superpower?

The Great South African Bake Off

Shawn

Home town: Benoni
Occupation: Design and production manager
Age: 39

How did you get into baking?

I started baking as a child at home. Saturday afternoon would be spent in the kitchen with my sister baking for Sunday tea. There were lots of oopsies but eventually we managed to get it down. It was tougher watching family members pretending to enjoy everything just to keep our confidence levels up.

What’s your signature dish?

In baking everyone always requests red velvet cakes and my eggless chai or ginger cake. From a cooking point of view, everyone loves my lasagne and haddock and prawn pies.

What type of cook are you?

I hate cooking as a duty. Give me a recipe and tell me to experiment with it, swap out ingredients or push it to the next level. I thoroughly enjoy Heston Blumenthal’s scientific approach to food perfection.

What’s your most memorable cooking disaster?

There have been many and I can’t remember them because they have been so traumatic and I have blocked them out. I once made chicken lasagne that was so salty I could see the moisture dry up on people faces. Then I tried a savoury macaroon and tried to balance the sweetness of it with salt. That did not turn out too well.

How would other people describe you?

Upbeat, a people person, nurturer, trendy, enjoy entertaining people and seeing them have fun.

What sets you apart from the other bakers?

I think I am quite inventive with flavours and combinations. I also try getting the technicality of the bakes correct.

What are you most nervous about in the competition?

Timing. I am a bit of a leisure baker. I have been known to bake one cake over days. I need to keep track of the time so that I am not falling short towards the end. That’s if I make it to the end.

If you could describe yourself as a type of cake, what would it be and why?

I would be an unfussy easy-going cheesecake with not too many frills, just good depth of flavour and delicious to the last morsel.

If you could bake a cake for anyone, who would it be for and why?

I would like to bake for Prue Leith or Michel Roux Jr. I want them to taste the cake and tell me everything that is wrong with it and how I can improve it. I think they are oracles. Then afterwards we can pretend to be long-lost friends and laugh over coffee.

What slogan would you have emblazoned on your apron?

Cake laaitie!

Just kidding...

Shaken! Whipped! And stirred!

The Great South African Bake Off

Teddy

Home town: Johannesburg
Occupation: Property manager
Age: 42

When did you get into baking?

From an early age I’ve always loved baking. I would fake being sick in order to not go to school, so that I could stay at home and bake with my sister.

What’s your signature dish?

French madeleines.

What type of cook are you?

Simple and rustic.

What’s your most memorable cooking disaster?

There was this one time where a chocolate lava cake exploded in my brand new oven. That was a good oven…

How would other people describe you?

Humble, friendly and always willing to help.

What sets you apart from the other bakers?

I’ve got the strength of a South African and the passion of a Lebanese. With that being said, I’m not going down without a fight.

What are you most nervous about in the competition?

A sinking showstopper sponge cake.

If you could describe yourself as a type of cake, what would it be and why?

A croquembouche: the strong silent type that is easy on the eyes.

If you could bake a cake for anyone, who would it be for and why?

I would bake for Paul Hollywood and it wouldn’t be a cake, it would be a loaf of ciabatta.

What slogan would you have emblazoned on your apron?

Memento vivere. (Remember to live.)

Next on...

Episode 10, Series 2

Tuesday September 12 at 20:00

Series 2, Episode 10

The Bake Off comes to South Africa. Join a host of amateur bakers as they compete to be named South Africa's best home baker, where thrills, spills and shortcrust await.

Episode 10, Series 2

Wednesday September 13 at 15:15

Series 2, Episode 10

The Bake Off comes to South Africa. Join a host of amateur bakers as they compete to be named South Africa's best home baker, where thrills, spills and shortcrust await.

Episode 10, Series 2

Saturday September 16 at 06:00

Series 2, Episode 10

The Bake Off comes to South Africa. Join a host of amateur bakers as they compete to be named South Africa's best home baker, where thrills, spills and shortcrust await.

Episode 10, Series 2

Saturday September 16 at 12:35

Series 2, Episode 10

The Bake Off comes to South Africa. Join a host of amateur bakers as they compete to be named South Africa's best home baker, where thrills, spills and shortcrust await.

Episode 10, Series 2

Saturday September 16 at 23:50

Series 2, Episode 10

The Bake Off comes to South Africa. Join a host of amateur bakers as they compete to be named South Africa's best home baker, where thrills, spills and shortcrust await.

Episode 1, Series 3

Tuesday October 17 at 20:00

1/10

BBC Lifestyle

Inspiration for home, family and life.

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South African audiences have access to five BBC TV channels: BBC Entertainment, BBC Lifestyle, BBC Knowledge, CBeebies and BBC World News.

Judges and presenters

GSABO S2 - Judges

Shirley Guy

Role Judge

What attracted you to being a Bake Off judge?

I love working with people, and the opportunity to share some of my knowledge and to offer constructive criticism to baking enthusiasts has been an exciting experience.

What has been your biggest baking triumph to date?

Filling a dream for a couples wedding. Everything (for 100 guests) had to be pink, white, chocolate and caramel. The invitation invited you to join them for Champagne, Dessert and coffee. The only savoury was a smoked salmon and caviar chequer-board!

What has been the worst baking disaster of your career?

Many years ago I took a 5 tiered wedding cake to Durban. Arriving late I left the cake and all the filigree icing pieces (in shirt boxes) in the car. In the morning I found that everything had been stolen. However the bottom tier was in the driveway, well dusted with ants and the shirt boxes thrown away in disgust on the embankment. With the help of the hotel I managed to repair a lot of the icing and assemble 3 tiers – completing the task 10 minutes before the guests arrived.

What signature bake would you most like to be remembered for?

A fabulous chocolate cake filled with Amaretto custard and topped with a bitter ganache. Finally wrapped in a rolled white and dark chocolate ribbon.

What inspires you to keep cooking and baking?

Its what I do! I find the preparation relaxing and being artistic, I love the final results –followed by the Ooh’s and ahh’s of my guests.

What has been the best piece of baking advice you have ever been given?

Bake with love.

What one baking gadget could you simply not live without in your kitchen?

Large gadget – my Kenwood chef. Small gadget - my microplane.

What are your top three golden tips for baking?

Preparation is vital. Prepare your pans in advance. Measure all your ingredients (accurately) onto a tray. Set a timer – this prevents over baking and even burning your bake.

From your extensive global culinary travels, what country’s baking traditions have impressed you the most?

France. In general, the French use traditional methods, the best ingredients, and do not try to cut the costs.

GSABO S2 - Judges

Tjaart Walraven

Role Judge

What attracted you to being a Bake Off judge?

I think the Bake Off format demonstrates quality, talent and consistency with a global following that is well respected along with a great viewership base. With my passion and any foodie evaluation based on desserts or bakes, I felt I had something to offer and inspire the next set of passionate bakers.

What has been your biggest baking triumph to date?

My biggest baking triumph consists of 3 celebration cakes.

That formed part of a dessert centrepiece. All for a distinguished client, however I can disclose that Switzerland, Italy and South Africa were the destinations for each piece in the space of a week.

What has been the worst baking disaster of your career?

I recall when doing a live show and entertaining a crowd, a hundred strong, I had a caramel on the stove for the final phase of my Croquembouche and the sugar started to crystalize. I remember turning off the heat while talking away with my mind running at a thousand miles, what do I do?

So I grabbed some hazelnuts from the pantry, threw them in, mixed like hell thinking I would make a frosted nut brittle and place shards on top. That ended in a disaster too! So ended up placing candy floss on top, cannot remember why it was on set, but sometimes things are there for a reason. Always have a plan B up your sleeve and wing it!

What signature bake would you most like to be remembered for?

My Orange Beurre Noisette Brioche loaf. The smell of that baking first thing in the morning, utter bliss. Breakfast in bed special.

What inspires you to keep cooking and baking?

The collision of flavours marrying and exploding together, a splash of a beverage thrown in for good measure and the experience people share with their faces really make it worth while to keep going.

The gastronomic element also awakens my passion. The fashion and trends along with a dash of SA flavour (ha ha) push you to do something even better next time.

What has been the best piece of baking advice you have ever been given?

Pastry work to be done early in the morning when everything is cold. Bake during the day when it is warm.

Consistency is key to baking success. Think small but powerful elements.

What one baking gadget could you simply not live without in your kitchen?

My rolling pin. Has many variable uses, and gives you a good work out if you are really doing some serious baking!

What are your top three golden tips for baking?

  1. Butter and only ever butter!
  2. Use your senses, however touch has the most incredible wealth of information.
  3. Do not be afraid to experiment, push the boundaries within the science; failure is the greatest lesson, never give up and start again!

What is your most memorable memory of working with Raymond Blanc?

Has to be a series of learning memories. RB would literally take me by the hand when I was actually doing something incorrectly or very wrongly (seriously JNR then ha ha) and showed me how to do it correctly. The experience to grow is forever memorable. His passion to create and be the best lives on in what I do today. He secured a wealth of confidence in me.

Hubs 2, Profiles

Anne Hirsch

Role Presenter

What attracted you to being a Bake Off presenter?

It’s something I never would have imagined doing in a million years. But with BBC and Rapid Blue at the helm, how could I say no? Also, I was attracted by the tongue-in-cheek nature of the show, and it really is just a lot of fun. I like projects that are slightly out of my comfort zone, keeps me on my toes. Also, free food!

What would you bake to impress Shirley and Tjaart?

If I wanted to impress the likes of Shirley and Tjaart I would bake absolutely nothing. I’m a pretty awful cook and nobody deserves to have to taste my concoctions. Although I love the idea of baking and I love the passion that goes into it. If I had the skill, I would love to be able to make a good baked cheesecake…sigh, a girl can dream.

How do you think you’ll deal with an emotional contestant who has a flop bake on their hands and no time to fix it?

You have to remember that the bakers are going to put so much love into these bakes that it can get very emotional, there’s a lot of pressure. But one also needs to remember to have fun. The presenters are there to support the bakers. There are three challenges in each episode, so they can overcome a flop and…well, someone else might flop more than them. It is a competition after all.

Cupcakes. Discuss….

Pretty much my favourite baked treat. Nothing says festive celebration like a cupcake. Also I like things that I can eat without a plate, it means I can eat more of them, faster.

How much cake is too much cake?

There is no such thing as too much cake. I’ll have to side with Marie Antoinette on this one!

Where do you stand on shop-bought pastry?

Er, convenient? Probably the only pastry that will ever see the light of day in my kitchen. But for these bakers and judges, I’m sure it’s regarded as the Kardashian of the baking world.

Any tips for avoiding a soggy bottom?

Ah, the notorious soggy bottom! Any baker’s biggest fear. I’m just looking forward to saying ‘soggy bottom’ on BBC, without being slammed with a BCCSA complaint!

Hubs 2, Profiles

Lentswe Bengu

Role Presenter

What attracted you to being a Bake Off presenter? Having watched GBBO and followed the success of SABO season 1, who wouldn’t want to be part of such a franchise. Being a chef (not a baker) I am automatically drawn to any cooking program, especially one that mixes clever humour and reality drama.

What would you bake to impress Shirley and Tjaart? My tangy Lemon Tart, it's a Marco Pierre White recipe from the 70's and it’s a definite winner.

How do you think you’ll deal with an emotional contestant who has a flop bake on their hands and no time to fix it? Keep them calm, remind them of why they love baking so much and make sure I motivate them enough to at least plate up something for the judge's to evaluate.

Who would win a bake off between you and Anne? Hahaha, Anne once boiled an egg and burnt the pot. Yes, that’s all I'm going to say.

Cupcakes. Discuss…. Many cupcakes at party are a clever substitute for one big cake.

How much cake is too much cake? When they have to wheel you out of the party in a stretcher, you know you've had too much Madeira.

Where do you stand on shop-bought pastry? Unless you're making a gift for a significant friend/ family, I see no problem in buying pastry.

Any tips for avoiding a soggy bottom? Always poke holes on the bottom the blind bake your pastry, with baking beans on and without. Don't forget to brush the bottom with egg wash.