Ready, set, bake!
With some inspiration from a certain British baking competition and our love of anachronisms, we thought, what if it wasn’t just for Brits? What if anybody from anytime could join in? What if time travel is possible? That, of course, is a whole other post and not particularly relevant.
We’ve put some historical figures up against each other – Queen Anne Boleyn of England, economy theorist Karl Marx, American gangster Al Capone, physicist Marie Curie and young pharaoh Tutankhamun.
Not only would Anne be baffled by the sheer equipment in the bake off tent, she’d most definitely turn up her nose at the thought of baking anything herself. But since it’s either spending time in the tent or back home with Harry, she’d gladly put together a 16th century spectacle.
We imagine Anne’s baking prowess to be mediocre at best, she is, after all, a lady.
Even if she’s not meant to eat it herself, she’ll nevertheless make the cake a royal affair – adorned in golden leaves from top to bottom and a golden marzipan crown on the top. It may be both wobbly and slightly askew – but nobody would dare tell her this. Everybody else is younger than Anne and have, or will, read of her husband – except King Tut, who is in fact older. But we doubt even Henry would pick a fight with. English execution methods had nothing on the Egyptian ones.
End result: A royal disaster with a fallen crown. Symbolism anyone?
After cracking four eggs into a bowl, the first thing Karl does is to dip his beard in it as he reaches for the sugar. He glances around and we think nobody has noticed, or at least not paid any head. He wipes the beard and goes on.
It doesn’t matter the size or the appearance of the showstopper – although hints to the desired appearance is in the name – as long as he can pre-cut it into equal pieces. Everybody deserves an equal taste of his cake. But taste is irrelevant. It’s nutritional, at least. Lots of carrots and beetroot.
Halfway through Karl realises content is not always the answer as the cake almost crumbles after too long in the oven. Like every good baker and sociologist, he covers the problem with pretty pink icing and chills.
End result: No soggy bottoms and an equal piece for all.
Al is not entirely unfamiliar with the idea of a KitchenAid, he’s only an infant in this company. They’ve come a long way but a button’s still a button, right? Even lactose intolerance had been discussed in some newspapers back in the 30s and 40s (although they were more often busy covering real issues) and Al’s using oat milk (yes, we know it’s not really milk either) in his sponge. But still normal butter and regular whipped cream? We’re guessing it’s for flavour and not medical purposes.
Other than good ol’ everyday activities like murder, coercion and some tax evasion here and there, Al also enjoys a good cigar every now and again. Nothing unwinds a busy man like a Cuban. If we didn’t know this about him, we might have been very suspicious about the inspiration for his showstopper.
End result: Mary said it even tasted of cigar and had a good dose of booze.
Marie’s skeptical to the kitchens presented to her in the tent, so she had her team bring along her own kitchen. Normally not used for cooking food, it needed some adjustments, but things worked out fine. Baking is a science and needs to be precise to be perfect. Tubes and flasks and funnels are more precise than cups. What the hell is a cup anyway?
Marie Curie showed commitment to the scientific process when she spent four years in the search for radium – but we’ve never seen her more committed than she is now. This isn’t just a race against time and truth but also one against royalty, a criminal and a philosopher – what could possibly be worse than losing at science to that petty group?
End result: Kickass. A hollow sponge shaped as a Florence flask. Inside are two layers of a chocolate and an orange mousse, the bottom one thicker than the other, not too dissimilar from the separation of oil and water. Subtle hint, but even the others could get that.
Tut is making date and honey dumplings.
Refined sugar is new to him and it’s confusing why people would eat tiny crystals. Date dumplings require fermented dough, and Tut, being a pharaoh and all, normally does not ferment anything. Things get fermented for him. The process has gone slightly wrong and the other contestants aren’t thrilled about the smell he brings in but he’s not sure what they’re talking about. Smells like date dumplings.
He doesn’t measure because, why would you? You can see and feel when it’s right.
End result: Tastes better than it smells.