SU2C Bake Off 2020: the tent gets a bakeover

Bake Off SU2C contestants  Tan France, Joel Dommett, Caroline Quentin and Johanna Konta

Yass queen! Finally, two of my favourite TV shows have collided and it is beautiful. For the record they are Bake Off and Queer Eye.

Sure, what I really want is one amazing crossover episode where the Fab Five revamp the tent and presenters (except for Noel whose style is already stunning), and then go head-to-head in a showstopper. I will, however, settle for fashion expert Tan France baking alongside actor Caroline Quentin, TV presenter and actor Joel Dommett and tennis player Johanna Konta.

What I really wish I didn’t have to settle for is the image of Paul Hollywood, albeit in cardboard cut-out form, wearing nothing but a star baker pinny. My poor eyes.

On to a fully clothed, and real-life Paul, and the contestants are charged with making eight filled and decorated éclairs.

Tan was going in confident. “I am very resolute and focused. I’m feeling very good about it. I think I’m going to win,” he said. I’m normally not a fan of this level of cockiness, but for Tan, I’ll allow it.

However, his éclairs indicated that he may have spoken too soon. He was definitely looking to impress with pistachio and cardamom versions with craquelin and chocolate ganache on top, but as Sandi so lovingly put it once they emerged from the oven: “They look like baguettes.”

The judges also deemed them “too sloppy” and “too wet”. Poor Tan.

Caroline, meanwhile, whipped up apple & blackberry éclairs complete with medlar – also known as “the dog’s arse of fruit”. Seriously. That’s what it is known as. Dog’s arse fruit or not, Paul and Prue declared that her éclairs had no flavour other than cream and pastry.

“You can’t taste anything?! You’re in the wrong job,” she declared. Having taken a bite, she agreed.

Johanna’s passion fruit and white chocolate offerings were a tad misshapen but, nevertheless, Caroline was impressed. “Ooh, nice big buns Johanna. Nice big swollen buns – they look great.”

Joel, meanwhile, whipped up pro-fit-a-joels. That’s éclairs with protein powder in. An invention no one has asked for. Ever. Seriously, stop putting bloody protein in everything. It ruins it.

The look on Paul’s face when he asked “why?” was confirmation of this. Alas, they were deemed merely OK.

On to the technical and things were getting retro as Prue asked them to make a Battenberg cake in the Stand Up 2 Cancer colours – orange and black. Note: black cakes are horrifying to look at.

“I like my sponges like I like my dogs,” said Caroline. “Light and fluffy.”

I like mine like I like my cake. In all shapes and sizes.

Apart from some questionable wrapping of marzipan around the cakes, all four contestants did a pretty decent job – even with distractions such as Noel and Sandi playing tennis over Johanna’s workstation (pictured above) and Joel’s bizarre singing.

Singing doesn’t make for a stellar bake though, and Joel came in fourth, followed by Caroline in third, Johanna in second and Tan triumphant in first place.

It’s showstopper time and the quartet needed to make 3D cakes that represented their biggest fears.

“I’m making a rat cake,” announced Caroline (pictured below). “You’re right to look scared.”

Don’t worry, it didn’t contain real rat, but lemon sponge and buttercream.

Johanna’s chocolate and hazelnut cream was an ode to her sausage dog’s indifference towards her, as he is fiercely independent. That, and losing him. “My dog doesn’t love me,” she exclaimed.

Tan, admitting his vanity, said his cake was a representation of his biggest fear – ageing. While Joel’s showed his fear of heights via a towering shortbread diving board with a cake ‘swimming pool’. Apparently, he tried it with cake, but it collapsed and he therefore chose to ignore the brief.

For this, he was criticised by the judges. Not helped by the fact his cake was overbaked. Prue was very taken by the blue curacao jelly though – she loves a tipple, that one.

Johanna also struggled with her cake. “It’s funny how you really dislike baking when it’s going wrong,” she said. I couldn’t agree more. Her resultant cake was rather messy, but delicious.

Caroline’s was the opposite. The chunky yet still kind of adorable rat (to me at least) was beautifully decorated, but somewhat under-baked in the middle.

“It’s very traditional to have a cooked cake. This is very avant-garde,” she said.

Tan sought to spice things up with his carefully crafted spiced carrot cake with nutmeg cream cheese frosting. The judges were seriously impressed with his skills.

All in all, every one of the contestants put in a fairly solid performance this episode. There were no major disasters, so the race for star baker was a close one.

But, I’m pleased to say, Tan got his wish (and a star baker apron). Yass queen!

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