Bleeding vegans coming in here, ruining everything – that’s the vibe I got from the tent last night.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m an avid meat-eater, lover of dairy and when I bake it’s full of butter, eggs and sugar… but come on guys. One vegan week isn’t going to kill you.
Only Kim-Joy seemed in her element. “You look like you know your way round a vegan restaurant,” Noel said to her as she worked on the signature of creating eight vegan tartlets with two fillings.
The bakers certainly struggled without butter in their pastry, opting for the likes of vegan margarine, oil and coconut oil. Jon’s was untidy, undercooked and gluey on his garlic and mushroom tarts while Manon’s was too hard on her summer-inspired aubergine and courgette creations.
Flavour in the filling was also an issue for some. Ruby’s sage and butternut squash tartlets were too spicy with not much else going for it, while Briony’s celeriac and apple tarts were too sweet.
Rahul and Kim-Joy triumphed though. Prue even went as far to describe Rahul’s ghugni chaat tarts as “poetry”, with “melt-in-the-mouth” pastry. Kim-Joy’s squirrel-themed tofu tartlets along with her broccoli ones even earned her a Hollywood handshake – albeit a reluctant one. Clearly Paul knows he’s dishing them out far too frequently.
The technical, predictably, involved meringue as the contestants were charged with creating a tropical pavlova made from aquafaba.
“I like chickpeas in their own right but when they’re pretending to be meringue I’m not sure,” said Noel. This is something I’d have to agree with. But then I’m not really a fan of meringue and the smell of chickpeas straight out of the can makes me feel ill. I won’t be whipping it up any time soon.
There were fewer issues than expected and all the bakers turned out decent-looking pavlovas, meaning the judges had to get really picky. Kim-Joy came last, followed by Briony, Jon and Ruby. Manon came second with Rahul top of the technical.
Going into the showstopper it seemed only Rahul and Manon were safe, with it all to play for as they whipped up a vegan celebration cake. Compared to other weeks, it was a pretty simple brief. But the results would suggest it was far from simple to complete.
For some, it was a downright disaster. Ruby’s lemon, chocolate and coconut layer cake collapsed, much to the horror of the other bakers who saw it happen from outside the tent. Rahul’s also suffered the same fate, but alas it was not caught on camera.
Ruby’s at least tasted delicious, according to the judges, while Rahul’s was described as too soggy and too coconutty.
Manon’s spiced apple cake didn’t exactly go to plan either. “Looks great, tastes awful,” declared Paul.
Jon’s ‘Only Fools Eat Horses’ cake also didn’t fare well, looking rather wonky and sad. “It’s knocked off,” he joked. Paul thought it was just plain “hideous” but it had good flavour.
Briony’s hazelnut mocha cake was a triumph, looking “neat as a pin” with good flavour and texture.
Kim-Joy knocked it out of the park with a risky flavour combination of lavender and lemon complete with decorative iced fox biscuits. She also gets extra points (from me) for her accessories – a fabulous fox necklace and adorable fox earrings. I need them all!
Turns out rolling out animals in vegan week is the way to win, and Kim-Joy was crowned star baker.
It also turns out that a collapsing cake isn’t enough to get booted out of the tent and Ruby survives to bake another day as Jon, and his eclectic shirt collection, was sent home.
Here’s a few titbits based on this week’s episode:
Most likely to win: Kim-Joy
Who should have gone home: Ruby
Most fun to watch: Rahul simply for the look he gave the camera when he got covered in icing sugar
Quote of the week: “Do you want me to freeze time for you? I’m a time lord” – Noel