The Great British Bake Off is a competition series that both baking aficionados and those with absolutely no experience can enjoy. With the series’ happy relaxing music and the joyful comradery of the contestants, it is an easy watch that is perfect for winding down at the end of a long and stressful day.

While the baking show isn’t a cutthroat competition full of drama, that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t ever have its dramatic moments. There is plenty of excitement over the seasons from baking accidents to ingredient faux pas and the occasional disagreement between competitors. These combined situations create not only an entertaining show to watch but a few truly cringy moments.


John’s Salt Incident

John Whaite was a contestant on the 2012 season of Bake Off, and one of the show’s first 10 winners. While the young and very polite John ended up being the winner of that season, things did not always go smoothly for him.

When the judges tasked the contestants with making some delicious Rum Babas in their first week on the show, John accidentally used salt instead of sugar. The result was a completely inedible version of the desert. Audiences cringed as they watched the judges immediately spit out the desert, but thankfully, John was still safe.

An Upsidedown Pineapple Upsidedown Cake

Technical challenges can be extremely stressful, with contestants doing everything in their power to rank higher than their competitors during the blind taste test. However, sometimes things happen that are completely out of their control.

When the judges requested Pineapple Upsidedown Cakes from the contestants, contestant Dave was fairly sure he had done well. That is until fellow contestant Sura accidentally knocked them onto the floor. The action was unintentional, with a devastated Sura doing everything she could to help make the cakes ready to present to the judges, leaving viewers feeling sorry for both contestants. Thankfully, the judges were told about the situation and only judged the unaffected cakes, but Sura still felt horrible and it was a truly cringeworthy Bake Off moment.

Ruby’s Vegan Cake

Vegan baking is no easy task, with ingredients like eggs being important for binding other ingredients together. So on the show’s “Vegan Week,” contestants were faced with the real challenge of using vegan-friendly ingredients in order to still end up with a solid desert.

This challenge truly tested some of the bakers, such as one of the Bake Off‘s most popular contestants, Ruby, who decided to construct a two-tiered chocolate, lemon, and coconut cake. Her idea was ambitious but unfortunately didn’t pay off. The sloppy mess never really held together and audiences were left cringing as the contestants were forced to helplessly watch the cake topple over from the outside of the tent.

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Mary’s Rookie Mistake

Once again, the pressures of the technical challenge left some contestants making mistakes that they normally wouldn’t have dreamed of. When the judges requested some delicious Arlettes, many contestants were unfamiliar with the puff pastry cookies, but they soldiered on.

Contestant Mary successfully combined her ingredients and had her dozen lovely-looking cookies ready for the oven. She confidently put them in and had only to wait, feeling she had the challenge in the bag. With only a few minutes left on the clock, however, she realized that she had made a major error: she never turned on the oven, resulting in one of the Bake Off‘s worst bakes ever. With only a few mostly raw cookies to present to the judges, she was sent home that episode.

Sue Puts Her Elbow In a Muffin

Not every cringy moment on The Great British Baking Show is a result of the contestants themselves. The show hosts will often walk from contestant to contestant as they bake, asking questions and making jokes.

When the judges tasked the contestants with making English Muffins, host Sue leaned over Howard’s bench to get a good look and unknowingly smashed a couple of his muffins that were covered with a cloth. The result was a muffin with a perfect elbow-shaped dent in it. A devastated Sue made sure to explain to the judges what had happened, but it was still an uncomfortable moment for the poor show host.

Mel Knocks Over A Cookie Tower

Sue wasn’t the only host who made a mess of things. The hosts try to be as helpful as possible to the contestants without crossing any lines, but sometimes they end up getting in the way more than helping.

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Another of the show’s hosts, Mel, did just this when she attempted to help make sure that contestant Frances’ cookie tower met the 30 centimeters required minimum height. Just as she announced “Yup, you’re okay!” the meticulously constructed tower toppled over. Mel was immediately remorseful and was sure to explain to the judges what had happened, and Frances was judged accordingly. However, the scene left viewers feeling that Mel may have been a little overzealous and this cringeworthy moment could have easily been avoided.

Deborah Steals Custard

Every Bake Off fan knows that the English Trifle is a staple dessert that every contestant feels pressured to get exactly right, but some contestants may buckle under that pressure a little more than others.

After contestant Deborah placed her soupy custard in the fridge to set, she was pleased to find a good thick custard when she went back for it.  She added it to her desert only to discover that it was not her custard after all and that she had unknowingly stolen Howard’s custard, who was then forced to add her soupy custard to his desert. She seemed very upset by her mistake, and the judges took the mix-up into account, but viewers still felt that the cringy situation could have been sneaky sabotage.

John’s Medical Emergency

John certainly had to get through a lot before taking home that Bake Off prize. Between his ingredient mix-ups and kitchen mishaps, it’s amazing that he managed to secure a win to begin with.

On Pudding Week, John accidentally sliced his hand open on the blade of a food processor. He tried to bandage the wound and wear gloves, but he quickly realized that the glove was filling with blood when it began to trickle down his arm. The wound ended up being so serious that he had to leave the tent to receive medical attention. Many viewers had not expected to see so much blood on that episode, leaving many uncomfortable and a little queasy.

The Male Judge

In the 2014 season, Nancy was the talented baker who brought home the first prize. She certainly proved to the judges that she deserved that spot, but she wasn’t always their favorite.

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When Nancy was trying to talk to one of the hosts about the difficult-to-please Bake Off Judge Paul Hollywood, she realized that she could not remember his name. She ended up simply referring to him as the “male judge” which resulted in a chuckle from everyone within earshot. Eventually, the nickname made it’s way back to Paul, who made sure to give Nancy a hard time for forgetting him. While the teasing was all in good fun, the audience got the impression that Paul was slightly insulted, and being confronted seemed to make Nancy a little embarrassed and uncomfortable herself.

Iain’s Baked Alaska

Perhaps the most dramatic moment in Bake Off history, viewers will never forget the uncomfortable moment that Iain threw out his Baked Alaska and presented the judges with a trash can instead.

On a very hot day, the contestants were obviously stressed about constructing a Baked Alaska, which is largely made of ice cream. Contestant Iain constructed his desert and placed it in the freezer to set, but when he went to retrieve it, he found it melting on a workstation. Fellow contestant Diana admitted to removing the desert to put her own in, completely forgetting to put it back. In an impulsive rage, he threw the desert away and had nothing to present to the judges, resulting in his dismissal from the competition, a decision that many viewers found to be unfair.

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