For week three of Bake Off: The Professionals, contestants faced a series of Asia-themed challenges.
The pressure was on the four teams left in the heat, as their performance in Asia week would determine which three teams would make it to the final six:
- Richard & Bernadett – Dreamland Cakes Patisserie
- Hannah & Martina – Chiltern Firehouse
- Adam & Sam – Palé Hall Hotel
- Nelson & Evaldas – South Place Hotel
The first challenge entailed the chefs creating an Asian classic called Kueh Lapis – a spiced cake with 17 layers of grilled sponge batter.
Cherish said she used to make it with her beloved grandma, and that it took her back to when she was a child. No pressure, then.
“Imagine Cherish as a child,” said presenter Tom Allen, “with pigtails and a ruler, shouting at people.”
The Kueh Lapis had to be decorated with bicolour chocolate pick-up-sticks and presented on a chocolate stand at least 25cm tall.
Nelson & Evaldas (pictured above) opted for a teardrop stand, featuring a lotus flower and a Chinese lantern; while Adam & Sam went for something botanical, incorporating a lotus flower and golden arabesques; and Richard & Bernadett chose to add chocolate bamboo to their otherwise minimalist stand.
Meanwhile, Hannah & Martina were possibly going to decorate their stand with chocolate spheres … they hadn’t really decided.
On to making the Kueh Lapis, and a few of them had never grilled a cake before.
“We need to use our intuition,” said Nelson, proceeding to make the mistake of baking the layers separately. He did, however, change his mind, and bake the layers on top of one another after only a few attempts.
Three of the four teams actually read the brief and put the mix in the square cake tin, but Hannah opted to place an uneven circle of cake on a tray under the grill.
“It says place the mixture in the cake tin,” said Martina.
“Does it?” asked Hannah.
Adam & Sam (pictured below) had divided the weight of the mixture by 17 to ensure even layers. “You’re very smart” said Benoit.
Back to the stands, as most of the chocolate had now set and was ready to be assembled.
However, Richard & Bernadett’s bamboo – the only oriental element – hadn’t worked and wouldn’t come away from its plastic inner.
Hannah and Martina still didn’t seem to have a clue: “I don’t know what we’re doing, but we’re doing it,” said Martina. Not very reassuring.
On to the judging…
“I’m trying to say something good, but there’s nothing to say,” said Hannah.
“It has 17 layers,” said Martina, attempting to draw a positive from a frankly sloppy situation.
“Are you serious? Look at the f*cking state of it!” Hannah responded. I love her weekly F-word.
First up were Adam & Sam, whose Kueh Lapis looked just like the example given.
“Now we’re talking,” said Cherish as she cut into it, revealing 17 perfect layers. Then she high-fived Adam. Perhaps Paul Hollywood could reinvent his coveted hand shake as a Hollywood high-five?
Next up were Richard & Bernadett, whose chocolate stand was visibly lacking bamboo. And their Kueh Lapis had 18 layers, much to Richard’s surprise.
“It didn’t look great, but it tasted lovely,” said Benoit.
Nelson & Evaldas were criticised for they layer faux-pas. Their chocolate stand, however, looked fantastic.
Finally, it was the turn of Hannah & Martina, whose Kueh Lapis was not baked. “I don’t think we’re going to eat it,” said Benoit.
And it was on to day two.
For the showstopper, the teams had to make an Asia-inspired showpiece entirely out of chocolate. It had to feature a lantern and a moving part and include three lots of 24 filled chocolates.
Adam & Sam opted for a Chinese New Year theme, while Hannah & Martina (pictured below) were hoping to win over the judges with a Chinese dragon, which they were busy covering in fishnet tights to give a scaled effect when it was sprayed.
Richard & Bernadett had decided to make a Japanese cherry blossom-filled garden.
“As we get into the competition, there’s more of a swag to your baking, don’t you think?” Liam asked Richard, who shook his head. “Do you know what swag is?” Liam went on.
“Isn’t that what people steal from a house?” Richard replied, “I think it is.”
Thankfully, the teams weren’t being judged on their knowledge of slang, and first up were Nelson & Evaldas, whose levitating moving part was described as “magic”. The chocolates, however, didn’t go down as well.
“This is one of the worst chocolates I’ve had in a long time,” said Benoit.
Next to be judged were Adam & Sam, who were greeted by an impressed Cherish praising the height of their showpiece and the “Happy New Year” Chinese engravings on the bottom of some of the chocolates.
Hannah & Martina were third to face the judges, and their remote-controlled moving part was enjoyed by all … until Liam broke it. Their chocolates received mixed reviews, and Benoit branded it a good effort.
Richard & Bernadett were last up, and Benoit admitted he hadn’t expected them to pull off their idea. Cherish was disappointed with the lack of chocolates and noticed they hadn’t done the cherry blossom.
Ultimately, Adam & Sam took first place while Hannah & Martina, not unexpectedly, became the third team to leave the competition.