What's the next pumpkin spice? Plus very strong dessert feels from the stars of the Great Canadian Baking Show
"If I see a drip [cake] come up on my feed, I unfollow."
If you're as big a fan of the Great Canadian Baking Show as we are, you've likely spent the days since last season ended dreaming up "showstopper" cakes, finessing the speech you'd give if you were crowned Star Baker, practicing your pastry puns and, of course, fitting in a bit of baking here and there. But luckily, you won't have to leave it up to your imagination much longer, because GCBS is back — and sweeter than ever.
Since we consider the whole GCBS crew experts in the baked goods department — or at least experts at eating said baked goods — we caught up with Bruno, Rochelle, Julia and Dan ahead of the second season to ask them all of our burning baking questions, learn which surprisingly low-key desserts they turn to when serving a crowd and hear both sides of the Great Matcha Debate!
What's your dessert equivalent of "engagement chicken"?
Julia: Sticky toffee pudding. It's just so indulgent and it's so gooey and there's sauce, and somehow I feel like because it's made of dates it's not that unhealthy, but it's probably the most high calorie thing on the menu. It's just very decadent. I know it's sort of old fashioned, but there you are.
Bruno: Velvety chocolate mousse. Dark chocolate mousse, with some crushed raspberries on the top. Maybe a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side... Chocolate just gets people a bit crazy when they taste it. There's no holding back.
Rochelle: Mine would be the perfect crème brûlée… with a beautiful crack on the top and fresh raspberries, lots of clotted cream. Divine. Beautiful.
Dan: My baking wouldn't make anyone want to marry me. But I would say "yes" to a chocolate cake. But not the fussy kind, the dense, homemade, messy kind.
What's your go-to, no-fail dessert for entertaining?
Rochelle: Look, it's going to sound really improbable but mine's always ice cream… 'cause I have 2 ice cream machines at home. I also have the resources of a business that I can pull from, but mine's always ice cream. Always. Who doesn't love ice cream?
Bruno: Because I'm always pressed on time, I usually race out to the grocery store to get a box of cake mix. However, to that cake mix, I add a lot of crazy items, [like] lemon zest, orange zest, a little Gran Marnier, some truffles that are already made… and I cook it a mug in the microwave. It's fast, efficient, nobody needs to know about the microwave part—
Rochelle: —or the packet cake part!
Bruno: Yes. But it just comes into a gooey, chocolatey… it's just tasty. And to it you can add anything, you know, roasted banana compote, you can add your homemade jam, fresh berries, whipped cream, you name it.
If you could nominate one flavour/trend to be the next "pumpkin spice" what would it be?
Rochelle: Minimalism. A good, healthy dose of subtle.
Dan: Milk Bar's "Cereal Milk" flavour is my ultimate.
Bruno: We live in a time where people are very concerned [about] where we source our food and ingredients, we're aware that the environment is very challenged… I think people will look into an area that's not known for dessert or for sweets, so maybe from the ocean, either in the shape of algae, seaweed... it brings its brine and saltiness to the flavour and it's quite nice. And just the fact that we know, by using it, we don't alter the environment because it's readily available—
Rochelle: —and it's a superfood!
Bruno: And a superfood, it's good for you. It's very difficult to work with, but there are some new products on the market like seaweed powder, algae powder, which bring a very interesting brine, saltiness and texture to desserts. So stay tuned!
Julia: I may have missed the boat on this, but matcha. I think matcha will be brought to the masses.
What's the one food trend you wish would go away?
Bruno: I will put it in a song. Matcha, matcha man… I want to be—
Rochelle: —He's being dying to pull this song out, you know that?
Bruno: [Matcha is] such a beautiful and unique product that deserves so much respect. I want it to go away because it's overused in desserts. There is a lot of low quality matcha that claims to be matcha, that's not matcha … it shouldn't be that way.
Julia: Are cronuts done? If cronuts are not over, they should be. In general, I find hybrid foods troubling.
Rochelle: I wish the drip on the drip cake would just disappear. Like big time. If I see a drip come up on my [Instagram] feed, I unfollow. Over the drip.
Dan: Taking pictures of your food. Would that be considered a food trend?
Best retro dessert you think deserves a comeback?
Rochelle: The chocolate fondue deserves a comeback.
Bruno: A spin on anything with Jello. There's nothing wrong with a good Jello, it has good flavour, it's fun, it's colourful, it has a very funny texture. I wish there would be more brave chefs out there to replay on a Jello story.
As for the new season, host Julia Chan assures us that it will carry the same charm and elaborate confections as its predecessor, with chefs Bruno Feldeisen and Rochelle Adonis returning to judge "turbo-charged" challenges that really up the ante. Essentially, we can expect a "bigger, bolder, more neon version of season one," Chan says. And while she undoubtedly means this metaphorically, we wouldn't be surprised if electric-hued icing makes an appearance or two.
The Great Canadian Baking Show airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. (8:30 NT) on CBC, the CBC TV streaming app and cbc.ca/watch.
These interviews have been edited and condensed.