Hooray – it’s The Great British Bake Off Final!!
The last 10 weeks have flown by in a haze of icing sugar and flour…to be honest the last year has been a bit of blur! The Final of the 2013 Great British Bake Off had arrived and I was watching the show as a fan again rather than a very nervous baker viewing the TV through a large glass of wine!!
It was a little difficult watching the show to start with as I had prepared my ideas for the final challenges along with the 3 finalists just in case it was me that made it through. But as soon as the show started I was glued to the TV and loved watching every minute of it!
The girls started the Final with a cheeky Signature Challenge of creating a Picnic Pie. The brief stipulated that the pie needed to be decorative on the inside as well as on the outside, had to be made from short crust pastry, baked in a loaf tin and needed to keep it’s shape when a slice of pie is cut. Kimberley decided to make a meat pie and made a beautiful chicken mousse and used black pudding as well as some vegetables. She had also decided to colour some of her pastry so that the outside would be as colourful and interesting as on the inside. Ruby and Frances’ pies were similar in that they had both decided to make the pies look like a basket by weaving the pastry into a lattice as a topping, with the fillings consisting of layers of different ingredients resulting in a beautiful rainbow once both pies were cut open.
Sadly for Kimberley, there was too much liquid coming out of her filling which resulted in a bit of a soggy bottom…yes those dreaded words that no baker wants to hear! I could see that Kimberley was annoyed with what had happened, but I knew that she would take herself away from the others for a few minutes and get her head ready for the next challenge, especially as anything could happen at this early stage. Both Ruby and Frances pleased the judges with Ruby edging slightly ahead of Frances after the first challenge and all three bakers went into the next challenge aware that anything could happen to change the rankings.
The Technical Challenge was possibly one of the most difficult ones set for the bakers; they were tasked at baking a batch of 12 pretzels, 6 savoury and 6 sweet and of course following a Paul Hollywood recipe. There were many stages to the bake from making and proving the dough, shaping, boiling and baking and I know for a fact that the instructions on the recipe would have been minimal! All 3 ladies persevered and presented the full batch of pretzels for the judges at the baking alter of doom. At this stage, the technical could still help the judges decide who should win the competition so the girls were obviously anxious to hear how they would be ranked. Frances was given the bronze medal, with Ruby in silver and Kimberley clinching the gold. Going into the final bake, it seemed that the winner could still be anyone of the ladies.
The Sunday of the Showstopper Challenge was a beautiful hot day in June, a perfect day for a garden party for us enjoying the weather, but probably not the best weather to be making a 3 tiered wedding cake in a tent! The girls had one heck of a challenge to finish their bake off experience with, 6 hours to create a 3 tiered wedding cake…6 hours to make 3 different cakes, fillings, coverings, decorations, assemble and decorate the cake and still be able to talk about the cake at the end!! Having made a few wedding cakes, I know how much hard work they would need to put into the final challenge and that they wouldn’t stop until Mel & Sue told them to.
All 3 cakes were very different in style and flavours and the girls should all be very proud of their efforts. Paul and Mary were as always very fair with their comments and feedback and it was at the this point that I knew who the winner was going to be….even though I knew the result, when I saw Frances’ cake I knew that the judges were impressed and I could see that Frances had poured all of her hear and soul into creating the beautiful cake.
Frances’ Midsummer Dream Wedding Cake
Both Ruby and Kimberley’s cakes were also amazing and for 2 ladies who had never made a wedding cake up until that point the should be very proud of their efforts. I wanted to hug all 3 of the girls and say how proud I was!
It was at this point of the day, after the judging and before the announcement of the winner that the rest of the Baking Brigade along with friends and families could see the 3 finalists, quiz them about the weekend and taste some of their amazing bakes. Having spoken to all 3 and tried the bakes and not knowing what had happened in the tent over the weekend, I had no idea who was going to be crowned the Queen of the Bake Off this year, until Sue said her name.
I knew from the first bake that the winner was a force to be reckoned with. She is phenomenal and her ideas, thought process and creations are out of this world…I would often say that they were from plant frangipane, where no-one else could hitch a ride to because she would just completely think outside the box on every challenge we were tasked with. Her attention to detail and sheer work that she out into every bake was exhausting to watch, but resulted in some of the most amazing things I’ve seen in ‘baked’ form. It was definitely a journey that was sometimes very tough but one that really pushed Frances to reach her full potential in the final bake and she thoroughly deserved to win the competition.
Both Kimberley and Ruby were also amazing bakers, each bringing their own style of baking to the tent that made them worthy finalists in this year’s Bake Off.
Huge Congratulations to Frances Quinn, my custard sister and dear Planet Frangipane inhabitant, who will go very far…into outer space and back for sure! I tart you. Well done and keep doing what you’re doing as you’re unique and fabulous.