If you’ve gone to a supermarket recently and noticed that flour, butter, and eggs keep selling out, the return of The Great British Bake Off may be your answer.

As 12 new bakers take to the iconic tent each week, seeing one crowned the Star Baker and the others bowing out.

The traditional format of The Great British Bake Off sees the bakers take on three tasks: a signature bake, a technical challenge, and a show-stopper.

Whilst all three of the challenges are entertaining, there is one that keeps viewers and bakers alike at the edge of their seats - the technical challenge.

Each week bakers are tasked to bake an unknown item with little recipe and guidance and it typically ends in some sort of nightmare.

As a keen baker, I thought why not try out a technical challenge myself and see if they really are as hard as The Great British Bake Off makes them look?

You can see the full recipe for Paul Hollywood's Red Velvet Cake here.

@uktoday_ I tried the #greatbritishbakeoff red velvet cake technical challenge and it didn't go to plan! #baking ♬ Bon Appétit - The Great British Bake Off

How hard are The Great British Bake Off's technical challenges?

Looking through the many Bake Off technical challenges, I went with the classic and personal favourite, the Red Velvet Cake.

With its traditionally soft sponges and smooth cream cheese icing, I, slightly delusionally, went into the process thinking it would be easy.

I was very wrong.

Trying to be as close to the show as I could be, I was able to work out the limited recipe they use in Bake Off and came up with this:

  1. Make the Red Velvet batter.
  2. Divide batter equally over 3 tins.
  3. Bake
  4. Make the cream cheese icing. Divide between two bowls and chill.
  5. Level cakes and slice so you have 6 sponges total (keep the cut-offs)
  6. Using 1 bowl of icing, assemble the layers.
  7. To decorate, readily coat the layers.
  8. Sprinkle crumbs around the bottom of the cake.
  9. Pipe rosettes and sprinkle crumbs.

On the show, they give the bakers a full list of ingredients with measurements, which felt like a nice touch to ease the pain of the situation.

Recipe and ingredients at the ready, I preheated the oven, set the challenge timer to 2 hours, and began my attempt at The Great British Bake Off technical challenge.

News Shopper: The batter.The batter. (Image: Newsquest)

Going into the bake confidently, I started as I normally would when baking a cake by mixing the butter and sugar, but as I moved onto what would normally be eggs and flour, I realised that I did not know the recipe for a red velvet cake.

With buttermilk, cocoa powder, red food colouring, baking soda and salt all left to still go in the mix, unaware, I just measured and added them all at once.

Thinking the dumping of the ingredients would end in catastrophe, I was surprised when the mix looked fine.

But there was one big element missing. The batter was not red.

With the cake's namesake missing, I decided to add more red food colouring, no change, more colouring, still no change, more colouring and yet still no change.

Left looking like a chocolate cake, I didn’t want to add more red dye in fear the flavour of the colouring would be overpowering and ruin the whole cake.

The batter was finally done and in tins, I popped the non-red, red velvet cake in the oven praying it would somehow magically come out red.

Whilst the cake was baking, I moved on to the icing, stressed from the challenge timer counting down with very few instructions at hand.

News Shopper: The baked cakes.The baked cakes. (Image: Newsquest)

Nevertheless, I found the small ounce of confidence I had left and began making the icing, which luckily for me was the easiest part of this whole experience.

Whilst I’m not sure if it’s the correct way of making the icing, this time dumping all the ingredients in at once and mixing seemed to do the job as I was left with perfectly smooth and sweet cream cheese icing.

Time to ice!

Now, with a baked cake and chilled icing, I was ready to assemble and cut the sponges in half to make six layers.

However, here’s where things took a turn and I decided there were more important things in life than a Paul Hollywood handshake.

As one of my sponges had cracked in the middle and if I dared go near it with a knife, I feared it may have exploded into thousands of crumbs.

Leaving the cakes unsliced, with just three layers instead of the asked for six, I began icing and tried my best to create perfectly smooth and even layers.

News Shopper: Icing the cake.Icing the cake. (Image: Newsquest)

The recipe asks for piped rosettes, but I’ve never been a fantastic piper and my icing comes out looking more Jackson Pollock than Prue Leith.

But nonetheless, I began and made six rosettes, all be it slightly off-looking and not perfect looking (but still tasty).

Icing piped and crumbs sprinkled, my masterpiece was done with just seconds left on the timer.

Now it was time for the judging.

No Paul Hollywood handshake for me

Whilst I might not have Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith on hand, I did have some experts in cake tasting by my side.

Calling them Chocolate cake, Lemon drizzle, and Victoria sponge, they each had their own surprising opinion.

Chocolate cake said it was rich but heavy and felt moist, maybe too moist, however, they did give me praise for the icing which they said wasn’t super sugary.

News Shopper: The final product.The final product. (Image: Newsquest)

On the other hand, Lemon Drizzle wasn’t such a fan of the icing as they gave a not-so-family-friendly comment on the icing.

But Lemon Drizzle did say that the cake was firm with a pleasant flavour and not too sweet.

Finally, Victorica Sponge simply said: “It’s not handshake-worthy or red”.

Coming to terms that my chance of getting a Paul Hollywood handshake was long gone, I reflected on the slightly chaotic experience, and I decided I would never be baking a red velvet cake again.

Whilst it may have tasted nice, the stress of doing it all in two hours with little guidance is not for the faint-hearted.

However, I do now have a newfound respect for The Great British Bake Off contestants, even if I am slightly jealous of their skills.