My favourite part of a meal was the focus of this week’s Bake Off, as the remaining bakers took on dessert week.
Which baker would be experiencing the sweet taste of success?
For the signature challenge, the bakers were tasked with making a family-sized roulade which needed to be sweet (obviously, it is dessert week) and made of sponge.
The bakers were aiming for a nice swirl in the centre and no cracks when they rolled it. Selasi was the only baker who chose to add butter to his sponge mixture, which Mary said should help make his sponge more pliable.
Meanwhile, Tom’s millionaire shortbread inspired roulade received a mixed reception, with Sue asking him to marry her and Paul saying it would be ‘interesting’.
As the sponges were put in the oven, we saw the bakers’ differing opinions on how long to bake them for – Jane going for 7 to 9 minutes, while Candice went for 15 to 20.
Interestingly, Jane chose to roll her roulade from the long end rather than the short end as the rest of the bakers did, something she does because it produces more slices (well, they did ask for a family-sized one).
While many of the bakers began work on their fillings, Tom was unhappy with the outcome of his sponge and decided to bake his sponge again with only 30 minutes left on the clock.
Despite restarting, Tom did manage to finish, however the judges were disappointed he’d chosen to cover the roulade with chocolate, which meant the swirl they were looking for was hidden. Selasi’s sponge was described as ‘beautiful’ by Mary, while Paul stated it was ‘the star of the show’.
Jane was praised for the texture, but Paul unimpressed by the lack of swirl and said there was too much alcohol. Mary liked the combination in Benjamina’s Pina Colada roulade, but Paul wasn’t so sure about the coconut flavouring she used, wondering if it was too artificial.
Candice had ever so slightly over baked her sponge meaning it had cracked, while Andrew’s very soft filling meant he had a flat spiral.
The Technical Challenge was set by Mary, who advised the bakers to be organised. The bake in question was a marjolaine* (a French rectangular gateau), consisting of four layers of nutty meringue sandwiched with praline and chocolate ganache.
The bakers looked as confused as I was, but fortunately for us viewers we got to see what the bakers were supposed to be making. Despite their initial confusion, the bakers soon got on with it and had their nutty meringue (or dacquoise** to give it the technical term) ready to go in the oven – Andrew having chosen to pipe his mixture into his tins.
The rest of the bake seemed to go well for the bakers, with all of them making their ganache and praline without incident. Then it came to bisecting them… When Andrew broke his meringue. But to his credit, he kept his cool deciding he could recover his bake.
And he was proved right, with Mary and Paul awarding him 1st place. Candice took 2nd place, Benjamina came 3rd, Jane was 4th, Tom 5th while Selasi came 6th.
The showstopper challenge was 24 mini mousse cakes, 12 with one flavour and 12 with another. The judges wanted good mousse on this task, which had to be set to perfection – something which was going to prove a challenge in the hot Bake Off tent.
Jane chose to make a sponge collar with a pattern on to wrap around one lot of her mousse cakes, something the judges were intrigued by.
Both Tom and Benjamina were using apple – Benjamina taking inspiration from and apple crumble, while Tom’s mini mousse cakes were taking the form of sandwiches.
It became clear that making the mousse was a delicate process – as well as chilling the mousse to help it set, the bakers also included gelatine in their mixture to help speed up the process. They had be careful though as using too much could make the end result rubbery.
As the challenge progressed, it seemed like the first lot of mousses were going to be a success, but as time went on we began to see some panic – Candice over-set her blackberry mousse meaning she had to make it again, while Jane began to wonder if she’d forgotten to add gelatine to something…
As the end approached, both the bakers and their mousses were beginning to melt under the pressure.
Jane was praised by Mary for the quality of her sponge collars, and her mousse was praised by the judges. Selasi’s passion fruit mini mousse impressed the judges, however his mint chocolate ones were deemed too big.
Both Candice and Benjamina had one batch of mousses that hadn’t set completely, while unfortunately for Tom his sandwich mousses didn’t hit the brief. Andrew’s showstopper was without a doubt fantastic – his presentation on the ferris wheel was fun, and his mousses were both well set.
Unsurprisingly, Andrew was crowned star baker this week, while Tom became the first bread week star baker not to reach the final, and was sent home.
Next week, it’s quarter final week, and bakers take on… Tudor week. Let’s hope everyone keeps their head…
*Wikipedia once again comes to the rescue…
** …Not once but twice!
Photos from BBC show ‘The Great British Bake Off’, no copyright infringement intended.