By Simon Fearn
Selasi: “I had a dream I was in the final and I baked in a dress. So I guess if I make it to the final I’m going to have to bake in a dress.” OK….
4:00 – The tent looks very empty as the bakers get down to a Signature of two different palmiers. Things are getting about as competitive as Bake Off ever gets; Andrew says he’s got his eye on Candice and Jane, which is fair enough as we all know that him and Selasi don’t stand a chance. Candice is indulging her usual philosophy of “more is more” (much to Paul’s despair) as she crams all she can get into her palmiers.
8:00 – While Andrew has puff pastry nightmares and Candice and Jane step up the mutual intimidation, Selasi’s characteristic bravado develops a desperate edge, like a man joking from the gallows. He’s even stealing Mel and Sue’s job and announcing how much time everyone has left, leading to Sue’s fantastic lament “I was like the speaking clock with puns.”
14:00 – Mel reapplies lipstick to a stressed Candice (“you without lipstick is not right!”), before asking a now unusually ruffled Selasi if he is about to cry, who responds “no, I’m leaving the crying to Andrew!” Brutal! Though he may be keeping it together more than his rival, Selasi is as usual cutting it pretty close, and is last to put his pastry in the oven. Jane admits she’s been losing sleep over baking-related anxieties, and is also struggling to get things cooked in time, desperately asking the oven to “do its stuff.”
19:00 – Both Jane and Selasi couldn’t save their palmiers: both are underdone, and in Selasi’s case “very raw”. Ouch! Candice has weirdly strung up her palmiers from a bird cage – they’re crispy but overfilled. Andrew, despite having to start his puff pastry again, is the only one to deliver anything wholly satisfactory.
30:00 – For the Technical the bakers must knock up a “high-end savarin.” As usual no one has ever made one and Andrew giggles nervously. This is quickly followed by a usual trick of Bake Off editing: Selasi declares confidently that you must never add salt to yeast – cut to everyone else doing just that. Is it a baking faux pas? Who knows? Perhaps of more pressing concern is that all of the bakers are useless at crystallising caramel, with Jane in particular losing her cool.
32:00 – Both Candice and Andrew’s savarin are overdone and under-proved, whilst Selasi couldn’t be arsed to neaten up his oranges and his orange liqueur hasn’t soaked through properly. Jane’s is the best, but only just: she gets first place and Selasi gets last, probably sealing his fate.
43:00 – Fondant fancies for the Showstopper. Mel is on fire this week: when Paul tells Jane “you’ve got to do well,” Mel quips “good advice, don’t do badly!” Selasi is making his sponge again, which considering his track record of underdone bakes can hardly be wise.
49:00 – As the bakers fight for survival, Selasi has buttercream on his nose and Andrew is splaying his legs alarmingly for no apparent reason. Also, Candice refers to herself in the third person as CB, which is slightly strange.
54:00 – Candice has seriously impressed with her fancy fancies, while Andrew only gets half-hearted praise for his very pretty but flawed offerings. Jane’s look awful and Selasi has also underwhelmed. His were “very dainty” though, which is an achievement considering his usually gargantuan portion sizes.
56:00 – As Mary and Paul discuss who should get the chop, Paul wearily comments “what can you say about Selasi?” Oh dear! It’s no surprise then that Selasi won’t be making it into the final, though Star Baker surprisingly goes to Andrew when arguably Candice was more deserving. Everyone is very sad to see Selasi go, with Mary eulogising “What a character! What a baker!” We all love him, but he was a bit of a disaster. Time to pick sides for the final now: I’m #teamcandice. I might even make a banner…
The grand final, and the last episode before Bake Off’s ill-advised move to Channel Four, airs at 8pm next Wednesday, BBC One.
Photograph: Wikimedia Commons.