Great British Bake Off 2020: The Final

Shutterstock / Agnes Kantaruk © great british bake off

Like most fans of the Great British Bake Off, I’m not really ready for it to end.

For a start, it’ll leave me with one less thing to write about here.

But it’ll also mean one less feel-good programme on television, at a time when we probably need a few more of them.

(OK, it hasn’t always been as feel-good as it might have been; sometimes eliminations are controversial. Or wrong. We miss you, Hermine).

But all good things, and all that . . .

The final kicked off in a familiar fashion: with a promo of Laura crying about something. Flavouring her recipes with despair has been her secret weapon so far. Would it win her the title?

The news that Peter is the programme’s youngest ever finalist isn’t a surprise to anyone who’s watched him tackle every challenge with the exuberance of a toddler after a bag of skittles. The good ones, with the “E” numbers left in.

Dave has quietly gone about his business in the past few weeks, gradually getting better and better. At this point he’s less dark horse and more . . . regular horse.

Signature challenge: custard slices

A staple of bakeries all over the UK. Something that sounds nice and simple, to ease the contestants into the final.

But there was mischief in Prue’s eyes when the idea of getting the custard to set in time came up.

**Stumbling block alert.**

Laura opted for a yuzu and lime flavoured custard (I’m reliably informed that yuzu is a fruit), while Dave kicked off a bit of a final theme for him by tackling caramel again, after losing a few battles with it in earlier episodes.

Peter went full Scotsman this week, with cranachan-inspired slices.

The challenge was broken up with messages from the bakers’ families. It didn’t help us learn much more about them, but it did make it clear that reading from a script in a natural way is quite difficult.

Back in the tent, Laura’s decision to add 400 ml of liquid to her custard turned out to be a mistake.

While her custard made a slippery, slide-y break for freedom, she once again found herself channelling the great James Acaster:

Noel swooped in to save the day, with a reference to Swedish tennis player Bjorn Borg of all people.

This really has been a weird season.

The judges are happy with Peter’s flavours, even if the pastry was a little thicker than intended. Dave’s effort was just as solid as expected (but in a good way).

Laura had a “bad morning” according to Prue, proving she can do understated when the situation requires.

The technical: walnut whirls

A challenge involving marshmallow and tempered chocolate? Intricate, melty stuff.

So, of course, it was the hottest day of the year.

When asked about the difficulty of getting everything just right when the temperature is burning hotter than a fire in a kiln in an oven in a volcano, Prue swore she didn’t deliberately plan the challenge for the worst possible time.

But she did.

You know she did.

The bakers soon got to work, brushing by the fact none of them knew what on earth sablé might be.

After months of technical challenges, they’re certainly used to winging it. But that doesn’t stop Peter from unleashing some next-level sass at Prue’s “instructions”:

“Assemble,” says he. “Must have taken her a long time to write that up.”

Laura’s attempt at whisking her egg whites for the marshmallow doesn’t go to plan, and she has to start again. But somehow it’s Peter who was starting to look nervous.

It gave me an unpleasant feeling, like I wanted to hug him.

I’m not used to that.

Laura’s efforts weren’t quite set, while Peter’s wilted under the heat.

Silent-but-deadly Dave got everything just about right, coming out on top.

Showstopper challenge: dessert tower

For the final showstopper of the series, the bakers were tasked with creating a tower that reflected their bake off journey, and included a cake plus at least three different baking disciplines.

Peter called his creation a “bonkers Bake Off bubble cake”, but really it’s Dave who seemed to have lost his actual mind. He decided to create a showstopper from all the things throughout the series that he hadn’t managed to execute quite well enough.

He’s got dough balls, that boy.

Although not in this cake, I suppose.

As if to prove the point, as the others ran around manically trying to finish their bakes before the judges called time, he found himself finished, and calmly waiting for his fate.

With nerves like that there should be plenty of openings for him in bomb squads, bull-fighting rings, space administrations or primary schools all over the world once he’s done with baking.

Here are the finished articles:

The judges were impressed with the constituent parts of Laura’s cake, if not the final thing.

“There’s nothing wrong with your baking, Laura,” Prue said, proving she can do sarcasm too.

Peter’s tower hit nearly all the right notes, although some of it proved a little dry and on the stodgy side.

He confessed to liking a bit of stodge, cementing his Scottish credentials once and for all.

Dave’s ambition had let him down once or twice throughout the series, but his most ambitious bake yet was largely a success.

He came unstuck a little as the judges neared the top, when they detected some under-baking.

The winner of the Great British Bake Off is . . .

I was genuinely having trouble picking who would win, or even who I wanted to win. (Between Peter and Dave, I mean. Sorry, Laura).

And the judges had the same problem, with Paul branding this year “the closest to a draw [they’d] ever had”.

But in the end it was Peter who triumphed. And everyone felt a little warm and fuzzy.

Well I did, anyway.

He became the youngest ever winner of the Great British Bake Off, and the first winner from Scotland. Plus, Prue claimed him as her grandson, so all in all it went quite well for him.

Now all we have to do is wait a full year for the next series . . .

I’m not crying. You’re crying.

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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.