The Bake Off Blog – Week Six: Botanical Week

It’s Botanical Week, which Selasi is using as an excuse to wear a truly awful floral T-Shirt. Will his cakes be any better than his fashion choices? 

5:00 – This week’s signature is a lemon meringue pie. As it happens Mother is very good at meringues and I’m pretty good at lemon curd, so between us we could have easily bagged Star Baker.

10:00 – The bakers are suffering from a serious lack of originality: Jane and Candice are both going for coconut-based signatures, while Selasi and Benjamina are plumping for grapefruity offerings. Mary, meanwhile, is having some blowtorch-related angst apparently she’s against needlessly setting fire to meringues.

14:00 – Are Selasi and Benjamni flirting? They won’t stop giggling at each other. Candice has made a green mess, which is majorly upsetting her hipsterish aesthetic sensibilities; Jane looks at it with a mixture of disgust and triumph.

19:00 – Even after Rav has put his pie in the fridge to avoid it becoming a “gloopy mess,” a gloopy mess is exactly what Mary and Paul are getting and they’re not too impressed. Candice’s toxic waste tastes surprisingly good though, and Jane pulls off a pretty perfect-looking pie which hits the spot. Selasi’s filling is too stiff, and judging by the cheeky looks that are flying between him and Benjamina, it’s perhaps not the only thing that’s stiff.

20:00 – Benjamina is now laughing hysterically for no real reason about Selasi’s baking disaster. She’s clearly in love. I now christen them ‘Salamina’. The wedding will be lovely.

23:00 – The technical is herb fougasse, which sounds bewildering but it’s apparently Andrew’s favourite cinema snack. Needless to say we stick to popcorn at our local Odeon. Tom is clearly very confused by Paul’s instructions and is confusing us too, whilst Andrew starts yet another sentence with “well, as an engineer…” Oh really, do you engineer Andrew?

28:00 – Selasi could be posing for a photoshoot as he sits nonchalantly by his oven, casually proving the fougasse like he has all the time in the world. Benjamina tells him he’s making a terrible mistake, but he ignores his lover’s warnings and is soon lying on the floor in despair awaiting a horribly underdone fougasse.

33:00 – Selasi (predictably) comes last, and Tom very smugly is top and maintains the doughy crown he secured as Bread Week’s Star Baker. Selasi is now in serious trouble, but as per he couldn’t care less. Mary and Paul are seeing a gender divide this week, and “every single male baker is in trouble”. Oh dear.

41:00 – The showstopper seems fairly run-of-the-mill: a three-tiered flower-based cake. Tom’s camomile cake sounds rather nice, but Paul is on hand to warn him that his choice of flavours tend to be more ill-judged than innovative, which is really what we’ve all been thinking for some time. Candice meanwhile is properly pushing the boat out with a “four seasons cake”: four different cakes with four different flavours. Selasi is also going for three different flavours for his cakes, and with things as they are he desperately needs to pull something out the bag.

46:00 – After one of her cakes had to be thrown into the sink (why the sink?), Jane isn’t having the best of days her bake looks like a three year old has been let loose on it with a crayon. Candice’s cake looks tremendous, although some high-minded conceptual stuff about the seasons being “higgledy piggeldy” seems unnecessary. Tom is being smug again and talking about Japanese blossom gardens, whilst Rav’s cake looks utterly dreadful, which puts him in a characteristically fatalist mood.

53:00 – Paul and Mary accuse Rav and Andrew of not really trying with their decoration and flavours, prompting a variety of forlorn puppy faces from Andrew. Tom’s smugness over his herbal tea cake turns out to be justified (though he does have an odd habit of scowling at his bakes), while Selasi has produced pure cakegasm (he’s very good at piping) and removed himself from the firing line.

55:00 – Tom bags Star Baker, which must come as a relief after narrowly avoiding a swift exit in the past two episodes. I predict his hit-and-miss, anything-goes style won’t get him much further in the long run however. Rav predictably leaves us: after having come last in God knows how many Technical Challenges, it’s probably time he went.

Catch the vaguely named Dessert Week at 8pm next Wednesday for more baking high jinks and the latest on Salamina.

Photograph: Derek van Vliet

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