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Season 7 premieres in the U.K.

August 24, 2016

Season 7 of The Great British Bake Off premieres in the U.K. tonight with 12 all-new contestants competing for the title of the country's Best Amateur Baker. This latest series kicks off with "Cake Week," during which the bakers will face three challenges, described on the show's website as "a British classic," "Mary's technical challenge—a popular little cake with a fatless sponge and tricky chocolate work," and a "showstopper" piece. And if any of the previous six seasons of the ultra-popular cooking show are anything to go by, cake week will be followed by biscuit week, bread week, dessert week, and pastry week, with a few surprise theme weeks thrown in for fun—previous series have included a Victorian week, pies and tarts, European cakes, chocolate, and advanced dough (that's code for: an artsy creation, a European cinnamon and walnut-filled bread-cake, and show-stopping donuts).

This year's contestants in the eleven-episode season are an incredibly diverse and accomplished lot. There's Andrew, a 25-year-old aerospace engineer at Rolls Royce, where he designs jet engines; Benjamina, a 23-year-old teaching assistant who recently completed her degree in economics; Candice, 31, who teaches physical education at a school in Bedfordshire; Jane, 61, who is a garden designer and has two college-age children; Kate, 37, who works as a nurse in an acute respiratory ward; Lee, 67, a construction worker turned pastor of a local church in Bolton; Louise, 46, a hairdresser and avid hiker; Michael, 20, who's in college studying politics and economics; Rav, 28, who works in student support at City University London; Selasi, 30, who works in finance; Tom, 26, who is a project engagement manager for The Royal Society of Arts; and Val, 66, now retired, but formerly the head teacher at a primary school.