With summer drawing to a close, there’s no better way to spend the coming dark nights than cosied up in front of the TV watching twelve bakers cry over cakes.
Not even coronavirus could threaten the unflappable national institution of The Great British Bake Off, which has been filmed following strict Covid-19 protocol with the twelve bakers entering an isolation bubble.
Professional cooks Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith return to judge the competition in the iconic Bake Off tent, with 30 brand new challenges for the bakers to tackle.
Comedian Matt Lucas joins the hosting team alongside Noel Fielding, following Sandi Toksvig’s departure from the show.
Here are the bakers battling it out to be the crème de la crème and earn their star baker aprons in the Bake Off’s extraordinary eleventh series.
30-year-old armoured guard Dave found baking relatively late, deciding to teach himself after a childhood spent relying solely on his mum’s cooking.
Dave loves listening to his favourite punk rock bands to get pumped up while baking, which he describes as innovative and imaginative in style.
Bread-head Dave’s strengths lie in baguettes, brioche rolls and pretzels, as well as mirror glaze decorations for his more professional-looking bakes.
When he’s not in the kitchen, Dave can be found in the garage doing DIY, looking at cars or walking his dog and cat. That’s right, his cat…
Born and raised in Benin, Hermine has lived in London since moving over in 2001 for further education. She now works as an accountant in the city.
Hermine used to love helping her mum prepare for large family gatherings as a child. Since baking her first savarin cake aged eight, she’s never stopped creating edible inventions.
Benin’s French influence has inspired Hermine with a penchant for high-end patisserie, such as millefeuille, éclairs and entremets.
Look out for her infectious laugh which is sure to fill the Bake Off tent.
Musical loving Laura is sure to bring her theatrical flair to her culinary show-stoppers.
A fan of citrus and strong flavours, Laura loves adding a modern zing to old classic recipes.
The digital manager from Gravesend admits she is a perfectionist when it comes to her dainty bakes, but if Bake Off has taught us anything it’s that things in the tent don’t always go to plan…
With a childhood spent on her aunt’s dairy farm, where she learnt to milk cows and top her cakes with the rich, creamy icing, Linda is a master of the perfect buttery bake.
A lover of homegrown produce, Linda spends her spare time fishing for mackerel on the beach or picking fresh fruit to use in her recipes.
The retired team leader from East Sussex can cook up any home-comfort classic, and her signature is a hearty sausage roll.
Born and raised in Jamaica, 27-year-old Loriea learnt the secrets to great bakes from her maternal grandmother, who has greatly influenced Loreia’s cooking style.
Since moving to the UK at fifteen, Loriea has used her baking to celebrate her Caribbean roots. She loves using chillies, cinnamon and coconut in her food and is sure to spice up some classic cakes.
Health hero Loriea lives in Durham and works in the hospital as a radiographer. Her number one fan is her husband Peter, who loves her irresistible Jamaican patties.
Pantomime producer Lottie comes from a strong baker’s bloodline, with her Lancastrian great-grandmother being an avid cake maker.
Rather than playing with toys, Lottie used to watch cooking shows and read recipe books as a youngster.
The West Sussex native describes herself as a ‘perpetually frustrated perfectionist’ and hopes her baking will reflect her dark sense of humour.
Mancunian beekeeper Mak is a self-taught baker, who polished his skills by imitating his favourite celebrity chefs on TV and in books.
Blessed with the gift of being able to measure ingredients by eye, Mak is a particularly strong puff pastry maker and also loves making the traditional Asian nankhatai biscuits for holiday celebrations such as Eid.
Mak first took on cooking to support his mum at home as a child, but now he won’t let anyone try and offer suggestions in his kitchen.
With three grown-up children, he’s used to tough criticism, but only time will tell if his skin is thick enough to take on a Paul Hollywood grilling.
Born and raised in Leicester, adventurous Marc spent his youth climbing mountains and travelling the world.
After a motorbike accident led to Marc losing his leg, the bronze resin sculptor turned to bread baking as a form of therapy, which developed into pastries and cakes.
With his Bake Off bid, Marc hopes that by rising to this new challenge he can show his daughters that when life throws huge difficulties, there’s always space to develop a new passion.
Mark’s cooking love story started as a student in Edinburgh, where he fell in love with a mac and cheese pie in a pie shop and proceeded to buy one every day.
Since this passionate pastry affair, the 32-year-old Northern Irishman has been experimenting in the kitchen, from lemon drizzles to multi-tiered wedding cakes.
Often travelling to Africa and Asia for work, Mark infuses his cooking with the new flavours and spices he encounters on his travels. He’s also greatly influenced by his Irish heritage too, let’s hope there’s a soda bread technical.
At just twenty, Peter is this year’s youngest Bake Off contestant. The Accounting & Finance student from Edinburgh was first inspired to start baking after watching the first ever series of The Great British Bake Off at twelve years old.
A proud Scotsman, Peter loves to use his homeland’s ingredients in his bakes, from oats and berries to whisky and honey.
With his ‘ostentatious but tasteful’ baking style, music teacher Rowan from Worcestershire knows his Choc au Pain from his Chopin.
The 55-year-old is passionate about all things French patisserie, echoing the style and sophistication of French baking in his own carefully chosen outfits.
With a love for the Georgian era, Rowan likes to reinvent 18th century recipes with a modern twist. When he’s not in the kitchen you can find Rowan swimming his daily mile or researching everything to do with the 1700s in the British Library.
With a mixture of Middle Eastern and Asian ancestry, Sura’s cooking experiments with a range of global flavours and ingredients. Her heritage can be traced to Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Syria and India, so there’s no shortage of traditional cuisines to draw from.
The pharmacy worker from London never sticks to a recipe, preferring to improvise in the kitchen instead. Sura’s favourite ingredients are floral and fragrant, such as cardamom, rose and orange blossom.
Living with her husband and grandmother, Sura continues her family tradition of offering food as a way to show love, affection and respect; Prue and Paul should be flattered.
The Great British Bake Off returns on Tuesday 22 September on Channel 4.