In the beginning there were twelve, and then after a whopping 27 challenges, a few cake-tastrophes and a lot sugar coated tears, twelve became three in an emotional draining Bake Off grand final. We were all drained just after watching, maybe a slice of Nadiya’s showstopper would sort us out? Or would it be Tamal’s technical for the win? Or perhaps Ian’s signature would calm us down.
In the final signature challenge Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood demanded the remaining bakers to create 16 iced buns in two different batches, sounds simple, but when there’s two different doughs, two different flavours, two different fillings and two different icings, things could get a little sticky, a final Bake Off meltdown could be on the horizon. And of course there was a disaster, this is the Bake Off final! You didn’t think things would be a walk in the park did you? Tamal abandoned his crème patissiere as it didn’t set in time even after putting it in freezer meaning his toffee batch had to go without turning them into sweet marmalade butties rather than iced buns, even his royal icing didn’t make the cut as it just looked like it has been slapped on. Meanwhile Ian wondered why half his spiced buns weren’t cooking, until he discovered during the judging he’d forgotten to put sugar in the dough thus creating a crispy bap which Paul admitted sent his taste buds into a meltdown. See I told you someone would have a meltdown. Tamal was crumbling. Ian was wobbling but Nadiya kept her eyes on the prize.
Now onto technical, Paul concocted a final evil test for the trio as he realised pastry was none of their forte. Six raspberry mille-feuilles, you know raspberry mille-feuilles don’t you? Don’t you?! Well for those who don’t know it’s a rectangular flaky puff pastry filled with fruit and Chantilly cream, aka a posh Mr Kipling’s Bakewell. To be perfectly honest, when it came to wit and humour nothing much took place as everyone was silence, nobody looked up from their recipe. It wasn’t “sheer perfection” as Mary likes to say, but rather sheer panic. This was a test of precision as the bakers had to measure their pastry to ensure every rectangle was perfect, every last raspberry was evenly balanced and the cream was perfectly piped. Not ideal when Nadiya couldn’t control her shaking hands. But who’s pastry rose to the challenge? Ian’s raspberries were too far apart, Tamal’s bake looked somewhat swollen putting him in last place and it was Nadiya who trumped again, not a bad turnaround when week one we saw her come last in the technical with a shoddy looking walnut cake.
For the last bake of the show; a single flavoured cake. Sounds ludicrously simple for a showstopper, but it had to be the best single flavoured cake of all time with at least two more smaller ones on top. No pressure. Nadiya opts for lemon drizzle covered wrapped in saris, she tells a story of her wedding in Bangladesh and how she didn’t have a cake, so is baking it now. Tamal’s taken a sticky toffee pudding and made it into a cake, and has promised to create a scene based on an abandoned Chinese fishing village he once saw. Ian, in true Professor Ian style, made five tiers of his carrot cake and mounted it on his own homemade metal display stand. Typically as Bake Off comes to its end, we were given a short snippet into the lives of the bakers at home just to make us love them a little bit more. Tamal was an incredibly cute baby, Nadiya being away for ten weekends in a row showed her husband how much work she does at home, and Ian has a zip wire in his back garden. Gloriously, everyone nailed this showstopper. Ian’s carrot cake cascade was exquisite, Paul claimed it was one of the best carrot cakes he’s ever tasted. Tamal’s selection of sticky toffee cakes with spun sugar was a work of art, despite him just discovering the skill of sugarcraft. Nadiya had made the best lemon drizzle of all time. When it was over there wasn’t a dry eye in the house, and we don’t mean in the Bake Off tent, we’re talking 22 million GBBO devotees started weeping in unison. It’s fair to say that Nadiya was deservedly crowned the winner of Bake Off, she had a flawless final weekend. And there were further tears from her and her family, even Mary Berry got in on the emotion. And people wonder why this is the biggest show on TV.
Recreate your own lemon drizzle cake with our simple recipe.
- 225g unsalted butter, softened
- 225g caster sugar
- 4 eggs
- Dinely grated zest, 1 lemon
- 225g self-raising flour
For the drizzle
- Juice 1½ lemons
- 85g caster sugar
Prep time: 15 mins
- Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Beat together 225g softened unsalted butter and 225g caster sugar until pale and creamy, then add 4 eggs, one at a time, slowly mixing through. Sift in 225g flour, then add the finely grated zest of a lemon and mix until well combined. Line a loaf tin (8 x 21cm) with greaseproof paper, then spoon in the mixture and level the top with a spoon.
- Bake for 45-50 mins until a thin skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. While the cake is cooling in its tin, mix together the juice of 1 and a half lemons and 85g caster sugar to make the drizzle. Prick the warm cake all over with a skewer or fork, then pour over the drizzle – the juice will sink in and the sugar will form a lovely, crisp topping. Leave in the tin until completely cool, then remove and serve.
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