With the all the behind the scenes gossip dominating this year’s Great British Bake-Off I don’t think anybody has noticed that this isn’t a particularly good series. Although we’ve had a few memorable characters, including Selasi and the brilliant Val, the quality of the baking hasn’t been as good as it has in previous years. Maybe it’s just because I’ve seen it all before but none of the challenges felt that special tonight and I have to say that I found this week’s episode quite hard to get through. I’m hoping that this year’s series is going to have a couple of thrilling moments coming into the closing weeks because I currently feel it’s simply going through the motions.
Signature Bake – Sweet sponge Roulade
We kicked off desserts week with a bit of a classic in the form of a roulade that had to be sweet and made of sponge. As always several of the bakers were going for a specific theme with their roulades with both Benjamina and Andrew opting for a tropical theme. Whilst Benjamina’s roulade incorporated the flavours of a pina colada and Andrew was going for more of a holiday feel using banana and passion fruit throughout his roulade. Alongside Andrew, Candice was also using passion fruit curd for her roulade which also had the flavours of a raspberry cheesecake and was surrounded in white chocolate. Meanwhile Jane opted for something simpler; a boozy chocolate hazelnut roulade that was one of her husband’s favourites. Similarly Selasi was recreating a family favourite; a raspberry and lemon roulade that he often made as a treat for his young cousins. But Tom once again tried to think outside the box by trying to get his roulade to taste like a millionaire’s cheesecake by adding salted caramel, biscuit and chocolate ganache. Whilst Tom’s flavours were ultimately praised, the fact he covered his roulade in chocolate made it look messy, something Paul did not appreciate. The fact that all the bakers were on a similar level was evident here as none of them appeared to have made any disastrous mistakes with Candice the only one of the final six to fall foul of Paul and Mary. Selasi and Andrew were given positive comments with the former being told that he’d done a really good job and the latter was praised for his design skills.
Technical Challenge – Marjolaine
It’s at this point in the series where the technical challenges are to create things that nobody has ever heard of and I struggle to even type. This week we had a French gateaux called a Marjolaine that required the bakers to make four layers of hazelnut meringue and chocolate ganache. As this was a Mary Berry recipe and she was very clear that the bakers had to be organised as they were required to partake in multi-tasking. Obviously Mary has never seen how any of these technical challenges play out as for the most part the bakers were rushing around and just guessing about what they had to do. I have to say though for six people who didn’t know what they were meant to be making I felt the finished products all looked quite close to Mary Berry’s perfect original. Unfortunately Selasi found himself at the bottom of the pile after his meringue was criticised for being too chewy whilst Tom’s decision to make his Marjolaine look like a Vienetta meant that he was fifth place. Candice did better this round coming second thanks to some good flavours but it was Andrew who triumphed due to some even piping, crisp meringue and four defined layers.
Showstopper – 24 Mini-Mousse Cakes
When given their brief for their showstopper challenge, the final six were told that they had to make two different types of mousse cakes which were meant to be both high end and sophisticated. After hearing this description all of the bakers started making mini creations that you would expect to see offered as a dessert course in a very posh restaurant. That is apart from Tom who decided to shape both of his mousse cakes into the form of sandwiches that you would expect to see at a hipster picnic specifically flavoured with carrot cake and white chocolate mousses. Andrew and Selasi both opted for one of their mousses to have a chocolate mint flavour whilst respectively flavouring their other mousses with raspberry and forest fruits. Benjamina set about recreating the flavours of an apple crumble in one of her mousses whilst the other was flavoured with chocolate and coffee. Jane meanwhile was giving herself loads to do, creating three mousses to go into one cake and two to go into another. Meanwhile the queen of multi-tasking Candice, was also making multiple mousses in order to create a kir royale cake and one that was themed around an after dinner mint. As the minutes wore down it was clear that a lot of the bakers were having problems with their mousses setting with Tom and Selasi having particular issues in this area. I did feel for Selasi as his chocolate mint creations were neither bite size nor set and were therefore dismissed by the judges. However he did redeem himself with the raspberry and passion fruit cakes which were given the thumbs up. The same can’t be said for Tom, who was praised for his creative baking but criticised for not following the brief and creating mousses that were quite heavy due to the fact that he piped his mixture into the middle of his cake sandwiches. Candice also faced criticism once again as the texture of her mousses were too stiff however the flavours of her two cakes were what I feel ultimately saved her. Although Benjamina had problems with her mousses setting it was clear that the flavours in both of her cakes were stunning to the extent that I wanted to taste them myself. But it was Andrew who capped off a fantastic weekend by giving two sets of mousse cakes which garnered all round praise and backed up his earlier proclamation that he was indeed a ‘desserts man’.
Star Baker – As the only consistent baker this week, Andrew was a deserved winner of this award.
Eliminated – Tom had to go after producing those hipster sandwiches.
Next to Go – It’s hard to call at this stage but it seems as if Selasi and Jane have had the most erratic time in the competition up this point and I would’ve thought one of them would be going home next week.
It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time: I feel that Tom almost knew that his sandwich cakes would get criticised for not following the brief especially when he decided to pipe in his mousse.
Pun of the Week: No really good innuendos this week but I did enjoy Sue’s ‘Selasi Come Home’ line after the baker had been given good feedback on his signature bake.
Next Time: It’s to go medieval as the bakers tackle the oddities of Tudor Week.