Biscuit Week – a week of crumbly, wonderful, dunkable goodness. It was only Mel at the helm of HSS GBBO this week, and the contestants were definitely starting to feel the pressure of trying to get that perfect bake. To the show’s credit, it seems like they really have stepped up the challenge factor this season, and to be honest we do love hoping that nothing breaks, falls apart or gets the Mary Berry look of shame. Yes, a baking show can be nerve-wracking television. But everything is always made right with a little GBBO innuendo bingo (Mary, Paul and Candice – innuendos abound!)
For this week’s first challenge, the bakers had to make 24 identical and iced biscuits. Each one had to be the same shape, consistency and all equally well decorated. How hard could that be…? Apparently quite hard, as carnage seemed to be the tone of the day. Louise’s biscuits decided to fall on the floor before they even reached the oven and Val’s fell whilst cooling! Stress all round!
The standouts were Tom’s spiced chai frappelattechino biscuits (drool), Candice’s double layer heart-shaped biscuits filled with salted caramel (double drool) and Selasi’s ‘wheeley’ hot biscuits with scotch bonnet chillies and lime (on nom nom!) The creativity-ometer was reaching boiling point with these bakes.
During the previous series, we were often treated to a bit of ‘Baking History’, and it was quite nice to see the return of this segment. They usually leave you feeling ‘ooo, well now I feel a little knowledgeable’ – as you sip your tea and re-examine how severely British you feel in that moment. This week, we learnt all about the biscuit-dunking tradition that has seemed so ingrained into our DNA since the 19th Century. Which is perfectly timed, looking back at last week’s JaffaGate incident with Paul and his insatiable need to dunk (Mary’s scolding still brings joy).
The second challenge of the week was the Technical Challenge. The bakers had to make 12 Viennese Swirls, filled with buttercream and jam. As with all Technical Challenges, all they had to hand were a bunch of ingredients, a laminated recipe sheet and a heart full of hopes and dreams. As with the previous challenge, they must all be uniform and perfect.
Unfortunately, crumbly carnage continued as trying to get that perfect bake seemed a lot harder than most of them thought. Overall, Kate won best bake and last week’s Technical winner Selasi was in last place. Not the Perfect Selasi! It goes to show, biscuits can be anyone’s downfall.
The final challenge was the Showstopper. This time, the bakers had to create a 3D gingerbread story. This had to be something personal to them, be tasty, intricate and contain 3 gingerbread characters. Now, we’ve all tried making these interesting little bundles of tasty hell at some point or another but it seemed like this challenge was made with one idea in mind – to drive the bakers insane! Some bakers definitely felt that goal was being accomplished when their lovingly made structures burnt, fell, broke, looked like it had been decorated by a toddler or collapsed. We felt for you Rav, Val, Louise and Benjamina! The standouts had to be Selasi’s stained glass window church, Andrew’s punting in Cambridge and Candice’s utterly amazing pub with sticky ginger carpet.
Without a doubt, Mary and Paul made the right choice when they chose Candice as Star Baker. She really did come into her own this week, especially as she was rather forgettable last week. Unfortunately, Louise had to say goodbye, which left Val feeling relieved. It could have been either of them to go, as it had not been a great week for either of them.
So, we’ve had 2 weeks of Mary running the show, but now Paul gets to play Puppet Master as we roll into Bread Week. Let the baked carnage continue!