5-minute listening: The great teen bake-off

  • Practise your English with our short listening exercises: play the audio linked below; answer the questions; and check the answers at the bottom of the page
  • In this week’s podcast, two amateur bakers compete for the title of Master Baker in the finals of a baking competition show
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Check out our listening activity about a teen bake-off, and answer the questions below. Photo: Shutterstock

Click on the video below for the audio.

Play a Kahoot! game about this podcast as a class or with your friends by clicking on the link here.

Or play on your own below to test your understanding:


1. What do the bakers have to make in the final round of this competition?
A. a dessert that reminds them of home
B. their favourite childhood snack
C. a baked treat using a family recipe
D. information not given

2. What is Riley baking for the final competition?
A. a variety of sweet buns
B. a type of cake
C. cupcakes from her hometown
D. a special sort of tart

3. What will Riley’s dessert taste of?
A. chocolate and cherry
B. cinnamon and raspberry
C. strawberry and hazelnut
D. raspberry and chocolate

4. Where does the recipe she is baking come from?
A. She came up with her own recipe.
B. She found it in a baking cookbook.
C. It is from her grandmother.
D. It is a recipe that everyone in Germany knows.

5. Which word can replace “ambitious” in the podcast?
A. difficult
B. delicious
C. hopeful
D. straightforward

6. How much time are the bakers given in this round of the competition?
A. 30 minutes
B. one hour and 30 minutes
C. three hours
D. three and a half hours

7. Which of the following best describes an “illusion cake”?
A. They make you feel dizzy when you look at them for too long.
B. They look like something else other than a cake.
C. They are a lot smaller in reality as compared to how they look.
D. none of the above

8. What will Yat-ling’s dessert look similar to?
A. a cup of boba milk tea
B. a giant sponge
C. a gingerbread house
D. a bowl of curry fish balls

9. How does Yat-ling feel about completing her dessert on time?
A. nervous
B. confident
C. excited
D. distrustful

10. What does Yat-ling intend to do with the fondant?
A. to make a buttercream
B. to create boba pearls
C. to add flavour to the cake
D. to cover the cake before sculpting it

11. Complete the list of ingredients needed for each dessert.

Contestant: Riley
Dessert: __________________
Ingredients for cake base: __________________ __________________________________
Ingredients for buttercream: ________________
Other ingredients and reason(s) for including them : __________________________________

Contestant: Yat-ling
Dessert: __________________
Ingredients for cake base: __________________ __________________________________
Ingredients for buttercream: ________________
Other ingredients and reason(s) for including them: __________________________________


1. A
2. B
3. D
4. C
5. A
6. C
7. B
8. D
9. A
10. D

Contestant: Riley
Dessert: Black Forest gateau
Ingredients for cake base: sugar, butter, cocoa powder, eggs, flour
Ingredients for buttercream: whipping cream, sugar, vanilla extract, alcohol
Other ingredients and reason(s) for including them: frozen raspberries, sugar and lemon juice for raspberry compote

Contestant: Yat-ling
Dessert: illusion cake
Ingredients for cake base: flour, sugar, eggs, black tea, milk tea concentrate
Ingredients for buttercream: vanilla extract, sugar, butter, some black tea
Other ingredients and reason(s) for including them: brown sugar boba pearls for texture; fondant for shaping and sculpting


Host: Congratulations, Riley, on getting so far in the competition. Well done.

Riley: Thank you.

Host: What has been the hardest part so far?

Riley: Oh, definitely week three when we had to make bread. I thought I would be out of the competition that week. My sesame bread buns did not turn out the way I expected them to. They were too dense inside, and the crust was too soft. I was very disappointed with myself.

Host: But you got through, and now you’re in the finals. What are you going to bake for the last round? The theme for this final bake-off is “Taste of home”.

Riley: That’s a no-brainer. I’m going to make a Black Forest gateau. This is a popular chocolate sponge cake in my hometown in Germany. But I’m putting my spin on it, of course. Instead of the usual cherry filling, my version of the Black Forest gateau will have raspberry compote. I’m using my grandmother’s recipe. We used to go to the local market every weekend to get fresh raspberries, and she would make jam out of them. And that, to me, is a taste of home.

Host: That seems like a very ambitious dessert. Will you be able to finish it under three hours?

Riley: Yes, I should think so. It’s all about multitasking at this point of the competition, and our final desserts must be nothing short of perfect.

Host: Right. What ingredients will you be using?

Riley: Sugar, butter, cocoa powder, eggs and flour for the sponge cake. Whipping cream, sugar, vanilla extract and alcohol for the buttercream. As for the raspberry compote, I’ll be using frozen raspberries, sugar and lemon juice.

Host: It sounds delicious. Well, I’ll leave you to it. Best of luck!

Riley: Thanks!

Host: Also in the race for the title of Master Baker is our other contestant, Yat-ling. Which week has been your favourite so far?

Yat-ling: The cupcake round in week two. I was really pleased that all three judges enjoyed my caramel gingerbread cupcakes. But Chef Tan has been saying that some of my baked goods are too sweet, so that’s something I’ll have to watch for.

Host: What are you going to do for the final?

Yat-ling: I’m baking an illusion cake. It’s going to resemble a bowl of curry fish balls, a popular street food in Hong Kong, but it will taste just like boba milk tea. These are my favourite treats that definitely remind me of home.

Host: Wow! I can’t wait to see how this turns out. Time-wise, how are you doing?

Yat-ling: I’m a little worried about having to complete all the different components of the dessert. To be honest, I haven’t had much experience with sculpting cakes, and I hope it won’t take too long.

Host: Fingers crossed! It sounds like you’ve got a lot on your plate. So, what ingredients are you using for your illusion cake?

Yat-ling: The cake will consist of flour, sugar, eggs, black tea and milk tea concentrate. I’ll also be making a milk tea buttercream using vanilla extract, sugar, butter and some black tea, and I’ll add some brown sugar boba pearls for texture. Fondant for sure – I’ll need that to cover my boba milk tea and shape the curry fish balls and bowl.

Host: All right! Best of luck, Yat-ling! May the best baker win.

Yat-ling: Thank you!

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