Steamed buns and gingerbread houses. Churros from Spain and a French Savarin. Fondant fancies, floral showstoppers and filo pastry.
With just three bakers left, what better way to celebrate this year’s Great British Bake Off final than with a right royal affair?
Crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, glossy and smooth and filled to perfection. This weeks Signature challenge was a crowning glory. A triple tier meringue crown filled with sumptuous delights. Jane stayed true to our heritage with her red, white and blue masterpiece. Piped peaks of crisp white meringue filled with strawberries and raspberries, blueberry compote and white nectarines. Although her bottom showed a little crack (the kind of crack only a meringue can do) she was graced with a double handed shake from Sir Paul Hollywood himself. Her regal bake was soft and sharp and delightful. “3 layers of heaven, thank you.”
Andrew could’ve (blackberry) fooled us all with his muscovado meringue, hiding a punchy pecan praline that was just a little too sweet. With undefined piping and a flavourless fool, only his cassis jelly gems were worth their weight in gold. Was Andrew abdicating the throne already? With splendid strawberries soaked in a prosecco fizz and a marvellous mango curd, Candice’s Victorian inspired crown won her a legion of suitors. With Paul going in for the handshake again, was Candice the queen of them all? It looked great, it held well and it tasted beautiful.
Celebrating the best of British, sometimes simple is the most splendid. With a soft golden sponge sandwiching rich, red, raspberry jam and beautiful buttercream, a technical fit for a queen. The iconic Victoria Sponge cake. With a recipe sheet giving less information than Clarence House, our bakers needed to bake intuitively. Simple? Perhaps. Although with simplicity there is no where to hide. Sheer perfection only would steal the crown. Jane lost her place in the court with too much mixture giving a right royal rise and although her buttercream was sumptuously soft, her thick jam and slight over baking saw her come third in line for the throne. Candice’s jam was more jelly but despite grainy texture in her cream filling, her sponge tasted good enough to place her in the middle of the royal lineup. With a gloriously golden sponge and a juicy jam, Andrew reigned supreme with his classic bake.
It may rain, it may pour, but one things for sure, us Brits do love a perfect picnic. Savoury and sweet, with lots of goodies to eat. The pressure was on in the final Showstopper challenge. One creamy chocolate celebration cake, fit for a family. Twelve puff pastry sausage rolls, quiches filled to the top times twelve and yet twelve more scrummy scones, finished off with a fruity tart (No not that kind of fruity tart!) The final three had a mountain to climb before their celebratory shindig. Andrew was loyal to his family theme, using recipes from his Nana that were long cherished and loved. Her classic chocolate cake with dainty shards was the ‘star piece’. Moist with a rich ganache, Mary thought it was ‘out of this world.’ Although his sausage and chorizo rolls tasted fantastic, the pastry was raw and his strawberry tarts had a soggy bottom, much like mine will be if I keep eating cake! His goats cheese, sweet potato and caramelised onion quiche were delicious but his scones were sadly flavourless.
A white chocolate lacy collar, haven’t we been here before Jane? Her floral finish may have failed in botanical week, but our brave baker faced her fears with her chocolate collared, chocolate cake. So what does one do when ones collar is too stiff? Why one must throw glitter at it of course. Despite her décor disaster, her cheeky creamy filling was a ‘lovely surprise.’ Her right regal feast of apple and thyme sausage rolls, salmon and dill quiche and butternut squash with Parmesan scones may have looked a royal delight, but with scones lacking in flavour and raw rolls only her red fruit and elderflower fruity tarts could save her. No need to send her to the Tower just yet.
Porky bacon piggies with black pudding, how unusual but fantastic. Candice got creative with her sausage rolls, style them into little pigs much to the judges delight. Her salmon and asparagus quiche was filled to bursting and full of flavour, which made up for the lack of Manchego in her Spanish scones. She withheld the inquisition and stayed sensational with her chocolate, orange and cardamom cake. The flavour of orange was just ‘beautiful.’ Even her slightly over all rhubarb and custard tarts brought a smile.
It’s been ten weeks since we watched those unsuspecting home bakers walk into the iconic tent. There’s been biscuits and buns and plaited bread. Noah’s Ark, lacy hearts and bunny heads. From florals to fruit and all the flavours in between, it’s been a delightful journey. Now with just three bakers left and a garden full of family and friends, it was time to crown our right royal winner. Would it be Andrew with his perfect measurements, or perhaps Jane with her real home baking, then of course there’s creative Candice with her luscious lippy.
Standing before the judges in their messy aprons with their hearts on their sleeves, each one of the finalists made a worthy winner.
So who was it to be?
Ladies and Gentlemen, the winner of 2016 Great British Bake Off……….. Candice!!
Her determination and passion shone through and her sheer joy was palpable. “I did it. I’m good enough. I don’t know what to say” she softly spoke through her tears. And so now we leave the tent behind although I doubt it’s goodbye. Val was allowed back to Yorkshire, she’s planning a trip to Ayia Napa. Benjamina still bakes, but she doesn’t miss marzipan. Selasi will be zooming around Europe on his bike (you know where to find me!) and Jane and Candice are planning a roadtrip to expand their baking knowledge and possibly their waistlines.
We’ve watched, we’ve salivated and we’ve indulged. What a beautiful end to a brilliant bake off.
Now who’s off to the gym?