Over the past few seasons, The Great British Bake Off Baking Show has tried to broaden the baking horizons of its audience with internationally-inspired theme weeks. Two years ago we were treated to a Malaysian kek lapis sarawak showstopper which, because it was presented by without any sort of cultural or religious context, led to some irritated rumblings across the internet. Last year, Japanese Week managed to increase those rumblings by a solid 650%.
So this year, seemingly learning that they can not be trusted to celebrate diversity, the great minds behind The Great British Baking Show decided to teach the world about the culture of Germany, a country that’s nearly impossible to complain about or make fun of in any conceivable way. Just like Britain herself, Germany is centuries old, exactly 87.2 percent white, and you can fly roundtrip from London to Dusseldorf in less time than it takes to make a prinzregententorte. There is absolutely no way they could find a way to fuck this u—
So close, guys. So close.
Coincidentally, GBBO’s decided to hold its first ever German Week during a season that features a 56-year-old German physicist who, no surprise, his been kicking the shit out of just about every other baker in the tent since all Germans come out of the womb with a post-graduate engineering degree. There’s only one contestant who has given Jürgen any sort of serious competition, but he does not strike the same sort of fear into the hearts of his fellow bakers since he didn’t get his engineering degree til he was a full-grown adult, and because he has not once sacrificed a bread baby on international television.
Everyone assumes Jürgen is going to be crowned Star Baker of German Week, because if he doesn’t, it will be the most embarrassing thing to happen to Germany since the sex cannibal scandal of 2001. Even though he admits to feeling the pressure, he still comes out of the gate strong, making utterly flawless biscuits that earn him a Paul Hollywood Handshake™, and making us all a little bit wiser on the topic of German culture. Before this challenge, none of us could tell a sternenleuchten from a glühwein-plätzchen, and look at us now! Barely 20 minutes into this episode we are well on our way to plätzchen proficiency, and we know how Germans wish each other good luck.
In the first truly shocking moment of the season, Jürgen reveals that he has never, ever made a prinzregententorte before! Meanwhile, German kids learn how to make this eight-layer, custard-filled, ganache-coated, chantilly-dolloped cake with miniature gold-leaf tempered-chocolate crowns in kindergarten, so I don’t know what the fuck is going on with this man. Maybe the pressure is getting to him, or maybe he was too busy dicking around with a his trombone instead of paying attention in class.
At the very least, Jürgen is able to remember that every layer needs to be precisely five millimeters high, so this round isn’t a complete disaster for him. However, when Jürgen falters, Giuseppe gets a chance to Shake-n-Bake his way into first place, and that, he does.
Somehow, in a year of gravity-defying cakes, interactive three-dimensional biscuit toys, and multiple milk bread octopuses, the German Week showstopper challenge was not “Romanesque Gingerbread Cathedral” or “A.I.-integrated Baumkuchen,” but instead, a simple stack of yeast-risen cakes. Do you have any idea how easy it is to make a yeast-risen cake?! German people have been making these cakes since they were living in candy-coated shacks deep in the Black woods, slapping their batters together by eye and intuition, and baking in wood-fired hearths while patiently waiting for plump, juicy children to stumble into their hunting traps.
This is no challenge, and Jürgen wholeheartedly agrees, saying how stupid the challenge is straight to the judge’s smarmy British faces. They responded by telling a German man that his German yeast cake was “too breakfasty,” because it wouldn’t be a true GBBO international theme week without Paul and Prue making fucking idiots out of themselves.
Since Jürgen doesn’t understand German desserts as well as Paul and Prue do, he loses German Week, and Giuseppe takes the Star Baker crown for the second time. Halfway through the season and two wins a piece, we are officially embroiled in a full-blown engineer-off between Jürgen and Giuseppe, which hopefully means that next week we’ll be getting robots made of hot water pastry and a luscious Bavarian cream filling.