The final episode of The Great Celebrity Bake Off for Stand Up to Cancer came with a life lesson from Sandi Toksvig: “If things are moving very fast don’t put your thumb in them.”
Decent advice. And yet contestant Alan Carr looked like he was about to challenge it at several points throughout last night’s episode, despite injuring himself on a whisk doing just that while trialling a recipe before the show. It was unnerving to watch.
The other contestants seemed a bit more sensible. Funny man Carr was joined by Irish actress Aisling Bea, Paralympic gold medallist Kadeena Cox and Desperate Housewives star Teri Hatcher. I liked Hatcher… until last night that is... All the bouncing around shouting “I’m in the tent” and general giddiness did not warm my heart.
For their signature challenge, the quartet were charged with creating 12 muffins. Simple enough, surely?
Apparently not. Aisling went for some ‘unbranded Irish stout’ muffins with a whiskey and chocolate ganache and Irish cream frosting. A great concept, but they just didn’t cook in time, making for a somewhat rushed job on the frosting. The judges ruled they looked hideous, though tasted amazing, but not enough for a Hollywood handshake despite the actress’ attempt to force one.
Kadeena’s Bakewell tart muffins were deemed a bit bland, while Alan’s simplistic apple and pecan ones were dubbed “edible”. He was delighted.
Teri, meanwhile, triumphed with her biscuits and gravy-inspired savoury delights, complete with béchamel sauce, a parmesan crisp and candied bacon. Even I had to admit they sounded delicious.
Custard tarts were on the menu for the technical. The only reason there were four half-decent tarts presented to the judges was because of a spot of cheating.
“Teri, love, how do you make custard?” enquired Alan. Luckily for Alan, Teri gave him some pointers. Shame she didn’t help when it came to piping the cream topping – his attempt was… interesting.
Aisling, meanwhile, was busy making scrambled eggs. Three lots of scrambled eggs to be exact. “I’m in the worst shape I’ve ever been in my life,” she proclaimed, “both physically, mentally and bakingly.”
A helping hand from Noel meant her fourth attempt was useable, but only good enough to clinch her third place. Kadeena came last, thanks to thick pastry and runny custard – not what the judges were looking for. Meanwhile Alan, despite his non-existent piping skills, secured second place and Teri first.
On to the showstopper – creating a dream rainbow cake… in other words, a rainbow-coloured cake that expressed the bakers’ “fantasies, ambitions or hopes”.
Kadeena’s was bang on-trend. She created Rio the unicorn, a brightly-coloured marbled sponge with buttercream and a gold surprise in the middle. It was stunning and would have gone down a storm on Instagram.
Teri’s was not on par with Kadeena’s, at least when it came to looks. But she did give herself an insane amount of work to do. Because, clearly, baking a celebration cake in a matter of hours, with Paul Hollywood staring at you, wasn’t stressful enough.
Her elaborate cake comprised a rainbow sponge on the bottom, a hazelnut buttercream and sponge on the top, complete with rainbow lemon curd, sugar decorations and candyfloss clouds. Upon tasting, Prue raised an eyebrow and did a little wiggle in delight, proclaiming it delicious.
Aisling had similar issues, in that the interior was better than the exterior. Her Slice of Pride heart-shaped cake with strawberry and vanilla buttercream, and fondant people was rather messy. “The LGBT plus community won’t want anything to do with it,” she joked.
Alan took the brief literally. Double rainbow. That’s a rainbow-coloured cake featuring beloved characters Zippy, George and Bungle. Its production wasn’t all rainbows and unicorns though. The first green sponge ended up in the bin, Alan looked petrified of his mixer when making the buttercream and promptly ran out of time when decorating. Turns out Noel makes a mean pink hippo out of fondant, complete with eyelashes.
“It’s wonderfully imaginative, but the execution is not exactly professional,” Prue admitted. And, apparently, you shouldn’t be able to snap a sponge cake. Oh dear!
Unsurprisingly Alan was not crowned star baker. Teri was.