The Great British Bake Off is more than just a TV show. It’s more than a competition. The Bake Off is an annual event that sees Brits embrace the very core of their nationality: the sheer delight of baked goods.
Cakes, biscuits, breads and more are at the forefront of our minds for the couple of months it’s on our screens. Brexit? ISIS? Global Warming? None of that matters right now. All we need to find out is whether somebody’s Gingerbread house can stay upright long enough for Paul Hollywood to go all Godzilla on it during the judging.
With our minds so clearly focused on food right now, it’s always worth celebrating the finest baking found in games.
Portal: The Cake
Duh. It’s described by some critics as being “delicious and moist”, with thick layers of rich chocolate slathering a scrumptious, spongy base. The cherries are perfectly positioned, glistening red in the summer sun.
The reason the infamous Portal cake isn’t higher on our list is because it was made to be eaten with your eyes, not your face. A specific part of the game lets slip the secret recipe to such a delectable-looking cake, and honestly… I’ve had better.
Fish, dirt, solid waste, polyester resin, fiberglass and geosynthetic membranes need to be used with great care when baking, but the big problem with the Portal cake is the overkill with the rhubarb. There is so much of it in the recipe that it makes me kind of sick just thinking about it.
While any cake is a good cake, it’s the rhubarb which separates this treat from true game-baking greatness. It’s such a tart, strong flavour that needs to be carefully offset by other ingredients, and it’s obvious that’s not been taken into consideration here.
The Elder Scrolls: Sweetrolls
As the only thing that outnumbers bugs in Bethesda’s sprawling RPG series, sweetrolls play an important part in all of Tamriel’s different cultures. It’s the glue of the continent; be it the swamps of Black Marsh, the plains of Elseweyr or the snowy mountaintops of Skyrim, you’re never that far away from a wholesome, delicious sweetroll.
Lovingly baked in an old-fashioned stove, the sweetroll is glazed with a thick and luxurious icing. Its unique shape means every sweetroll has a unique personality to it. A steadfast friend in a world of demons and assassins, even guards value sweetrolls enough to show their concern for the treat’s wellbeing
Sweetrolls manage to transcend the walls of reality themselves, making an appearance in Bethesda’s other flagship series, Fallout. While it certainly looks a bit worse off after nuclear devestation, the fact the recipe even survived that long shows how adored it is.
Mario Kart DS: Tart Top
Nintendo kicked off its DS line of handhelds in style with Mario Kart DS. Stunning 3D graphics (for a DS in 2005, that is), creative courses and even online play graced the title, but nothing made it quite as scrumptious as the Tart Top battle course.
A delectable stage constructed entirely of creams, custards, jelly sweets and fruit, Tart Top is an incredible achievement of both baking and construction. It must have been tough to bake a tart that both looks delicious and be able to withstand the structural strain of multiple heavy carts going at it on its surface.
Imagine how long those (probably locally sourced) giant strawberries must have taken to grow? How much of that custard needed to be prepared? How many wheelbarrows of thick, rich cream had to be brought in to make the delicate spires? I feel full just looking at Tart Top, which makes it a winner to me.
Devil May Cry 3: The Pizza
Cakes are great, pies are fantastic, and biscuits are wonderful, but there is something very pure about the pizza. It’s physically impossible to see a pizza and not immediately have a craving for it, and nothing shows this quite like the introduction to Devil May Cry 3.
There is nothing bad about a pizza, and DMC’s hero Dante knows it. Sure he’s having to deal with an onslaught of demons in his usual stylish fashion, it’s obvious that his true priority is the pizza. Every flip, every kick, every powerslide-on-an-enemy reminds us that the stakes are high: failure means a perfectly good pizza is ruined. We know Dante is an almost-immortal demidemon, but the pizza? The pizza needs to be protected.
The rich tomato sauce, the creamy cheese, the spicy pepperoni, the firm yet light base, that is one hell of a pizza. I’d question the mushrooms, but that’s the great thing about it: everybody has their favourite type, and it brings us together in its greasy embrace.
Except for people who have pineapple. Those people aren’t allowed to the pizza party.
Yoshi’s Cookie: Literally Everything
Biscuits are in a class of their own. Cake and pizza are special events. They’re for birthdays or Saturday nights, for weddings and funerals and naughty trips out to the city. But biscuits? Biscuits are the baked treat you have a steady relationship with.
Feeling peckish? Biscuit. Having a cup of tea? Biscuit. Got a stomach bug and can’t keep your food down? A delicious, dependable biscuit.
Yoshi’s Cookie recognises this both in how it presents biscuits and how it uses them mechanically. Sure, it’s your basic Bejeweled/Tetris-type game: line the biscuits up to get rid of them before the entire screen is inundated, but the catch is the tiles represent delicious, crisp, perfectly baked biscuits. Some have jam, some have icing, but they’re all glorious.
Much like real biscuits, the ones you encounter in Yoshi’s Cookie are always there. Biscuits are the one constant, and your goal is always to eat as many as you can. One biscuit isn’t enough, four aren’t enough, not even 18 are enough. Yoshi needs more. More. More. More. There are never enough biscuits, and even when you think there’s enough, there is always another row of them to scoff down.
Yoshi’s Cookie may well be one of the finest and most realistic representations of sweet treats to have ever happened.
So, what are your favourite baked goodies from games?