Channel 4's The Great British Bake Off returned this evening for season 12, as viewers were introduced to a new batch of amateur bakers ready to impress judges Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith, and get that Star Baker title.


After a comical musical performance from the judges and hosts, the Great British Bake Off 2021 contestants got stuck in to Week One, also known as Cake Week.

Although still very early, it's often possible to spot the strongest contenders from the off. Take last year's winner Peter for instance, who was crowned Star Baker in Week One after wowing with his cake bust of Sir Chris Hoy. Similarly, finalist Dave was also one of the show's favourites from very early on.

  • You can hear Prue Leith talking to RT's Jane Garvey about the return of The Great British Bake Off on the Radio Times Podcast

However, after watching the first episode of series 12, it was impossible to pick out one particular baker who stood out from the rest, with the competition this year at an all time high.

Of course, Jürgen was crowned this week's Star Baker, as the judges loved his Black Forest mini rolls, and his gravity defying Showstopper not only looked good, but tasted great too. But, it could have easily have been one of the other bakers, with Crystelle, and Freya also receiving high praise for their floral bakes during the Showstopper Challenge.

Great British Bake Off 2021 contestant Jurgen
Great British Bake Off 2021 contestant Jurgen Channel 4

Last year, we predicted that Peter would win the crown, however, this year I think we could be in for a surprise when it comes to the Bake Off 2021 winner, which could make series 12 very exciting for viewers due to the healthy competition.

With it being the bakers' very first day in the tent, first time nerves and jitters were to be expected, but what we actually saw in the first episode was a really confident, and ambitious bunch of bakers who hit the ground running.

Very few played it safe, with psychology student, Freya - who is the youngest in the competition at just 19-years-old - opting for gluten free and vegan bakes, and Rochica making her mini rolls from spelt flour as a nod to her health-conscious dad.

Great British Bake Off 2021
Great British Bake Off 2021 Channel 4

Retired nurse and midwife Maggie ditched the flour altogether, and chose a tricky, meringue-based batter for the Signature challenge, which (despite concerns from Prue) worked!

They weren't the only ones who shone either, with engineer Giuseppe delivering one of the neatest bakes I've ever seen on the series. Using a ruler, the 45-year-old dad from Bristol measured each mini roll so they were exactly 8cm each, and displayed the most perfect swirl on each end (if there ever was a public vote, he'd have mine solely based on that!).

But as we moved into the Technical Challenge, the competition became even tighter, with Maggie coming first and Freya right behind her. What was perhaps most interesting about this score was the fact that Prue had told the bakers before they started the challenge that a malt loaf would be more familiar to the bakers over the age of 35, and here we had teenager Freya acing it.

By the Showstopper, it was hard to tell who'd be earning the Star Baker title and who'd be going home because most of the bakers managed to present anti-gravity bakes with good flavours, and it was only really Jairzeno and Tom who completely messed up their bakes.

With so many bakers showing promise from the start, the Bake Off 2021 title could be anyone's game, which could make season 12 so much more enjoyable as we keep tuning in to watch the fierce competition.

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The heaps of talent, and minimal errors is bound to keep us guessing and having to rethink who we thought might be this year's Ultimate Star Baker - and we'll no doubt be hanging off the edge of our seats until Paul and Prue, and Noel and Matt deliver the good and bad news.


The Great British Bake Off airs Tuesdays on Channel 4 at 8pm. Looking for something else to watch? Check out our TV Guide or visit our hub for more Entertainment news.