Bake Off: The Professionals – Episode 8

We’re going back to childhood in this week’s episode of Bake Off: The Professionals with fairy tales, lollipops and, er… macaron cakes.

Not sure what kind of childhoods the contestants had but mine certainly didn’t involve macarons.

Regardless, at least two-tier macaron cakes were what the contestants were tasked with making in round one, alongside two batches of les sucettes (essentially posh cake pops).

As a quick reminder, here are the contestants left in the competition:

  • Royal blue: Leanne and Romain, Hotel Café Royal
  • Red: Eddie and Mahshid, Savoy
  • Orange: Theo and Hideko, Sweet Art Lab
  • Purple: Darryl and Bharat, Resorts World
  • Red: Emmanuel and Sam, The Hilton Park Lane

Sweet Art Lab’s macaron cake featured hibiscus, raspberry and lychee. “I was a very sophisticated kid,” jokes Theo. The Savoy’s use of citrus, blood orange and grapefruit flavours was also arguably not particularly childlike, neither was Hotel Café Royal’s use of peanut. Resorts World’s creation – flavoured with malted milk and chocolate – was more on my level.

I was the weird child that ate Horlicks straight from the jar. Yes, I know it was dry and weird but it was also delicious.

The judges were equally impressed. It might be the most animated Benoit has been. “I love it. It works. The flavour profile in there I could have it all day. I love this,” he beamed. However they weren’t thrilled with their lollipops, which consisted of nougat and gold leaf-coated choc oranges.

It was a mixed bag for the rest of the contestants as well. Sweet Art Lab were criticised for their still frozen macaron filling, an odd texture was the downfall for Hilton Park Lane, while Hotel Café Royal suffered from undercooked macarons.

The Savoy also suffered, with the judges likening their macaron to a pancake and accusing their lollipops of lacking imagination. “Boring, boring, boring,” said Cherish.

“It was a difficult day for all today,” said Benoit reflecting on the activities. Still, a new day means another chance to wow the judges. Or not…

The Savoy’s Eddie was once again faced with his enemy – sugar work – as he tried to create a genie emerging from a lamp for a fairy tale-inspired showpiece. It was to be accompanied by an entremet.

The showpiece had to include sugar and chocolate, which was to be joined in some way. Given that chocolate hates heat and sugar hates the cold, it was as if the judges wanted the contestants to suffer this week.

Both Hotel Café Royal and Sweet Art Lab drew inspiration from Cinderella, albeit with very different styles. The latter went pumpkin crazy with a pumpkin coach and white chocolate and pumpkin entremets, but unfortunately Cherish couldn’t taste the pivotal ingredient. “You have some brilliant ideas but there are some finishes techniques you can’t quite achieve,” she said.

Hotel Café Royal’s was more understated with a simple castle, crown and shoe. But Cherish wanted more – more diamonds, more glitter – to really represent the princess.

“Things didn’t go to plan,” admits Darryl from Resorts World of their fairy-inspired showpiece, complete with tree stump and mushrooms. It was colourful even if the entremet was a bit saggy. In avoiding the horror that is putting too much gelatine in a mousse, they didn’t put enough in.

Hilton Park Lane, meanwhile, shone. Their showpiece towered above the others with intricate sugar roses, a chocolate chef and carefully crafted recipe book to represent the search of a chef for the perfect recipe. “This is what I call a showpiece,” exclaimed Cherish. However, the exotic fruit and white choc entremet was a tad disappointing.

Still, it was better than what The Savoy presented. Benoit didn’t see the story behind the piece, claiming it was just a pole, a loop and a few swirls, which was not enough. To top it off, the entremet sponge was dry and the whole thing lacked texture.

It didn’t take a genius to work out that they were going home, although Hotel Café Royal had a lucky escape. Hilton Park Lane gained poll position while Resorts World and Sweet Art Lab came joint second.

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