“Oh god I’m on Bake Off. Why on earth did I say yes?” Channel 4 news presenter Krishnan Guru-Murphy really summed up the collective mood in the tent this week.
Fellow contestants, TV presenter Caroline Flack and boxing champion Nicola Adams, were equally out of their depth, with KitchenAid bowls and ingredients running amok. Actor Greg Wise was, as Krishnan described, smug. You would be if you brought homemade jam and damson vodka with you.
The ingredients were to be used in the first challenge – creating a fruity drizzle cake. Although you’d be forgiven for thinking it was to create a boozy drizzle cake, as Caroline’s sticky orange cake came with a hearty hit of whisky, Greg’s blueberry one included the damson vodka and Krishnan’s raspberry polenta cake came with a drizzle of Amaretto.
Only Nicola (pictured below) avoided the alcohol with a summer fruits offering (although that was probably a good idea as it was the first cake she has ever made).
“All I can hear is Greg Wise behind me being really good and competent and complex,” said Krishnan. “I know he’s got an array of really annoyingly fancy ingredients like vodka and things he’s grown in his own garden.”
Greg’s perceived smugness was only heightened when he offered Krishnan advice on toasting almonds. “He’s just strutting about saying you need a blowtorch,” joked Noel.
Krishnan might have been less bitter had his cake not been decimated in an unfortunate flipping accident involving host Sandi Toksvig. “Ex-host,” according to Sandi.
Despite its rather unfortunate structure, it was declared delicious, even if it wasn’t baked properly. “Maybe Sandi wouldn’t have smashed it to pieces if it had been baked a bit more,” said Noel.
Caroline’s was described as a fantastic cake; Nicola’s first attempt was dense, but tasted fine; while Greg’s smugness was justified as Paul declared “I’ve never had anything like it” and gave him the coveted Hollywood handshake.
The contestants were taken back to the ’70s for the technical, which saw Prue task them with creating an edible swan lake – six choux pastry swans with Chantilly cream on a raspberry coulis lake.
Needless to say, the novice bakers struggled. Caroline couldn’t even pronounce choux and Nicola’s end-result was likened to the Loch Ness monster, securing her last place and Caroline third. Greg took the top spot, putting him in pole position going into the final. “It could all go horribly wrong,” he said.
It didn’t. That said, his biscuit depiction of himself, in ginger and caraway, wasn’t perfect, though the innuendos that ensued were. “I’m not using any machinery because I prefer to get the feel of things by using my hands,” he said.
“This has to be structural as my gentleman is standing up,” he added. Thankfully, he created a pancake kilt to protect his gingerbread modesty.
The impressive design didn’t stop the biscuits from being under-baked, a cardinal sin in the Bake Off tent.
Krishnan crafted himself out of chocolate & orange biscuits with a fondant icing suit… a rather torn fondant icing suit. “It was a stupid idea to wear a suit. I should have just worn pants,” he said.
Caroline’s orange & rosemary biscuit creation was even more terrifying, although the array of different colours on the same biscuit dough was something of an achievement.
Nicola also outdid herself, albeit in a good way, with her shortbread biscuits. “If that’s your first attempt, it’s unbelievable. You should feel very proud of yourself,” praised Paul.
Unusually, he was full of compliments, particularly for the inevitable winner Greg. “I didn’t realise how talented he was,” he said.