Food News

Great British Bake Off: Final Recap

It’s finally happened! Forget the undertones of racism from the likes of the Daily Mail about how they got there, the disparaging comments in the media as a whole, and the fact that against all wisdom and justice Ian made the final, Great British Bake Off 2015 has at last reached its crescendo!

Nadiya, Ian and Tamal had the honour of battling it out to win the crown (and write a cookbook!). To start the final, the bakers were tasked with turning the less than exciting iced bun into a thing of wonder. Tamal went out on a limb by deciding not to make his bake overly complicated, whilst also opting to go for UNFLAVOURED royal icing, much to the shock of Mr Hollywood.

Nadiya and Ian both decided to flavour their buns and batch baked their sweet treats with mixed results. Ian had chosen to use elderflower cordial (damn him using a flavour I like so I can’t lambast him!) but he had failed to recognise that the cordial wouldn’t replace the sugar to enough of an extent to save his bake. Sadly his other batch worked!

Nadiya on the other hand had made ROUND, yes ROUND, iced buns. With her dough flavoured, her cardamom crème pat hitting the spot and the overall impression going down well with the judges, it was a solid start by the lady predicted by many to be the runaway winner.

Tamal in my opinion had just made some standard iced buns. Sure, the lack of crème pat in his marmalade buns was forgiven but he lacked the edge that is needed in the GBBO final.

After round one, it was a solid lead for Nadiya.

On to the technical, and the contestants had to address their previous errors in pastry by attempting to make my personal favourite of the pastries: mille-feuille.

With the constestants (well, Nadiya) realising that they had all done badly at pastry in the past, the challenge was on to show how much progress they had made during their time on Bake Off.

Of course, being finals week, the instructions on the technical were limited at best. With this in mind, it was perhaps a great test of the bakers’ instincts rather than just being able to follow instructions. With the sugar syrup making all the bakers doubt themselves, the heat in the tent rising to melt the icing, and the bakers themselves all looking horribly flustered, the chances of a strong bake looked unlikely!

Ian showed typical resolute smugness, but it was again Nadiya who looked to have edged ahead (despite Tamal trying to confuse her with compliments and berating himself loudly near her!)

Tamal’s effort, while tasting alright, received a lot of criticism. Nadiya managed to fall down with a lack of layers and Ian failed to get his pastry baked properly and left his icing not glued on, so it was a battle of the best of the worst. It was Nadiya (again in a technical!) who managed to further her lead with first place. Ian came second and Tamal bombed in third.

So on to the showstopper and it was surely a battle between Nadiya and Ian for the crown. Who would win: smug Ian or nice Nadiya?

The showstopper was based on a single flavoured, multi-tiered British cake (e.g. a Victoria sponge). Tamal opted for a sticky toffee pudding cake based on an image of an abandoned Chinese fishing village. Standard! In contrast to this, clearly neither Nadiya nor Ian were likely to have a cake design to match this. Ian did try, though, by attempting to make a five tiered cake shaped like a carrot waterfall.

Nadiya decided on a lemon drizzle cake inspired by what she would have had at her wedding if it had been held in the UK. For once, we had a story that truly made me feel on board with the contestant and it was really a lovely idea – despite the big fat British wedding cake title given to it by Mel and Sue. Oh, and she used marshmallow to make fondant icing – who knew you could?! As a new parent, I respect this amazing time and money saving tip!

The early signs were that Ian was struggling with timings, whilst Tamal had already mentally checked out, deciding that third place was going to be enough to get him a decent book deal and perhaps a slot on the telly!

Just as suddenly as it had begun, it was over. The bake was finished and the tent had seen its last bake of the year. Ian even managed to shed a tear…

Showstopper-wise, Tamal had made a beautiful piece of sugar work, Ian had made a lot of cakes, and Nadiya really had brought the bling to the bake! Who would deliver on flavour though?

Nadiya was eventually put out of her misery by being told her cake delivered on all counts! Surely the victory was now nailed on?

Tamal was next, bringing up a crazed abandoned fishing village. The judges found this cake to have delivered on nearly all counts. Did this mean that Tamal might have snatched second place from Ian?

Ian brought his five cakes up and to be honest it was a clear time to say that size doesn’t matter. He may have had five cakes but they didn’t look that exciting. Would he deliver on flavour? Sadly yes, he did, but would his lack of the showstopper design element to his cakes see him come last or would he somehow rise up and steal first place from Nadiya?

Whilst the judges stated that it was close, one had to think that Mary and Paul were really wondering how on earth to break it to Ian that being smug does not win you GBBO.

With no real fanfare but with great whoops of celebration from our house, Nadiya had done it! Despite some silliness in the press about how she had got there, despite her early technical struggles, and despite the fact that Ian had thought being smug would win the competition, Nadiya was handed the success that she truly deserves. I hope that when the time comes I will stand a chance of replicating some of her magical bakes from her cookbook!

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