The 10 Best GBBO Episodes, Ranked

Every year for the past decade, a dozen ordinary individuals of all ages and backgrounds have embarked on a weekly journey to a crisp white tent in the rolling hills of England. Inside it, they have created a plethora of delectable dishes, from vibrant cookies to jelly-filled tarts to cakes that look like human heads. Through their trials and tribulations, their triumphs and heartaches, these 12 British bakers on "The Great British Bake Off" always find their way into our hearts.

"The Great British Bake Off" is filmed over a series of weekends, allowing the bakers to return home to their normal lives during the week. It's a unique experience compared to other shows, where the contestants are all sequestered together in the same house. This may also be a factor in the overwhelming politeness and general goodwill seen among them as well. Even with the overall good manners, the show has delivered some truly can't-miss TV moments that had viewers both laughing and cringing on their couches.

While the stakes are high and the pressure very real, "GBBO" has charmed many a viewer with its heartwarming contestants and many delightful moments, with the top 10 collected for you here.

10. Season 3, Episode 1: The rum baba incident

While early in the show's history, what makes this Season 3 episode so memorable are some bold choices gone wrong, as well as one particularly unfortunate gaffe.

In keeping with tradition, this inaugural episode was cake week. This time, the signature challenge was to make an upside-down cake, proving that sometimes when you venture into the land of the daring and unusual, you may find yourself stuck with a less-than-desirable result. This is also where things got a little dicey ... and amusing.

Peter's pear, Muscat, and chocolate upside-down cake was so lacking in pear and wine flavor that judge Mary Berry wondered if the baker had taken a nip before he started. Meanwhile, Stuart's maverick tomato and ginger upside-down cake lacked tomato jam, resulting in an unappetizing, dense ginger cake and notably awkward moment.

The technical challenge was a 1970s favorite, rum baba – a traditional French dessert made with a single, yeast-based cake, drenched in a syrup of rum, sugar, and water, and typically topped with whipped cream

Baker John Whaite made this episode particularly charming by diving into the deep end of "Great British Bake Off" disasters: mistaking salt for sugar. Because if there's one thing that will ruin a good baba, it's putting two cups of salt in there.

9. Season 5, Episode 9: The filo face mask

The theme of this Season 5 semi-final episode was patisserie. For the signature challenge, the bakers were instructed to make baklava, down to the creation of their own filo dough.

While the bakers are initially stunned at this proposal — "Who makes their own filo dough!?" baker Chetna Makan exclaims. — they soon get down to business. All that thin dough starts to give host Sue Perkins some delightfully strange ideas. After debating for a short spell, she decides that she wants to put some raw pastry on her face as she reckons it will make her look "20 years younger." Alas, the gag comes off a little more Hannibal Lecter than dewy ingenue.

Another notably charming element of this episode was the many, many ways that "baklava" was pronounced. For instance, judge Paul Hollywood seemed to give it a guttural, decidedly Middle Eastern flair, followed immediately by judge Mary Berry saying "baklava" in an entirely different manner seconds later. 

Coming up to Chetna Makan's table, Holywood tells her that she shouldn't trust her eyes, declaring that "sometimes your eyes kid you."  After a brief moment of panic directed at the cameraman, Makan shrugs and gets on with the task at hand. 

8. Season 10, Episode 2: The feathered biscuits

Another delightful entrant, this season 10 episode puts the spotlight on biscuits and judge Prue Leith set the week's technical challenge with a call for a dozen Garibaldi biscuits, a type of currant sandwich cookie. Garibaldis consist of two thin oblongs of biscuit dough, with white feathering through the chocolate layer and little currants baked in between. Baker Rebs Lightbody was the only contestant who had ever eaten them (though not made them), while bakers Janusz Domagala and Maisam Algirgeet were completely unfamiliar with the concept. The night before, in a panic-induced fit of insomnia, baker Sandro Farmhouse spent a restless night researching them.

Two of the bakers misunderstood the meaning of feathering, and rather than dragging a toothpick through the white and dark chocolates to create a marbled effect, bakers Abdul Rehman Sharif and Syabira Yuaoff both attempted to make actual feathers. In the end, they topped their chocolate-covered biscuits with delicate white bird feathers crafted from icing, an innocent mistake that proved incredibly endearing to viewers.

7. Season 9, Episode 7: The curse of caramel week

Caramel week is always a challenge for the "GBBO" bakers, and this Season 9 episode was no exception. However, extraordinary difficulties also provide an excellent base for humor, which this week has in spades.

The signature challenge kicked off with a request for "sharing-size" caramel tarts, with baker Giuseppe Dell Anno kicking off the fun by calling caramel a "fussy little baby." When the finished products are presented, it seems most of the bakers have struggled. To start, Dell Anno's apricot and hazelnut caramel tart earns feedback that defies all logic, with judges Prue Leith and Paul Hollywood's criticism indicating that there is too much caramel in the caramel tart prepared during caramel week. Um, what?

Next up, baker Lizzie Acker presented her "My Tart Will Go On" caramelized pineapple tart, inspired by Canadian crooner Celine Dion. However, things did not go as hoped in the presentation department, with the baker admitting to the judges that "Like the Titanic, it was a disaster." Acker also came through with a punchline after being told her effort "lacked finesse, responding "Does it look like I have finesse in any area of my life?" 

Meanwhile, this particularly delightful episode had another great moment of humor when baker George Aristidou's tart went awry. He even attempted to minimize the amount of cream with his bare hands. Judge Hollywood was unimpressed, ultimately comparing Aristidou's tart to "global warming in the Arctic." He wasn't wrong.

6. Season 4, Episode 2: Sticky (gingerbread) carpet

On this charming Season 4 episode, it is once again biscuit week, and the challenges had the bakers on edge. The signature bake called for two-dozen identical iced biscuits, which we soon learn must be crisp to be considered "proper." Judge Mary Berry immediately warns the bakers not to be too ambitious, but with this bunch, that's like telling a cat not to meow.  

Despite judge Berry's practical advice, baker Candice Brown bit off more than she could chew, attempting to make 48 sandwich cookies instead of the assigned 24. In the end, her complex, double-layered chocolate and caramel hearts tasted amazing but looked hideous. In contrast, baker Jane Beedle's over-zealousness was rewarded with a haphazard, yet surprisingly attractive, icing job.

However, it was the showstopper challenge that made this episode so memorable: A 3-D gingerbread construction that had to be at least 30 cm high, contain at least eight characters or objects, and tell a story about each of the bakers. In the end, it was Brown's gingerbread pub, a replica of the one in which she was raised, that brought the truly comedic moments.  

When it was revealed that sticky ginger cake served as the flooring of the pub, host Mel Giedroyc questioned, "Who wants to eat some carpet?" To which judge Berry innocently replied "I'll eat a bit of carpet," resulting in a raised eyebrow from the baker. 

5. Season 6, Episode 3: The doughverload

This Season 6 episode was focused on bread, leading to many a stressful moment for the bakers, not to mention top-notch entertainment for us viewers. As one baker says, it's a "doughverload," when the savage technical challenge is revealed: baguettes. And not just a single beautiful baguette, but four. This should've been easy enough as everyone knows what baguettes look like ... right? As it turns out, not really. 

The pressure in the tent was palpable. A hallmark of this show has always been the overt kindness and respect, when the finished products were presented to judge Hollywood, his critiques were particularly brutal. Notably amusing case in point, when they get to baker Nadiya Hussain's contribution, judge Mary Berry says, "I'm just feeling very sorry for whomever's it is," summing up the sentiments of pretty much everyone else on earth.

Then, for the final show-stopper challenge, the bakers had to make edible 3-D bread sculptures. The air was thick with flour and anxiety as the bakers went to work, creating everything from bicycles to snakes, flowers to lions, and even a Brighton Pavilion filled with saag aloo. (Judge Berry's fearful grimace upon hearing these plans was enough to land this episode on the list.) 

Nonetheless, the results were nothing short of spectacular, and baker Paul Jagger even managed to render judge Hollywood speechless with the "best bread sculpture he'd ever seen." 

4. Season 8, Episode 7: Satan's kitchen

Season 8, episode 7 of "The Great British Bake Off" didn't just capture the spirit of the 1980s, it also evoked the threat of the underworld. Stepping into the iconic PVC tent, baker Laura Adlington noted that "It's like Satan's kitchen in here."

Filmed in part on the hottest day of the year and the third hottest in U.K. history, the tent was filled to the brim with heat and humidity. Judge Paul Hollywood, flustered and frazzled, declared it was so warm he had to "peel his jeans" off, a thought viewers likely found either alarming or exhilarating. 

Meanwhile, this retro episode focused on 1980s classics, specifically donuts, quiche, and ice cream cakes, because what's better in 40C/100F weather?  It turns out baking quiches (ugh), proofing dough (double ugh) and deep fat frying (triple ouch) are all fairly painful prospects in sizzling heat, which is maybe why baker Dave Friday's donuts came out looking exactly like baked potatoes. Or, as the official "British Bake Off" twitter account put it, "Very fitting of Dave to make E.T.'s fingers for 80s Week."

Unsurprisingly, the heat was particularly unwelcoming for some of the ice cream cakes, with a few of the entrants' creations overly melting. However, this probably shouldn't have come as any surprise to us viewers as Matt Lucas, the show's co-host, announced the ill-fated challenge with the following greeting: "Good afternoon, bakers. Welcome back to the hottest tent in the history of the world."

3. Season 12, Episode 2: Muggle problems

In this stress-inducing biscuit week episode, time management proved a recurring theme. To start, the bakers tackled brandy snaps, a delicate cookie, ahem, biscuit, that requires piping-hot molding and is also a great way to remove your fingerprints. When questioned about the origins of her (alluded to) McDonald's hot-apple-pie-themed snaps, sound-byte queen and baker Lizzie Acker reveals she spent her critical week of practice time, well, not making brandy snaps.

Host Matt Lucas asked Acker if she practiced in the tent the day before, to which she responded, "I showed up to the practice tent, and I put on a famous film with a wizard in it." Perplexed, Lucas pushed on, asking specifically if she had done any baking in the tent. "No. Just watched Harry Potter," Acker responded, leading Lucas to retort, "What a wonderful use of your time!" Alas, in the end, her "Fast-Food Apple Pie Brandy Snaps" are deemed lumpy. While not a winner, the flavor was noted as delicious nonetheless. 

The memorable technical challenge was to make "jammy biscuits," the show's thinly disguised alias for the U.K.'s classic jammy dodgers. For those unfamiliar with the classic jammy dodger, it's a beloved biscuit of both children and adults alike. The cookies are a sweet, mild treat found in any small English supermarket for about 20 pence. Its flavor brings a wave of nostalgia that can delight any Briton. Similarly, just watching the bakers hard at work making their own delights just the same.

2. Season 4, Episode 6: Naughty cigarettes

In this delightful Season 4 episode, the show hosts a sweet dough week. It's an hour filled with many a hilarious moment, including a humorous exchange between judges Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood potentially sending up the best laugh of the night. Judge Berry inquires whether judge Hollywood has informed the bakers how long to leave their crown-shaped couronne pastries in the oven. "No, it's entirely up to them," he responds. "You're very cruel," Berry admonishes. "Oh, yes," Hollywood replies with a smile.

While Hollywood's twists always add some spice to the show, we propose that it's the inclusion of a rather uncommon ingredient — and a certain beloved judge's reaction — that will cause this episode to go down in "GBBO" history. When baker Howard Middleton presents his date and hemp Yorkshire tea loaf, judge Berry looks concerned and the following exchange takes place per IMDb.

Eyeballing the loaf, judge Berry inquires if it's a type of grass, to which host Sue Perkins then chimes in, saying, "Let's just say to you, this is the legal side of hemp." Middleton confirms, noting he's used the seeds in the loaf, but not the leaf, prompting Perkins to clarify, "The leaf is naughty cigarettes, Mary." It's a classic moment of unintended hilarity that secures this episode the #2 spot.

1. Season 11, Episode 1: Utter madness

When considering 12 seasons of "The Great British Bake Off" it's hard to pick a single winner ... yet we did it anyway. In this opening offering of season 11, cake week is anything but a cakewalk, resulting in several delightful moments.

As the signature challenge commenced, the bakers were tasked with constructing a truly intricate Battenberg cake, the fancy-looking, checkerboard-patterned dessert believed to date back to Britain's Queen Victoria. For the technical challenge, judge Hollywood set the bakers to create six miniature pineapple upside-down cakes. Things were going swimmingly until baker Sura Mitib, attempting to shoo away a fly, accidentally knocked baker Dave Friday's tray of cakes to the ground, causing four of them to shatter upon impact. 

If that's not enough, this memorable episode offered one of the most difficult showstopper challenges ever, in which the bakers endeavored to craft a 3-D cake bust depicting their personal celebrity hero. Explaining his "Origin-ger of the Species" effort, baker Mark Lutton noted that, "I'm doing a cake bust of Charles Darwin. I felt the 'Bake Off' tent was like survival of the fittest."

Despite the best of intentions, things did not go as hoped for anyone this time. Friday's was criticized for his Blink 182-frontman Tom Delonge strawberry and mint cake tasting like toothpaste, and chef Lutton's Darwin design was called out as simplistic. Baker Rowan William summed up what's best about the episode (if not the entire show), as he sipped on his tea and lamented "this is utter madness."