Botanical Week in the GBBO Tent


With only 7 bakers left in the tent Mel and Sue compared themselves to the beauty and innocence of Snow White and the 7 remaining bakers as the seven dwarfs. Only they weren’t the usuals but instead were – Flakey, Bakey, A little Bit Shakey, Achey, Cakey, Awful lot at Stakey and Andrew! Its classic opening segments like that which will make me miss them most – who on earth can replace Mel and Sue! Interestingly I read an article that mentioned Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders which I reckon could work.

This week saw yet another first for Bake Off with a turn towards nature and a celebration of Botanical Week. Botanical Week I hear you say – what next!!! But this was a cracking week as it really did test some of the bakers in their creativity in flavour, their creativity in decoration and their bread making skills. So this week we would see the remaining bakers design a citrus meringue pie, a leafy bread technical and a three tier floral showstopper. Instantly Jane felt she was on the front foot being a gardener. Well I can tell you it didn’t help! And Rav felt instantly disadvantaged as he doesn’t do pretty. Well I bet he is wishing he had bet on himself as this week was sadly his farewell week. His downfall was indeed his lack of pretty as his final showstopper failed in comparison with simple buttercream flowers and little decoration compared to others.

Botanical week appeared to all extend to the bakers choice of clothing as many including Selasi, Jane and Queen Mary herself opted for floral shirts this week just to maximise the theme.

So the signature bake was a citrus meringue. Unfortunately Tom opted for a pumpkin and blood orange pie which the judges really didn’t like so I was surprised when he got star baker this week but he did have success with the technical and showstopper. Rav opted for margherita mandarin and Andrew baked a zesty lime and ginger meringue.

Selasi and Benjamina were both using grapefruit as the curd filling. Both with Italian meringue. Jane and Candice also were in a face off of lime and coconut meringues pies. Jane used swiss meringue as its more stable and goes crispy when baked. Candice added lemongrass and also painted the inside of her piping bag green for a streak of colour. The coconut got stuck in the nozzle when piping though and so ended up swirling the colour together. She also planned to bake in the oven but ended up blow torching. Benjamina’s grapefruit curd outdid Selasi’s which was too stiff. Now is it just me or is love blossoming in the tent???

Paul set this weeks technical challenge – a leafy fougasse. Only Tom had made it before as its his cinema snack. Selasi and Rav knew what it should look like and the shaping is crucial as it needs to look like a leaf with two central consecutive slashes and six angled slashes up each side. Massive discussions entailed as to what consecutive meant! According to engineer Andrew this means one under the other so I’m going with him. Selasi, Andrew and Candice formed the bottom three with Rav, Benjamina and Tom topping this weeks table.

So Mel’s floral dance introduced the floral masterpiece. You could use flowers on it and flowers in it and it had to be three tiers. Mary and Paul were looking for flavours like elderflower and lavender, and see beautiful floral creations for decoration.

Andrew opted for cherries, strawberries and elderflower flavours and covered it in Elderflower buttercream with some simple yellow flowers tumbling down the side. Raw opted for the same orange blossom flavour across all three tiers for simplicity and pipped his own buttercream blossom flowers. Creative Tom again opted to push the floral boundaries by creating a three tier floral tea cake incorporating Elderflower and Camomile, jasmine and green tea and finally decorated with hand pipped rosettes with elderflower buttercream.

Candice created a four season cake including her nan’s boiled fruit cake for a top tier, even using her nan’s original handwritten recipe. Jane went for a three tier all-in-one Mary classic orange sponge but opted for a floral chocolate collar and some sugar craft flowers. Benjamina baked an orange blossom and almond cake along with camomile and opted for a semi-naked decoration (que Mel and Sue innuendo here).

Selasi had a lot to prove this week and he evidently upped his game as his showstopper had three beautiful tiers all baked exquisitely and the hand pipped decoration flowers were immaculate and saved him this week. Social media erupted with the injustice of Selasi not getting star baker this week however his curd was pretty solid and he came bottom of the technical so although i was bowled over with his showstopper I’m not surprised he was skipped for star baker.

So Tom was crowned as this weeks star baker and it was Rav, who instantly recognised this week as his weakness, who was asked to leave the tent. Next week i am super excited about as its dessert week and I’m going to film an extra slice so get to see the episode early!!!

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