This week saw 46.1538% of a bakers dozen left in the tent (Mel and Sue banter for 6 Bakers). And it was time for pudding!! This would involve a Signature that’s all about the swirl; a Technical all about the nuts; and a Showstopper that’s a massive challenge.
Last week Andrew had a meltdown so this week he had a word to himself. Told himself that this week was his week so pushed himself and it truly paid off as Andrew was finally awarded the elusive star baker award.
Tom acknowledged he had the curse of the star baker and that curse would strike a fatal blow this week and bring an end to Tom’s time in the tent. He also now holds the accolade of being the only person ever to win bread week but not make the final! But he is such a lovely guy which you can read all about in my post about my time on Great British Bake Off: An Extra Slice!
On to the challenges. For the signature the bakers had to bake a family sized roulade that must be sweet and must be sponge not meringue. This started another massive bake off debate on Twitter – isn’t a roulade a meringue and a Swiss roll a sponge?? Are they the same thing. Oh what does it matter they have to make a roly poly cake in simple terms!
A traditional roulade is a fairly simple bake but with places in the quarter finals up for grabs the remaining six bakers had to push themselves to the extreme. Andrew chose to add decoration to his roulade by piping orange tuile lines into his baking tray and freezing this mixture first before adding his main mix, and chose orange to hint at the flavours contained within. The key to a good roulade is that you cannot over bake the mixture or this will cause the sponge to crack. Most bakers opted for aerated mixes with the whipped egg whites adding the raising agent but Selasi opted to add butter to his lemon and strawberry summer picnic roulade. Mary had high expectations that Selasi would have no crack whatsoever which left him speechless.
Tom added nutmeg into the sponge for his millionaires roulade which was based on millionaires shortbread. It had layers of shortbread and salted caramel incorporated into his swirl. This prompted what I believe was the first marriage proposal of the season from Mel! Mel Tom is already taken my love sorry! Paul found this combination “interesting” which we all know is Hollywood code for ain’t gonna work!
Baking time is crucial for a roulade with a mass array of different times seen on those kitchen alarms. Jane opted for 7 to 9 minutes whilst Candice opted for 15 maybe even 20 minutes. I usually bake mine for 8 to 10 minutes and my chocolate roulade is a Mary Berry classic recipe and I think she knows what she’s talking about!!
Benjamina made a pina colada roulade with coconut sponge, pineapple and rum flavours. She used a coconut extract which didn’t work out too well for her but her pineapple cooked with rum got a wink from Mary. Andrew used his dad’s recipe for a tropical holiday roulade with passion fruit curd and Valencia oranges. Tom re-baked his sponge as good enough is not good enough anymore. But his second sponge was still under baked. And this put him behind in time so he had to speed up the cooling down period……with a handheld fan! I’ve truly seen everything now!
Controversial decision from Jane to roll her sponge length ways to get more slices but less swirl. That’s not very logical to me as you may get more slices out of it but they will be smaller slices therefore I would expect double portions if I was round for pudding! Candice made a white chocolate roulade with a passion fruit and raspberry cheesecake filling. Why have one pudding when you can have two I say!
Lots of the bakers opted for alcoholic fillings – rum, hazelnut liqueur. Three opted for a curd to add extra tang to their roulade, including Selasi who’s spreading of his cream sent Mel into a tizz.
Unfortunately Tom’s roll failed to keep its shape and it looked more like a flat log, plus by covering it all in ganache you couldn’t see the swirl that they were after. They liked Jane’s decoration, texture and flavours but wished she had rolled from the shorter end. Benjamina’s was praised for the combination in flavours but the coconut extract added a fake taste.
Candice’s sponge was slightly over baked and the soft cheesecake filling was too soft. Andrew’s jaconde inspired roll fell slightly flat due to the soft filling of banana, curd and cream but the flavours and textures were top notch, that which you would expect of a star baker. Selasi opted for interesting presentation by presenting his roulade on a arc shaped photo frame, minus the photo.
This week’s technical challenge saw bakers have to make a mouthful of a cake – a majolaine , a Mary choice. A French rectangular gateaux with four layers of nutty dacquoise meringue layered with praline buttercream and ganache and entirely covered in nuts. In just three hours. Piece of cake….literally. Most bakers hadn’t heard of it let alone know what it looked like. But they had made the component parts so tried to follow the recipe. Andrew sought inspiration from a posher Vienetta, and I can see where he is coming from. Once again Tom struggled with this task and his piping skills were poor. Andrew’s engineering background came out once again with precision piping on top and his nuts all in line! Some, Tom’s included, just lacked the rectangular shape required. In fact Selasi’s uneven shape was eloquently described as “drunk”. Bottom three were Selasi, Tom and Jane whilst top three were Benjamina, Candice and top of the pile Andrew.
Going into day two Andrew and Benjamina were in line for star baker but in trouble was well all the other four. With such few left any of them having a bad day could result in their exit. For the showstopper challenge they had to bake 24 mini mousse cakes. They had to have an element of sponge and must had an element of mousse whilst also being mini. A challenge in itself as previous weeks have shown – who bakes a mini cake??? I really don’t see the point myself. Jane truly upped her game on the second day, highlighting her drive towards that final, by taking on five different mousses. She also used a decor paste to add a fleur de lys symbol onto the outside of her mousses, well and truly escalating her off the bottom rungs.
Time was critical for the bakers as the longer their mousses had to set the more likely they would hold their shape. And some could have done with a wee bit longer! Benjamina’s apple crumble mousse cake and chocolate coffee mousse cake both tasted great but were a little unset. Candice opted for blackberry and raspberry bubbles and an after dinner mousse. Once again, as is often a shortcoming of Candice, her preference to the aesthetic of the challenge as opposed to taste showed.
Selasi failed to hear the mini part of the challenge, making mammoth mini chocolate and mint mousse cakes alongside a daintier passionfruit, lemon and raspberry mousse cake. Size does matter where Mary and Paul are concerned I’m afraid Selasi! Tom’s final undoing was his interpretation of a mousse cake, by not producing a mousse cake. Instead he opted for a hipster picnic with carrot cake sandwiches and apple sandwiches designed to look like finger sandwiches but aimed to be filled with a light mousse. By choosing to pipe his mousse it became a cream. They did look like sandwiches as pointed out by Jo Brand on the sister GBBO show – they looked like sandwiches filled with prawn mayonnaise and macaroni cheese!!
Andrew truly stole the show with his childhood ice cream cakes with forest fruits and mint chocolate flavourings. But where he truly excelled was the decorative ferris wheel which was adorned with his precise and beautiful mousse cakes. A very well earned star baker this week! There seemed little competition in the end. And unfortunately for Tom little competition in terms of who would be leaving. Next week is Tudor Week – another first first and will really mean anything can happen as we approach the semi finals. I’d love Selasi to get through but this last 5 are pretty evenly matched in my opinion!!