Great British Bake Off, review: Chetna conquers as all six bakers survive

The final six were asked to tackle the greatest cakes on the European continent

Click to follow
The Independent Culture

With the drama of leaky pies, naked pears and the eventual ousting of the never-stormin’ Norman last week, this year’s Bake Off finally separated the wheat from the chaff, or rather, the egg whites from the egg jokes.

With the final six past the halfway point, Marry Berry and Paul Hollywood (described by Nancy in this episode as “that male judge”) decided to really test the amateur bakers with a trio of tasks focusing on Europe’s great cakes.

The first challenge called on the remaining six to create a gateau inspired by the grand old cakes of Europe, leavened only by yeast; Hollywood informed us that baking powder was only invented in the 1850s.

In previous episodes, the judges have been sticklers for the rules yet this week that seemed to fall by the wayside. Nancy said that while she’d eaten at lot of European cakes, she had never “thought about what they’re called and how they’re made.” So she went for a rum punch savarin with coconut cream and tropical fruits, topped off with umbrella cocktail sticks for decoration. It did not exactly scream Marie Antoinette, but she got away with it.

NancyTropicalCake.jpg
Nancy's rum punch savarin with coconut cream and tropical fruits.

The remaining two tasks were all about layers. Lots of layers. The Scandavian Princess Cake required 26 different ingredients and a lot of sponge and cream. Ultimately, many struggled. Richard and Kate's layers crumbled, revealing just how far the two previous star bakers had fallen. In contrast, Nancy's Princess Cake was a wonder to behold: the perfect dome and colour, with layers as well defined as Johnny Depp's cheekbones.

Read more: Swedish Princess cake recipe

Yet it was Chetna who was the standout performer of the last two tasks. She fell far behind during the second challenge, resulting in a last-minute mad dash that left you assuming her final product would be a failure. Yet Berry and Hollywood gave it second place, and with that, Chetna had a spring in her step heading into the showstopper bake.

The judge's wanted a modern take on the Hungarian dobos torte, a multi-layered sponge cake topped with caramel slices. Kate went for three layers of cake when she should have gone for two while Martha's chessboard decoration looked like a melted MC Escher painting.

There was some slight viewer satisfaction when Louis’s cake was finished with five minutes to spare, thus allowing him to do his usual "over-confident-man-in-the-locker-room" prancing around as he cleaned his table.

The judges did applaud his decoration but Hollywood said he “missed slightly on the flavour” and Berry called it far too sweet. Never judge a cake by its caramel topping.

Chetna was crowned star baker for the first time. Richard and Kate had a disastrous showing this week but neither deserved the chop, and it made sense for Hollywood and Berry to postpone axing a baker until next week.

While arguably only Louis and Nancy have shown any consistency throughout the course of the show, the title is still anyone’s game. 

Comments