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Jacksons Bake Off

Happy New Year readers. I hope you haven’t tried to make a new year’s resolution of a fad diet or no cakes, because this article won’t be for you… it’s all about the Great British Bake Off (GBBO), something the team here at Jacksons are very passionate about.

The office is always abuzz when we see who the new contestants are. We start by putting the contestants’ names in a hat, and all of ours in another, and pull names out to match a GBBO contestant with a JMFP member. There are always a couple of double-ups as there are so many of us now, but that’s all the more fun as it means all the more bakes for the office. Each time a contestant leaves the show, the assigned JMFP members bake something at home to bring in and share with the team. 

A fair few of us then tune in every Tuesday to watch the show and we have a strict no spoilers rule in the team WhatsApp chat as we wait to see which contestant gets booted off. We then await our team member’s bakes by a deadline of the following Tuesday. Rules are rules!

We've had so many amazing bakes this year, starting with Amos who left the show way too early, in everyone’s opinion. Although, it meant Pete S brought us in the most amazing devil’s food cake. He really set the bar for all the bakes that followed. 

We had red velvet cake from Jacob, and apple cake from Paul W; focaccia from Tegen and chilli bread from TC… well, almost, he and his partner Sarah got Covid so couldn’t bring it in, but they enjoyed it at home. An attempt at cheesecake from Toby H failed last minute. His son, Harrison, enjoyed a large helping of Eton mess style cheesecake. Toby then whipped up some perfectly baked brownies instead. 

Mark made pecan, cinnamon and maple syrup rolls (or bricks, as Mark called them, recommending a quick blast in the microwave before eating to save on dentistry bills) and we had scrummy sausage rolls from Paul J. We had festive themed treats from Tracey with mince-pie filled flapjacks (they were simply amazing) and Elliot’s Amaretti biscuits (these were the highlight for me, we were all fighting over them, I think TC maybe had 3?!) which really made up for his ‘cowpat cookies’ from 2022 that we may still poke fun at from time to time in the office. Sharon made some super cheese muffins using her daughter’s recipe, which went down a treat.

Pete M and I had Cristy this year and were rooting for her week in week out, but spoiler alert, she didn’t win. So, Pete made the most pristine party rings and I tried a ‘Cristy the Caterpillar’. Carrie brought in a delicious boozy Tart au Pomme the same day too, so it was a triple bake week - not good for the waistline!

Matty won, which meant Chas and Hayley get the ‘eternal glory’ for the year, but of course still had to bake. Hayley brought in a timely festive cheese selection (cop out on the 'baking rule', but who doesn’t like cheese. I think she got away with it.) and Chas….we are still waiting for your bake you know?!

All in all, a fantastic set of bakes for 2023. We also have our very own Paul Jollywood (just tried to coin that, not sure it works) in the form of Paul Jackson, who gives out handshakes to bakes he considers worthy. I think we had a total of eight this year, a new record.

Of course, we don’t force people to participate, but one of the four main rules are, if you don’t sign-up to bake, you don’t get to eat the bakes. So, this is a polite notice to anyone looking to join our team, bring an apron and your a-game! 

Without wishing the year away as we have so many things to be excited about this year at Jacksons, I can’t wait for 2024s challenge to do it all again. 

Demi-Leigh Gilks