Cathryn Dresser, GBBO series three contestant takes us through series 7 with an expert eye... Who was crowned champion? Who made a right pavlova of it? Oh... AND SHE’S WRITTEN A SONG ABOUT IT!
So now... the end is here,
And so we face the Bake Off curtain,
My friends I’ll say it clear,
I’ll state my case of which I’m certain
Regrets, there’ll be a few;
But then again, too few to mention.
Baked, what they had to do
And saw it through without exemption.
Baked each charted course;
Each careful step along the recipe
And more, much more than this,
They did it for Hollywood and Berry
Yes, there were times,
I’m sure you knew
When they bit off more than they (or Paul) could chew.
But through it all,
When there was doubt,
The judges ate it up,
Tried not to spit it out.
They faced it all and they stood tall;
And baked for Mary and Paul
We’ve loved, we’ve laughed and cried.
We’ve had our fill (never of Mel and Sue); our share of losing.
And now, as tears subside,
We find it all, all so amusing.
To think they baked all that;
And may I say - not in a shy way,
"Oh no, oh no not them,
They did it pie way".
For what is Paul, what has he got?
If not himself, then he has naught.
To say the things he truly feels;
And not the words of one who kneels.
The record shows they took the blows -
And baked it the GBBO way!
Yes, they baked it their waaaaaaayyyyy.
Ahem. And on to the blog... I watched the final with joy, sadness, admiration, stress and love. Oh Bake Off, what will we do now you’re leaving us?
A signature bake fit for royalty, and a signature that felt more like a showstopper than any other week; a three-layered meringue. All three bakers were bold, ambitious and clever with their designs and flavours. The competition (and egg whites) looked mighty stiff and many a competitive glance was apparent. I think this is the most competitive final Bake Off has seen.
Andrew bravely took on a brown sugar meringue, knowing the flavour would be first-rate, but with a texture that is risky, as brown sugar is much more moist (sorry will try not to use this offensive baking term again, but I can’t promise) and less stable. I thought he’d made a mistake, but it held. Mary worried that the definition wasn’t perfect, but it looked good. Despite a foolishly flavourless fool and an overriding sweetness, Andrew made a really lovely meringue for his weird purple mannequin head! Good job, Captain Careful!
Candice was confident she had kept it straightforward (this is in a Candice way obviously), and made a stunning mango & prosecco-drenched strawberry creation, and then glittered her nuts in a final flourish that earned her THE well-deserved handshake!
Jane went berry beautiful with her red white & blue creation, and other than runny compote and the exclamation that she has a "cracking bottom"- yes Jane you say it sista! - she nailed it, and the judges thought the meringue was "sheer perfection", earning her the second (slightly creepy- which I only say through bitterness as I never got one) Hollywood handshake of the night!
So it seemed the ladies had toes slightly ahead with two bakes to go...
The technical was a total surprise and a brilliant final technical to end this classic series. A Mary Berry Victoria Sandwich! What more could any of us have wanted? The recipe was one line long but that’s all that any baker who makes the final should need. My advice (you know when you pointlessly shout at the telly) was don’t over-think it, it’s a bloody Victoria Sandwich. They were weighing eggs, debating sugar types, questioning buttercream-making methods and madly straining their jam (Candice at least). As expected, all three produced a lovely cake that any self respecting WI member would praise, but Andrew made his perfectly, and would have had a handshake I’m sure, but for the gingham alter barrier.
And so with an even playing field we entered the very last GBBO showstopper (*dries eyes!) - a huge challenge of skill, technique and time management! All the judges wanted was the perfect picnic consisting of almost 50 bakes each - this was a big one. All three bakers produced amazing quality fruit tarts (except maybe Andrew who gave us our last GBBO soggy bottom), delicious quiches, savoury scones (that all slightly lacked their usual flavoursome punch, but were all baked well), sausage rolls (this is where Candice pulled way out ahead with her perfect little porkers), and finally a showstopping chocolate celebration cake, a task in itself.
All three baked moist (sorry), attractive well-baked chocolate cakes. Jane’s collar let her down, but I was so proud when she lifted her head high and threw a load of glitter at it. Andrew made a chocolate cake using his Nan’s recipe and did her super proud! But Candice took a final step ahead with a beautiful orange and cardamom cake that the judges simply loved.
Then we headed out of the tent for the final jubilations (and Selasi and Val ...hooray) and Candice was crowned the last BBC Bake Off Champion ...what a baker ...what an accolade ...what a win ...well done that lovely (perfectly pouty queen of lippy) lady. So happy for her, but also sad for Jane and Andrew who were spectacular finalists and gave Candice a run for her money (I mean no actual money, just a cake stand)!
And how can we leave without a final farewell to TV and life-in-general joy and perfection... Mel, Sue and Mary... we will miss you more than you know and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for all your fabulousness and brilliance.
But what now for Bake Off? Does anyone have the answer!?