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Great British Bake Off: Week 6

In the closest week yet on this series of The Great British Bake Off, week 6 saw the battle of the flowers. It’s Botanical Week!

To get in the true spirit of this week’s theme, floral tops were a plenty in the tent. Jane, Mel and Mary all wore some lovely botanicals, but it was Selasi that most impressed Mary with his shirt. Selasi commented on Paul’s lack of joining in with the floral party, suggesting a salsa dancer style shirt would best…

The Signature Challenge

Jane checking out her competition… Candice

Starting with a twist on the classic lemon, Mary and Paul were looking for a Citrus Meringue Pie with a great flavoured curd, crisp pastry and beautiful meringue. Hot in contention was the blow torch vs oven finishing touch to the pie, with Mary very shocked at the amount of bakers opting for just the torch. With just seven bakers left, the camaraderie of the tent is starting to turn into serious competition. Benjamina and Selasi went head to head with their Grapefruit curd fillings. Whilst Jane plainly stated that her biggest rival is Candice, in a week that as a Garden Designer by trade, Jane should excel.

Despite having a bit of a problem with bright green food colouring and coconut clogging her piping nozzle, Candice was complimented for her flavours. But Jane did not need to worry as her own pie was got Mary’s approval for taste and the height of her meringue, importantly finished in the oven.

Benjamina’s looked beautiful with her rose swirl piping on top and she was very pleased to win over the judges, whilst Selasi’s curd was criticised for being too thick. Tom, Rav and Andrew struggled with under-whipped soggy meringue, but Rav and Tom also failed to impress with his flavours.

The Technical Challenge

From pastry to bread, this week’s technical was the French classic: the Herb Fougasse. Paul asked for two of these leaf shaped loaves and left the bakers wondering if the consecutive lines in his recipe were one above the other or two side by side! Mostly this challenge brought the stress of waiting, with two sets of proving the contestants just had to hope they’d done it right.

Selasi took the approach of giving his fougasse as much time to prove as possible… leaving him with a very underdone bread. He took last place with Andrew just ahead in sixth. Knowing he had to come back with a strong round, and with the added pressure of being crowned Bread Week’s Star Baker, Tom pulled out all the stops with his fougasse… and managed to take the top spot! Close behind was Benjamina in second.

The Showstopper Challenge

After the first day of Botanicals Week, it seemed to have turned to a bit of a battle of the sexes with Mary and Paul commenting that the girls have all done well but the boys could all be in contention for going home.  Yet, it was all still to play for in this final challenge that asked the bakers to create a three tier cake with florals either in the bakes or as decoration, or both. The most visually challenging round so far this series under the time constraints we think!

We appreciated the variety of flavours and styles on display in this challenge, but, of course, it didn’t come together for everyone. Jane’s cake was very promising from a decoration perspective as she opted to do three simple cakes in the same flavours to focus on her finishing touches. She opted to create some sugar flowers and floral chocolate colloars for each tier of her cake. Unfortunately, the time ran away from her… her orange cakes were simple and slightly over-baked and her decoration failed to impress. Rushing at the end made everything look a bit messy and her chocolate collars had no shine.

Candice pushed the challenge that extra step further as usual, with her four seasons cake that required four tiers. It was topped with her Nan’s fruit cake  and decorated with a rustic look and edible flowers. But not all of the cakes delivered on flavour. Benjamina went for a very on trend semi-naked cake with drippy icing and fresh flowers but again didn’t quite hit the mark. Her finish was a bit messy, her cakes were slightly under-baked and Paul and Mary couldn’t taste her chamomile tea flavouring. No-longer in contention for Star Baker, but at least her cake’s nudity gave Mel and Sue a good gag…

Tom took Star Baker with his tea infused cakes!

Two of the boys really brought it back with their Showstopper Cakes. Selasi impressed with three perfectly baked cakes and beautiful rosettes piped all the way around his cakes. But it was Tom that took it to another level with his Tea flavoured cakes, one chamomile, one elderflower and one jasmine. Both Mary and Paul were worried with what Tom was making and whether they would even be able to taste the tea, but he completely surpassed their expectations. They were delighted with the well-balanced flavours and his simple but uniform piped finish. In the biggest come back of the series so far, Tom took Star Baker!

Leaving Andrew and Rav, the person leaving the tent this week was a really tough call. Andrew was brought to tears after struggling with so many elements of his elderflower trio cake decorated with Swiss meringue buttercream. His attempt at subtlety didn’t pay off…

But, sadly it was Rav’s time to leave The Great British Bake Off. His cake was too simple, with only one flavour for all three cakes, and very plain decoration with piped buttercream flowers. After admitting that pretty bakes were not his thing earlier on in the episode, he was critiqued for the messy execution of this simple look and slightly over-baked sponges. We are so sad to see Rav go!

Next up is Dessert Week! If you fancy trying to decorate your own cakes with edible flowers, follow our helpful guide to crystallising them


Images © Love Productions – Photographer: Tom Graham