‘The Great British Baking Show’ Recap: Season 12, Episode 5 “German Week”

12 Min Read

Time is flying by far too quickly and the end of this episode will mark the halfway point in this year’s The Great British Baking Show series. The eight remaining bakers will tackle the first ever “German Week” in the tent.

Signature Challenge

For the signature challenge this week, the bakers were asked to make two batches of 12 German biscuits. They had two hours and 15 minutes to produce two types of highly decorated biscuits. One was expected to be a crumbly, butter shortbread and the other made with ground almonds.

Unsurprisingly, Jürgen did very well with this German biscuit challenge. He made an earl grey tea flavored tee sterne biscuit and espresso flavored almond horns called milchkaffee-gipfele. The judges loved the strong tea flavor of his tee sterne biscuits. He had decorated his horns with white and dark chocolate and the judges thought that this was very uniform and lovely. They adored his horns, describing it as the crumbliest, butteriest, perfect biscuit. This even earned him a Hollywood handshake.

‘The Great British Baking Show’

Giuseppe also did well in the challenge. He made coffee and pecan flavored bethmännchen and Italian inspired linzer augen. The linzer augen biscuits were flavored with a pisto spice mix with a strawberry jam filling and candied orange peel. The judges loved the nutty flavour of his bethmännchen as it was unusual and delicious. They also loved his linzer augen as they looked beautiful and had a lovely blend of flavors.

Lizzie received very mixed reviews for her biscuits. She made chocolate and almond flavored mandelhörnchen and mixed spice with apple and cardamom jam spitzbuben biscuits. Apparently this translates to cheeky boys, as the holes in the biscuits look a bit like mischievous children’s faces. She decorated these biscuits with faces and eyelashes and the judges loved it. They liked the flavor but said the texture of the biscuit was a bit like raw paste as it was underbaked. Her mandelhörnchen had a lovely blend of flavors but they were messy and too large which threw out the flavor balance as there was too much chocolate. Paul admitted that the flavors were amazing and that if she had made the biscuits smaller, she would also have received a handshake.

George made cherry marzipan biscuits. The judges loved the cherry flavor and thought the biscuit was very light. However, his aniseed springerle did not go down well. He admitted that it was an unusual choice of biscuit as they usually mature for several days to get their characteristic honeycomb texture. He had embossed an intricate design on top of the biscuits from a rolling pin which looked lovely. However his biscuits, although meant to be crisp, were too tough for the judges.

Freya somehow managed to underbake one batch of biscuits and overbake the other. She made cinnamon zimtsterne biscuits with glacé cherries and vegan meringue decoration. Sadly, her biscuits were slightly underbaked and stuck to her baking paper, leaving them looking messy. They were very chewy but delicious. Her second biscuit was a lemon and raisin lebkuchen. They were overbaked and her fruit had burnt a little although the flavor was still nice.

Technical Challenge

For the technical challenge, the bakers had two hours and 45 minutes to make a prinzregententorte. This is a cake made of eight thin layers of German genoise sponge sandwiched with chocolate cream and covered with a chocolate ganache. It needed to be decorated with chocolate rosettes and tempered chocolate crowns. The bakes are ranked from worst to best in a blind judging.

‘The Great British Baking Show’

The bakers had several obstacles to face. One was the warm temperature in the tent, making the chocolate decorations much harder to work with. The other was time management. With so many layers to bake, they needed to work quickly and leave their cake layers with enough time to cool before they needed to decorate.

Amanda came in last place in the technical. Her ganache was not smooth and her chocolate filling had split. She had also overwhipped her chocolate cream for the rosettes so she had to use plain cream.

Crystelle also struggled, coming in seventh place. Her cake was too hot when she tried to decorate it and so her decoration was sliding off. Although her ganache was nice and shiny, her cake layers were thicker in the middle and so her cake was domed rather than flat.

George also struggled because although his cake tasted great, his layers were uneven in size. This was because he decided to use some of his batter to stick his baking paper to the tray and ran out of batter towards the end.

Then, from worst to best, came Freya, Jürgen, and Lizzie. Chigs came in second even though his rosettes were slightly melted. His sponge was well-baked and fluffy and the cake had a good shape with shiny ganache. Giuseppe came in first place as his cake was very neat with a nice chocolate filling. His flavors and textures were also great.

Showstopper Challenge

For the showstopper challenge, the bakers had four and a half hours to make a spectacular yeast leavened cake with a minimum of two tiers. Although, the cake is made in a similar way to bread the judges needed the texture to still be cake-like and highly decorative.

Despite all expectations, Jürgen didn’t do too well with this challenge. He made a plaited cake flavored with chocolate raisins, apricot, and poppy seed jam and soaked in Bavarian stout. Jürgen kneaded his dough using an aggressive slapping method which may have been his downfall. His cake looked beautiful but the judges thought it was too bready and dry.

George made a three-tiered chocolate tahini cake. It was decorated elegantly with vanilla icing and sugar paste roses as an anniversary cake for his wife, although he struggled to remember how many years they had been married for. He took his cakes out of the oven first out of all of the bakers so that he could focus on elevating his decoration, which had been criticised by the judges in previous weeks. His cake looked lovely and they loved his flavors but his cakes had raw dough in the middle. He had taken them out of the oven too soon.

Freya made an upside-down cake which was topped with wine-poached plums and the cake was soaked in spiced wine syrup. Sadly, the wine syrup leaked down the side of her cakes making them look very messy. The judges loved the syrup with its lovely and unusual flavor but they thought there was too much dough to topping. Her cake was also slightly underbaked making it too doughy.

Amanda stood out this challenge whereas she has previously gone largely unnoticed in the middle of the pack. Her rum, plum, and raisin (soaked in a litre of rum) cake impressed the judges. It was decorated with edelweiss flowers. Her top flower-decorated cake was lovely even if the bottom one covered with nuts was a bit messy. They thought her flavors were fantastic and the structure was perfect. They thought it wasn’t the best looking but the best tasting cake.

Giuseppe decided to put an Italian spin on “German Week.” His cake was inspired by the Italian pandoro. His cake was soaked in honey, with amarena soaked cherries and a vanilla crème patissiere. Before the judges had a chance to taste his cake, there was a heart stopping moment. Paul decided he wanted to take a slice from the bottom tier and so removed the first two tiers. As he removed them on the stand, the top cake fell off and miraculously host Matt managed to catch it. Once they finally got a taste, they loved his cake. It looked stunning and held up very well. His cherry flavor was delicious; tart but sweet.


In a surprise twist, German Jürgen didn’t win “star baker” for “German Week.” Giuseppe wowed the judges, particularly with his showstopper and so won his second “star baker” title.

The baker who was eliminated was equally as surprising. George and Freya were both in trouble this week, but Freya was eliminated. They both did poorly this week but personally I thought George’s raw dough in the showstopper would have seen him eliminated. Freya was definitely the stronger competitor in the competition as a whole. I was sad to see Freya go.

Baking Show Best Bits

Here are some of my favorite non-baking moments from this week’s episode!

  • Jürgen taught the bakers how to say good luck in German and it turned out rather savage. Check out the clip below!
  • Paul admitted that they had anglicised the leavened cake challenge by asking for a tiered cake. Jürgen said it was like being asked to produce a tiered apple crumble.
  • Giuseppe was piping his chocolate crowns in the technical challenge. In order to be close to the bench to pipe delicately, he was almost doing the splits because of how tall he is.
‘The Great British Baking Show’

Next week, the bakers will compete in “Pastry Week.” Make sure you check it out on Netflix next Friday, then check back here for the latest recap!

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By Lynette
Lynette has been a lifelong nerd and over the last few years finally learned to let her freak flag fly. She likes to dip her toe into almost every fandom but is particularly passionate about Supernatural, Stranger Things, Marvel and Disney. When she isn’t binge watching programs, she loves to swim, sing and (true to her Ravenclaw nature) read. Lynette joined the Nerds and Beyond staff in 2019 and loves sharing her nerdy knowledge with the world.
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