Sunday, December 17The Voice of London

Biscuits, Broken Ovens and a BLT Cake: The Best Bits of GBBO

Words: Joanne Clark | Subbing: Bella Dawe

The latest series of The Great British Bake Off was one surrounded by interest as it was the first since Channel 4 took over the show from the BBC. But how did it compare to previous series?

The previous seven series included everyone’s favourite baker Mary Berry, presenting duo Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins, and bread connoisseur Paul Hollywood.

This series saw the introduction of Noel Fielding and Sandi Toksvig as presenters, and cookery writer Prue Leith as Paul Hollywood’s new co-star.

Besides the additions of Fielding, Toksvig and Leith, and the introduction of a few new themed weeks, the show wasn’t entirely different. Paul Hollywood’s handshake was still coveted, there were still contestants you supported and wanted to do well, and there were still cakes, biscuits, and other delicious-looking baked goods that made your mouth water.

The ratings for the first episode of the series were 6.5 million, including both views from Channel 4 and Channel 4+1. The ratings of the episode after a week were up to almost 9.5 million. Although the ratings weren’t as high as when the show was broadcast on the BBC, it was the highest audience numbers Channel 4 had received overnight since the 2012 Paralympic Games.

On Tuesday, the show ended and we finally found out the winner of The Great British Bake Off 2017. We’ve put together a list of some of the best moments of the series, because, to be honest, we miss the show already.

Noel and Sandi

Not altogether a best moment, but one of the best features of the show, was the partnership of Noel Fielding and Sandi Toksvig. The announcement of the two as the new presenters of GBBO turned a few heads to begin with, but after the first episode, it was clear that it worked.

Not only are they entertaining individually, but together, they make a great duo. Between the skits and jokes, and the comedic timing they both share, they really were one of the best parts of the show.

The support they gave to the bakers was great to watch too. Noel and Sandi were on hand to help and support the contestants whenever they needed it – they seemed genuinely happy when the bakers had done well, and sad when they had to go.

Noel’s shirts were also an added bonus.

New themed weeks

French Patisserie Week has always been a favourite of mine, but this series saw the introduction of several new themed weeks, including Caramel Week, Italian Week, Forgotten Bakes Week and Pudding Week.

The themes are something that keeps Bake Off exciting. There are the important cake, biscuit and bread weeks, the staples of the show. But the introduction of new weeks for a new series kept everyone on their toes.

Steven’s BLT Illusion Cake

It’s hard to believe that this moment happened in the very first episode of the series, but one of the best bits of the show was when Steven created his illusion cake. Everyone was tasked with creating one as a showstopper, it had to have one flavour of sponge and be sized to scale. But the extent of Steven’s creativity had everyone on Twitter talking.

His cake was made in the style of a loaf of bread and a BLT sandwich, but was actually a chocolate hazelnut sponge with peanut butter frosting. He used a spray gun with edible colour to create the effect of a BLT sandwich.

It earned him Star Baker in the very first week, the first of several times he received the accolade. Paul Hollywood, known to be hard to please, said the cake was “stunning, without a shadow of a doubt you know exactly what that is.” In the end, Steven got to the final.

Stacey’s Mishap

There’s not many people who’ve been on Bake Off that can say they’ve broken their oven, but in week eight, Stacey did.

Week eight was all about ‘Forgotten Bakes’, and for the showstopper, the bakers were tasked with making a Victorian favourite – a Savoy Cake.

A Savoy Cake is, as Sandi described, “a light delicate sponge, baked in an elaborate mold, with a hard sugar coating.” It is then served on a plinth that is also made of sponge.

Just as she was checking on her cake to see if it was ready, Stacey attempted to close her oven. Sensing something was wrong, she opened the door of the oven, which then decided to fall off.

As the cake had a little time left to bake, she decided to hold it on herself, rather than have a literal showstopper. That week, she got Star Baker.

Yan, the Scientist

Yan was a fan favourite, who not only had a real talent for baking, but incorporated science into her bakes as well.

Yan is a biomedical scientist for the NHS, and her main form of transportation is a scooter – something we found out one episode when she appeared with a bruise on her chin.

In the first showstopper challenge, where the bakers were tasked with making an illusion cake, Yan made a cake that resembled a bowl of ramen. In order to create the salmon roe of the ramen, she cooled down oil and piped in some liquid, that was actually flavoured like fruit.

But one moment in Week Five was particularly incredible. The contestants were asked to create a Trifle Terrine, which is basically an upside down trifle, for the showstopper. Yan dedicated her Trifle Terrine to her father, and named it “Heart of a Hero”.

Yan’s father was in the Royal Navy and was stationed in Hong Kong. She describes how her mother and father risked everything to move to the UK. Not only did the dessert include chocolate cityscapes of London and Hong Kong, but a creation that Yan came up with.

Yan created a poppy made of jelly as a centrepiece of her Trifle Terrine. Using clear jelly, Yan used a syringe to inject red gelatine into the jelly. After this had set, she then used another syringe to insert black gelatine to create the inside of the poppy. Paul said it was “very clever” and everyone watching – or at least everyone on Twitter – seemed to be amazed at the creativity and ingenuity that went into the creation.

The friendship between the bakers

Bake Off is a competition, but it is also a show that revolves around people who truly love to bake and create. The support that the contestants showed towards one another was evident throughout the series. Even when it was announced who had won, there were no hard feelings.

Past contestants have become firm friends, and this year doesn’t seem any different. As Sophie and Steven plan a holiday together and Yan and Julia take roadtrips to visit Flo, it’s nice to see a competitive show where everyone is also genuinely happy for one another.

We have a year of waiting until GBBO 2018, where we’ll probably see more inventive bakes, mistakes and even more good moments. Also, thanks to Prue Leith, we know that she’ll be returning, alongside my new favourite partnership – Noel and Sandi.

-->