Emotions were running high in this week’s Bake Off. Towards the end of the episode, the jovial frolicking from earlier episodes was but a distant memory as more despondent emotions set in.
It was hard to watch, particularly as cheeky 19-year-old Liam broke into tears over the jelly on his showstopper. It didn’t set and it was, frankly, a bit of a mess. And you couldn’t help but feel sorry for him.
Things were more positive in the signature bake when the contestants had “three hours to get steamy” by creating a steamed school pudding, minus the lumpy custard of course.
Liam’s facial expressions were meme-worthy throughout, particularly his suspicious look when he heard he was also doing Bakewell flavours. Such side eye.
Although I’m sure many were horrified to find out he was too young for steamed pudding. When did this happen? He’s not that much younger than me, and I have fond memories of chocolate sponge, plus the unidentifiable gloop, which was apparently custard, poured over it.
Liam’s face was a picture when he was offered the ‘Fielding fondle’ in place of a Hollywood handshake – I’m sure many women would fight for that. He was close, said Paul, but the pud was just too stodgy. Handshakes were doled out like pamphlets in a train station as Yan, Steven and Stacey all received one for their efforts.
Things were a bit different in the technical, although I’d still eat every one of the molten chocolate puddings with peanut butter centres. I’m clearly not fussy. However, even I know that you shouldn’t cook a fondant for 35 minutes, Kate.
Yan’s confidence was misplaced as she came in sixth, although it did lead to another embarrassing moment for Paul as her six puddings were served in a suggestive shape. After all, “if you’re going to serve a cake, serve it phallic”. She fared better than James and Kate, who were seventh and eighth, respectively, while Sophie, Liam and Julia made the podium.
The judging did lead to an internet uprising against Prue, with many claiming her to be unnecessarily cruel of the bakers’ creations. She branded Kate’s Earl Grey custard “a huge mistake”, while another bake was described as “pretty dreadful”.
Doesn’t she know she’s supposed to fill the role of good cop, while Paul plays bad cop? Mary filled this position with ease, giving the bakers a gentle put-down with a side of encouragement and referring to things as “rustic” rather than dreadful.
(Just as an aside, here’s a not-so-subtle name drop: I once met Mary Berry and she was lovely. I want her to be my grandma. I shook her hand, she told me my hands were cold and proceeded to warm them with her own. Best. Moment. Ever.)
On to the showstoppers and the bakers were tasked with creating an ornamental trifle terrine, because that’s a perfectly normal dessert. I prefer the less poncey bowl of trifle with an entire bottle of sherry in it… you know the one, ‘granny’s Christmas special’, which puts you over the legal drink-drive limit.
Kate gets it, she used her nan’s recipe in the showstopper. You could practically see the Ratatouille moment for Paul when he bit into the bright yellow custard made with powder as he was whisked back to his childhood.
This is where things got emotional. Who’d have thought trifle was so emotional? But then, if you’re not welling up over someone crying about an unset jelly, can you really call yourself a Bake Off fan?
Liam’s meltdown was heart-breaking, but the combination of a chai latte panna cotta, dry brownie and jelly just didn’t do it for the judges. Stacey’s lurid, seemingly ’80s-inspired design was described as “truly unique”, while Steven’s impressive American flag was deemed a case of style over substance due to the sheer volume of gelatine in it, rendering it rubbery.
Yan’s, for me, was the standout trifle. Her use of science and creativity led to a heart-warming tribute to her father. But it was Sophie who was named star baker, bolstered partly by her winning performance in the technical, and well-balanced flavours of raspberry and yuzu.
There were more tears as James was sent home, albeit from a very emotional Julia who had a lucky escape, plus a few more from Liam, equally lucky. Let’s hope next week isn’t as emotional.
Here’s my thoughts based on this week’s episode:
Most likely to win: Kate
Who should have been sent home: James
Most fun to watch: Yan
Quote of the week: “If you’re going to serve a cake, serve it phallic” - Yan