It was a very dramatic second week in the Bake Off tent and Mills & Boon’s own Grace Thiele is here to round up the action.
Hello bakers! This week contestants were tasked with biscuits – iced, Viennese, and gingerbread. Hopefully Mel was incorrect in her interpretation of the contestant’s mood as they entered the tent…
Now, I must say, I’m a gal for a cuppa tea, and my mug is big enough for two Heinz soups. I frequently stun, shock and awe my colleagues with the strength and quantity of my tea, which is dark enough to stain fences. Louise’s preparation for her Rich Tea Biscuits impressed me immensely.
Michael’s choice of biscuits, really, say it all. “Write what you know” is a piece of advice frequently parcelled out to authors – but apparently for a student, “Bake what you know” applies equally.
Now, home décor isn’t quite what Bake Off is known for, but I really, really want to tile my kitchen with Andrew’s Beehive biscuits! Imagine a quaint country cottage, honeysuckle growing over the windows, an old Roberts radio playing The Archers while you bake cheese scones and sip elderberry wine, and these on the wall. Apparently they were a bit soft, but I think they were meant for a higher purpose: my walls!
Now, I truly believe that Bake Off is as much an educational programme as anything else. (Remember that weird Cyprian technical challenge last year that even Mary hadn’t heard of? CULTURE.) And this time, Mel’s educational segment taught us that biscuits were always meant for dunking, something every Brit knows. But apparently it was the French and the Italians who began dunking them in wine!! Ingenious! I’ll be sure to carry this knowledge with me into everyday life (hic).
The technical challenge this week was Viennese Whirls. (Which sounds suspiciously like a move on Strictly Come Dancing – definite opportunity for a crossover here. Dancing bakers? Baking dancers?! Imagine the judging panel – Darcy Bussell, Craig Revel Horwood, Paul and Mary, all in ball gowns eating pie.)
In this round, Kate came up on top, while Selasi came last. I could be unkind and point out that telling everyone you’ve made them before might not be the smartest move, but I’ll resist…
Next up was gingerbread – instead of houses, bakers were tasked with building “stories”. It’s encouraging to know that if the contestant’s baking careers fail, they all have futures as carpenters ahead of them. They might all end up building miniature villages – but still, it’s something.
Michael himself described his creation as becoming “Santa’s Workshop from Hell”, and I’m not going to argue. If a gingerbread house could be haunted, this one would be. Fairgrounds should start building Ghost Rides based on it, with zombie Santas and vampire reindeer jumping out at people.
If you haven’t picked up on this by now, I should inform you: I’m not one to turn down a drink. I’m also something of a fan of ginger cake. Sometimes I have a sudden craving for it, and have to rush to Sainsbury’s to purchase my fix, which I then shamefully scoff. However, if Candice could build me a life size version of The King Bill, complete with sticky ginger cake carpet and preferably a set of taps, I would die a happy woman. A fat, beer-soaked, sticky woman.
Unfortunately, Louise’s Showstopper was really a bit of a disaster. I sat, hand in mouth, on the edge of my seat, G&T at my side momentarily forgotten, as her church wedding gingerbread story fell to pieces. It was tragic – Romeo & Juliet, Macbeth and Othello combined couldn’t touch it.
And so, almost inevitably, Louise was knocked out this week. I thought she was lovely, fabulous, funny – and is absolutely welcome to come and make me tea, any time.
Next week: bread! I shall have my cheese and Marmite at the ready, waiting to be inspired by the creations on screen and rush off to make myself a sandwich. Toodleoo possums!