The Extreme Cake Makers take on Christmas

by Fiona Rae / 23 December, 2018
RelatedArticlesModule - Extreme Cake Makers

Extreme Cake Makers, Christmas Eve.

"Mr Christmas" and others deploy a whole lot of love and brandy to bring us sweet escapism in Extreme Cake Makers. 

The year of 2018 has been many things, but we, apropos of nothing, are declaring it the year of cake. After all, that’s better than the year of Trump, Brexit, global warming, refugees or #metoo.

We have enjoyed a lot of on-screen cake-making in 2018, not least our own version of The Great British Bake Off, the series that somehow became part of the fabric of British life, spurring an interest in home baking and a revival of the Women’s Institute.

Whether The Great Kiwi Bake Off will have the same effect is unclear – is there even such a thing as a New Zealand Women’s Institute?* – but the show, with its improbable Kiwi bakers and showstoppers that can be destroyed by five extra minutes in the oven, is the best kind of escapism.

Which probably explains the popularity of Extreme Cake Makers (TVNZ 1, Christmas Eve, 7.00pm), the UK show that rated so well last summer that Seven Sharp’s nervous new hosts felt they had to start with a silly cake-making skit. Hilary Barry lamented the loss of the series, commenting that viewers “may get it back if we don’t rate”.

Cake, like fire, is present at most human celebrations and this particular episode of Extreme Cake Makers is a Christmas special featuring an epic gingerbread house, a 60cm-tall reindeer cake and six Christmas cakes delicately painted to look like presents.

The extreme cake-makers love Christmas, of course: former tattoo artist Ben describes himself as “Mr Christmas”.

His challenge is to make a reindeer cake for a reindeer lodge’s staff Christmas party. Yes, a reindeer lodge in the UK. Santa must use it for a stopover.

“I’ve never seen a reindeer before today,” says Ben, “and now I’ve got to make a reindeer cake for people who spend their entire lives around reindeer. That’s pressure.”

In Cornwall, cake-bakers Phil and Christine have a commission from a luxury stationery company that involves making small, square Christmas cakes that look like beautiful little boxes.

One features gold leaf and scenes from the nativity, hand-painted by Phil.

On the inside is last year’s Christmas cake, marinated for a year “with a whole lot of brandy and a whole lot of love”, says Phil.

The sugar rush continues in Lancashire, where Molly is making a massive gingerbread house for a local sweet shop. It’s almost a shame to eat it. Almost.

*You bet. Read all about it here.

This article was first published in the December 22, 2018 issue of the New Zealand Listener.

Latest

The National get in touch with their feminine side in I Am Easy to Find
107163 2019-06-19 00:00:00Z Music

The National get in touch with their feminine side…

by James Belfield

As The National announce two intimate theatre shows in Auckland, James Belfield reviews their brave and collaborative new album.

Read more
German violinist Carolin Widmann brings her daring style to NZ
107272 2019-06-19 00:00:00Z Music

German violinist Carolin Widmann brings her daring…

by Elizabeth Kerr

The award-winning musician will make her NZSO debut playing Stravinsky’s only violin concerto.

Read more
In defence of NZ Rugby boss Steve Tew
107277 2019-06-19 00:00:00Z Sport

In defence of NZ Rugby boss Steve Tew

by Paul Thomas

Naysayers may rail against rugby’s continued “corporatisation” under Steve Tew, but he’s given them plenty to applaud as well.

Read more
How New Zealand's community newspapers are bucking the trend
107362 2019-06-19 00:00:00Z Life in NZ

How New Zealand's community newspapers are bucking…

by Venetia Sherson

Community newspapers are bucking the trend, as enterprising new owners breath life back into them.

Read more
What filmmaker Andrea Bosshard learned from her goldsmith father Kobi
107381 2019-06-19 00:00:00Z Life in NZ

What filmmaker Andrea Bosshard learned from her go…

by Ken Downie

Filmmaker Andrea Bosshard inherited a creative streak from her goldsmith father Kobi but he also taught her an important life lesson.

Read more
Will Uber disrupt itself with its Jump scooters?
107383 2019-06-19 00:00:00Z Tech

Will Uber disrupt itself with its Jump scooters?

by Peter Griffin

Around 800 electric scooters arrived in Wellington this week, with local start-up Flamingo and Uber-owned Jump launching at virtually the same time.

Read more
Libra: Why Facebook is the best and worst company to create a cryptocurrency
107416 2019-06-19 00:00:00Z Tech

Libra: Why Facebook is the best and worst company…

by Peter Griffin

There is a strong incentive for Facebook to own the crypto space, the way it has social media.

Read more
Win a double pass to Yesterday
107340 2019-06-18 09:48:44Z Win

Win a double pass to Yesterday

by The Listener

Yesterday, everyone knew The Beatles. Today, only Jack remembers their songs. He’s about to become a very big deal.

Read more