UKE Baking Expert, Sophie Johnson gives us the latest from this week’s GBBO!

Broken hearts and rabbit heads. Spanish fiestas and Japanese tea. A kick of spice and a touch of……. Yorkshire?

It’s the Great British Batter Off.

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This week’s signature challenge gave a touch of Northern Soul to the tent.

Steaming and satisfying, it was the good old Yorkshire Pudding. 24 identical puds filled with savoury delights. Whilst some of our bakers stayed local with their homely flavours, others travelled to Mexico and the Far East, flavouring their bakes with exotic spices and fragrant fillings. Rav’s tofu, lime and coconut curry nestled inside little bowls of chilli infused batter, prompting Mary to try something ‘quite different.’ Whilst Tom’s Chana flour and nigella seed puddings failed to rise to the occasion, leaving them dry, solid and biscuit like. It was the battle of the beef for Candice and Jane, with both choosing to fill their puds with rich and juicy beef and horseradish cream. Candice’s Wellington inspired bakes failed to impress Mary with a lack of seasoning, but Paul would let Jane season his meat and two veg anytime, saying they tasted ‘unbelievable.’ (naughty!) Benjamina flavoured her batter with delicate herbs to compliment her Brie, red onion chutney and bacon delights, whilst our Yorkshire lass Val stayed true to her roots with a family recipe to make her ‘proper Yorkshire pud’, but fused it with far flung Mexican spices in her chilli filling. Arriba!

It was technical challenge time and hearts were breaking everywhere with the confession that smouldering Selasi is already taken. Girlfriend? What girlfriend?!

So what better way to symbolise our heartbreak than with 12 identical lacy, heart shaped pancakes. Intricate, delicate, lacy…. Risky! These pretty little things were traditionally eaten by the very wealthy and featured in one of the first ever recorded recipe books. Their kitchen staff must have been a right bunch of tossers!

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The trick to these quirky pancakes? A batter that is exactly the right consistency, too thick and they would come out like Selasi’s ‘alien faces’ too simple and too thick. To help give their pancakes a little sweet lovin’ most of our bakers added sugar to their batter. Pretty patterns, practise piping and Pollock. Batter was dripped, drizzled and drawn into freehand heart shapes in a sizzling pan. Kate’s ‘shabby chic creations saw her come in just behind Selasi in 7th place, whilst Val’s clumsy Coeur’s sans Sucre placed her middle of the class. It was a tossup (hehe!) between Candice and her lovely lace and Benjamina’s ‘very attractive’ designs as the winner, but it was the latter who stole the judge’s hearts earning her first place in the technical challenge.

From the cobbled streets of Yorkshire to the twisting terraces of España.

It was simple Spanish street food that made this week’s Showstopper. Golden brown, gloriously sugary and soft inside, Churros! Each of our bakers had to make 36 identical sweet Churros that were either filled or served warm alongside a sinful dipping sauce. Andrew’s cinnamon and pistachio flowers may have impressed Paul and Mary with their double flavours and pretty petals, but what they made up for in presentation, they lacked in texture. Perhaps they should have been harvested earlier! Not one to follow the crowd, Selasi mixed lemon and anise into his batter which he piped into bowls and left to freeze before frying. His raspberry cream filling and white chocolate discs couldn’t hide the raw dough inside, with the outside burnt as brown as his beautiful eyes. Poor taste and presentation was the ‘matcha’ with Rav’s Japanese take on this Spanish classic. His wasabi and white chocolate sauce failed to impress. Never one to play it safe, Tom’s experiment with fennel seed and rosewater was ‘difficult to eat’, but Jane’s tried and tested pistachio and white chocolate flavouring was ‘beautiful’.

By the end of this week’s Bake Off it was our very own Bunny Boiler, Kate, who was the fourth judge to leave the tent after her Hot Cross Bun-ny Churros resembled lightly spiced roadkill. Tantalisingly tropical teardrops flavoured with coconut, dipped slowly into perfectly runny passion fruit and mango sauce. Dripping. Benjamina flamenco’ed into the lead to be crowned this week’s Estrella Panadero (that’s Star Baker to you and me).

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With just eight bakers left it’s time to puff up and flake out. Next week it’s the dreaded pastry week.

Grab your rolling pins, roll your sleeves up and get ready for week five of the Great British Bake Off.

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Sophie Johnson, 28, Proud mummy of Bea, 4, Expert Baker, loves all things cake, UKE’s resident baker.

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