Great British Bake Off 2020: Dessert Week

Shutterstock / jannoon028 © great british bake off

You don’t need to be a fan of the Great British Bake Off to know that not all desserts are cakes.

But aren’t all cakes desserts?

And, therefore, isn’t “Dessert Week” the equivalent of saying “PIN number” instead of “PIN”?

Anyway, last night was the quarter final — there was no time for that kind of philosophising.

On with the show!

Signature challenge: twelve mini cheesecakes

Peter immediately raised suspicions over his Scottishness by claiming to have “an aversion to cheese”. This didn’t seem to phase Paul, however, who called his plan for a ginger and lime cheesecake “pretty much what [he] would do”.

Doing exactly what Paul would do served Laura well back in Pastry Week. Was it more of a gamble now the judges expect “exceptional” bakes from everyone?

Apparently, as he failed to deliver much flavour.

Last week, the trailer for this episode of the Great British Bake Off showed Laura chucking her cakes around like she’d accidentally buttered her hands instead of her ingredients. Purely for entertainment purposes, she got right to it, nearly lobbing her biscuit base straight from the oven on to the floor.

Her flavours were thankfully good enough to detract from the “scooped off the floor” look.

Meanwhile, Dave’s plan to use a bucket full of gelatin did not go down well with Paul:

But mercifully they tasted fine, if a little on the bland side.

Last week’s Star Baker, Hermine, hoped she’d crack the challenge by putting her cakes in tiny jars (do they have hipsters in France?) Unfortunately the jars made everything a little too moist to be called either a cheese or a cake.

Marc’s looked a little less like mini cheesecakes, and a little more like regular-sized cheesecakes that shrunk in the wash.

Continuing a theme, there wasn’t much flavour to them either.

Hopefully the technical would help some of the bakers out . . .

Technical challenge: Sussex pond puddings

Or not!

Prue’s choice for the technical is met with blank stares all round. No one from Sussex left in the competition, obviously. No one from the 1940s either.

Hermine’s cheerful exterior soon began to crack.

“Does anyone even eat this in 2020?” she asked.

It seems unlikely, But they also don’t eat cakes in pastry cages, either, but that was already a thing in this year’s competition.

She seemed unimpressed:

Peter, however, was looking more and more like your child immediately after a spirited performance in the egg and spoon race. Being positively giddy about how unhealthy suet pastry is potentially means he’s Scottish after all.

This technical was very . . . well, technical. There was steaming, there was tying things in knots. There was tensely waiting.

And then, there was melting:

Lots and lots of melting.

Plus, lots and lots of describing things as “silky”. The contestants needed to produce a “silky” crème anglaise. In the previous round, their cheesecakes needed to be “silky smooth”.

Now, I’ve never eaten silk.

And neither should you.

Everyone failed fairly spectacularly at their technical challenge, with their puddings losing shape faster than my waistline in lockdown.

Laura was crowned “winner”, with Prue enthusiastically describing her effort with the words “it really wasn’t wonderful”.

Still, she carried on being pleased regardless.

Showstopper: jelly design cake

“It’s baking, but not as we know it,” Marc said, as he reached for the syringe.

This isn’t one of Fiction Ed Lucy’s Story Starters, just the latest round in Bakers vs Mad Scientists that is this season’s GBBO.

There were a lot of elements to this challenge. It required organisation, baking skill, a flair for decorating, and finesse.

Laura dropped hers again:

Despite the continuing adventures of The Cake Juggler, Paul described her Showstopper as “perfect”.

And, to be fair, it looked pretty spectacular.

Similarly, Dave’s looked good — but the taste somewhat let it down.

Peter? Oh Peter . . .

His cake was difficult to cut (not the jelly bit . . . which you would expect to be difficult to cut. His mousses didn’t set properly. It didn’t look good. His sponges were overbaked.

Tasted alright, though. So that’s a bonus.

After his roaring success in the showstopper last week, Marc went big again:

Unfortunately for him, lightning doesn’t strike twice when you’re in the Great British Bake Off tent.*

His effort took a real savaging from the judges, putting him neck-and-neck with Peter for the chop.

Hermine’s showstopper, on the other hand, was practically a work of art:

She deservedly picked up Star Baker.

And sadly, it was Marc’s time to leave the tent.

And then there were four:


The bakes

*WARNING: lightning probably can strike twice when you’re in a tent.

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Iain McDonald

Iain is Digital Content Editor at the "Friend", making him responsible for managing flow of interesting and entertaining content on the magazine's website and social media channels.