Great Australian Bake Off hosts Mel Buttle and Claire Hooper.
Great Australian Bake Off hosts Mel Buttle and Claire Hooper. Stuart Bryce

Bake Off's back for more layer cakes and one liners

CLAIRE Hooper and Mel Buttle are back for another heaped serving of laughs, layer cakes and one-liners.  

The comedians return alongside judges Matt Moran and Maggie Beer in the third season of Foxtel's feel-good food show The Great Australian Bake Off.  

GREAT BRITISH BAKE OFF'S X-RATED MOMENT 

It's Claire and Mel's jobs to invite viewers into the Bake Off shed, come up with hilarious baking puns and say those all-important words "on your marks, get set, bake".  

"You do dig a little deeper (to come up with new puns). I can't tell if the work is better or poorer for it," Claire says.  

"You get really excited when you see a bake when you haven't punned before."  

While they leave the judging up to the professionals, Claire and Mel get to taste their fair share of showstoppers.  

Great Australian Bake Off judges Matt Moran and Maggie Beer inspect a Cookie Monster-inspired cake as hosts Mel Buttle and Claire Hooper watch on in the season three premiere.
Great Australian Bake Off judges Matt Moran and Maggie Beer inspect a Cookie Monster-inspired cake as hosts Mel Buttle and Claire Hooper watch on in the season three premiere. Supplied

"I always make a note of who's made a double batch of something and I hang around that bench," Claire says.  

"By season three we've developed very fine-tuned strategies to get a bit of a bake you're interested in."  

Mel adds: "If I've got an outfit with pockets then I'll just keep a spoon in my pocket. I've got no shame anymore."  

This year's dozen amateur bakers range in age from 23 to 64 and the group is evenly split down gender lines.  

The Great Australian Bake Off's 2018 contestants.
The Great Australian Bake Off's 2018 contestants. Supplied

"We have such strong men bakers but that shouldn't be noteworthy, because of course men bake," Claire says.   

"They're absolutely holding their own. They're not just there to fill the male quota of bakers. I feel like this group may be, overall, stronger than last year."  

While you won't see Claire or Mel donning an apron at home, the hosts know a petit four from a vol-au-vent.  

"I probably bake twice a year," Claire says.  

"To the delight of my friends I can now explain when their vegan cupcake is a bit too pasty and doesn't have a nice crumb. I couldn't make it but I can explain why you need butter in a cupcake. I have the language for it now."  

Both women were pleased to see new Great British Bake Off hosts Noel Fielding and Sandi Toksvig receive a positive reception both here and overseas.  

Paul Hollywood, Sandi Toksvig, Noel Fielding and Prue Leith star in season eight of The Great British Bake Off.
Paul Hollywood, Sandi Toksvig, Noel Fielding and Prue Leith star in season eight of The Great British Bake Off. Mark Bourdillon

"Sandi is such an incredible host and Noel was really clever casting," Claire says.  

"In terms of getting this version to work, our producers identified what worked about the British show - it was the sunshine and slow pace. People are allowed to be as silly as they like and we are allowed to diffuse the tension. You tune in because it's a refreshingly different tone.  

"Their success has given us the permission to be our own, unique beautiful, selves."  

Season three of The Great Australian Bake Off premieres tonight at 7.30pm Qld, 8.30pm NSW on Foxtel's Lifestyle Channel.   



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