The Bake Off Blog: The Final – Royal Week

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With the possibility of Lizzie herself making a cameo (would not put it past them), the bakers get down to it.

2:00 – Mary seems much more on board with the whole monarchist thing than Paul, probably on account of being posher and from the South. The Signature involves making a big cakey crown. Does the winner get to wear it? I hope so.

6:00 – It’s crucial the bakers play their cards right in the final challenges, and Paul is giving Jane evils for having the audacity to “go simple”; let’s hope it pays off! Candice has no such worries, her recipe is basically a short novel and her cake’s myriad flavours seem like the apotheosis of Candice-ness. “I thought I’d reined it in,” she laughs ironically.

7:00 – Andrew is not only working against the other two contestants but the laws of physics themselves; judging from the illustration I’m highly doubtful that his crown won’t succumb to gravity. “My engineering skills are going to be severely tested,” he says smugly. Oh really Andrew, you’re an engineer? #doyouengineer

8:00 – Jane proudly proclaims “there’s nothing like British fresh fruit.” Can’t she see it’s this kind of thinking that led to Brexit? Andrew is the victim of the first blunder of the episode: his sticky filling is now stuck to the wrong baking paper – face palm indeed!

12:00 – Jane is green with envy, admitting bitterly that “you can’t out-Candice Candice.” Candice better watch out for Jane swapping her sugar for salt or something. Jane is right to be concerned: her fruity filling is unpleasantly runny, forcing her to make a “blueberry dam.” Yum! Meanwhile Andrew produces from nowhere a giant purple head with the top sliced off to wear his crown.

14:00 – My housemate is convinced that taking a slice from the crown is treason, thoughts? Andrew’s cake is too sweet and visually underwhelming. A slice of Candice’s mango and strawberry crown looks like meringue on steroids and it earns her a Paul Hollywood Handshake! Then, lo and behold, Jane’s simple but very impressive cake gets her hand shook by the Mighty Hollywood too.

20:00 – “For your technical this week, you have to kill a man,” prophesises another housemate (yes, I’m not above stealing their jokes). In fact, after weeks of stupendously obscure bakes, it’s just a Victoria sponge. Easy, right?

25:00 – Wrong, the judging for the Technical is absolutely brutal! Candice’s is too dark, has drippy jam and grainy buttercream; Jane’s is “a little bit on the dark side,” according to Jedi knight Mary Berry. Andrew’s is the only one which is any good, and his Technical win will hopefully compensate for the Paul-Hollywood-Handshake-shaped chip on his shoulder. With all the bakers having done well on one challenge and messed up the other, it’s all to play for in the Showstopper!

30:00 – And for your Showstopper this week: a chocolate cake, sausage rolls, quiches, tarts, scones, argh! There’s 49 items in total! Andrew thankfully has a colour coded spreadsheet to organise his royal picnic. Candice has just written “enjoy!” on her recipe, and her plans somehow make the near-impossible brief even more intimidating. Mary meanwhile is completely baffled by Candice dedicating her picnic to “pearly kings and queens” because privilege.

35:00 – Time for Bake Off’s equivalent to X Factor sob stories, where the bakers’ relatives prove their commitment. Andrew works full time, bakes until 1am and missed his own graduation to hone his pastry skills. Jane’s offspring sometimes wake to find the kitchen covered in flour after their mother has had a 5am baking sesh. Well I sacrificed my first born and used their blood in my raspberry compote, beat that!

39:00 – Classic piece of editing here. Andrew: “If I didn’t have a plan right now I’d be flapping.” Cut to: Jane hyperventilating and generally losing it. Andrew meanwhile is finally being forced to loosen up a bit. “I’m ashamed of myself for not measuring out the pastry,” he laments. It’s alright Andrew, no one really cares!

43:00 – At the eleventh hour Candice singes her tarts and Jane’s white chocolate collar refuses to stick to her cake, an even worse result than the mess of primary colours last time she tried. Now the bakers have baked their last: Andrew is pulling a face and Jane is crying.

45:00 – Jane’s first to the chopping block. Her sausage rolls have raw pastry issues, her scones are bland despite their disarmingly fluorescent colour, and her cakes has a green, mould-like dusting from her attempt at the chocolate collar; apparently it tastes better than it looks.

46:00 – Mary pronounces Andrew’s picnic “very meticulous, just like you!” Saying that, there’s a thick layer of undercooked pastry on the sausage roll, the scones are bland, the quiche is undercooked but tasty, and his tarts have the soggiest of soggy bottoms. The cake, made by his grandma’s recipe, is thankfully quite nice though. #grannyforthewin

49:00 – As everyone starts to come to the conclusion that five hours is not enough time to cook a regal picnic, can Candice save the day? Yes she can! Her scones may not be cheesy enough, but her quiche has nice layers and her rhubarb and custard tarts are exemplary (and no-one notices they’re burnt!). Then, after a very tense silence, Paul pronounces that he loves the cake. Jane glares at her. Everyone knows she’s won.

55:00 – And, with minimal suspense, Candice is announced the winner, deservedly so I must say! After facing weird misogynistic trolling for having the audacity to wear lipstick and high heels, she has defeated the internet, Jane’s closet vindictiveness and the engineering-ness of Andrew. “I did it! I’m good!” she pronounces tearfully (are my eyes moistening?) before being hoisted into the air by her family. Jane meanwhile comes close to being a good sport, but terrifying descends into manic giggling.

58:00 – It’s all over, the last episode of Bake Off as we know it! There’s some small consolation however. We learn that Selasi is embarking on a characteristically absurd epic European biking trip, while Jane apparently no longer wants to murder Candice and they’re off on a baking trip together. A happy ending!

Photograph: Suzette

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