It's time for the season ten finale of the Great British Bake Off, are you excited???!!! I AM SO EXCITED!! I have one particular pony in this race, but I'll play nice whatever happens, I promise. Without further ado, let's roll into the finale of the tenth season of the Great British Bake Off!
We open with host Sandi Toksvig firing other host Noel Fielding out of a cannon, as you would to celebrate the finale of a show of such stature. With a large paper mache cannon and match.
We revisit all of our past contestants on the show, many many of which I'd sort of blocked from memory. I know my recaps haven't been the speediest (ahem), but for some reason I'd convinced myself that Howlin' Halloween Helena Garcia was last year's carnival act. But no! Hai Phil Thorne, the lorry driver married to the Biscuit "Queen", how are you? You left early, didn't you? As did Welsh Michelle Fecci-Evans (Fleabag's Sister In A Turtleneck) who could have gone all the way if not for some sketchy judging midway. IWontSpeakAboutHenryBirdYet IWontSpeakAbout
Goodness, even young whatshisface, lemme look it up, he's a twin and made a biscuit guitar, I'm thinking Jamie Something, one sec...Jamie Finn! Awww, I used to call him Football Matchigan because I was worried hooligan was a loaded word thanks to TWITTER. Gaw. (I totally call my boys that)
I'd completely forgotten Amelia Le Bruin with the Cool Hair, she went after a measuring issue, if I recall correctly. I'll revisit everyone else as I think of it, except Priya O'Shea, the Mum Who Talked Too Much. I liked her ideas and bakes but time was not her friend.
Anyway! We're in the final with trim and tidy doctor David Atherton (he's my favourite!! But he usually places second, always a bridesmaid), strong and steady (if slightly boring) bakes Steph Blackwell and Alice Fevronia whom I called Ingenue originally because of her massive peepers. She's a bit of a surprise in the final for me, her bakes have been all over the place but she has flashes of brilliant creativity.
It's interesting to hear what GBBO thinks of the remaining baktestants, Noel narrates that Alice has been all over the place (agree) and that Steph has struggled with her confidence. Hm. She's quite self-effacing, but I don't think she's un-confident any more than any other English or Canadian person ever.
*Side note: one time I decided I was going to NOT be so self-deprecating and proudly declared my focaccia bread the best I'd ever seen, even more so than that of my friend Violet's, a picture of which she was sharing online. She's English and I'm Canadian, so neither of us knew how to confront such naked aggressive confidence so we just sat there in silence until someone else changed the subject. We were quite relieved and never talked about it again. I'm still mortified.
Back to GBBO's description of the bakers! They think Steph's got great flavours and that's where David's struggled, but excelled at design. I would agree that he's used unusual flavours, but I think the problem is more the judging. They're been very particular about only wanting to see certain things. I'm also not over them threatening to eliminate David over baking cakes for Patisserie Week immediately after fawning all over Steph's Opera Cake minutes previous.
On to the challenges! In the Signature, they will be preparing ultimate chocolate cakes. I am fully on board. But they only have two hours!!
Judges Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith explain more fully what they are looking for, but it's not hard to figure out: they want a properly baked and beautifully decorated chocolate cake in two hours. Boom.
David...is using prunes in his cake. And rather a lot of dark and 70% cocoa chocolate as well. That sounds like a very bitter yet rich cake. Hm. Paul looks as though he approves, but prunes?
Alice is peeling pears in the worst way possible (I just want to take them from her and help) for her cake, which seems to have a lot of fruit for a chocolate cake.
I'm really not trying to be unfair to Steph, she's done amazingly well and apparently her flavours are fab. But she's doing another boring-looking cake, this time a Black Forest effort.
In the Signature Challenge in the Great British Bake Off final?
Aww we finally meet her family, I wanted to see her sweary mum! Jane looks exactly like a blonde version of Steph from the future, we get to meet her grandmum too! That's lovely, Steph started baking to help with an existential crisis and I'm glad it helped. She's come so far!
We get to meet everyone now! David's parents inform us that he's been baking his whole life and his adorable partner Nik tells us of his work ethic. David has a twin too, like Jamie!! What are the odds of that? They don't appear to look anything alike.
David has already used half a 750ml bottle of booze in his cake and he's not.done.yet. I like his commitment to a theme but there is no way this will not bite him in the adorable behind.
We're at half time, people! Half time! Alice is literally trying to hide from Paul in an open tent with no cover.
Alice's parents are similarly adorable, it gave me a weird feeling to realise I'm probably older than they are...(47 on Friday!) but I still like them and they love their gorgeous daughter. She's been baking since she was wee as well, they have instilled a motto in her and everything! With good management, you don't need good luck!
So true. It doesn't look super managed when she's got every working ingredient smeared across her workbench, but it seems to work for her!
Sponges are baked and put in the freezer to chill, but one of Alice's layers has not baked through. She's got it all pulled apart too, what will she do? Bake it again? Oh. Oh she takes it off the plate and puts it back in the pan and into the oven. Yikes.
All the drama leading up to judging, down to the last second as always. How could I not love David?
Alice is quite worried at the look of her cake going into the final, but maybe it will taste nice?
And we're at the first of three final judgings for the tenth season of the Great British Bake Off! Whatchu got, David?
Rather a lot.
How does it taste?? To sum up: gorgeous, but a bit full on with the booze.
On to Alice's wobbly cake. It's got a lovely light texture, but Paul doesn't think it has enough "real" chocolate as she used strictly cocoa powder.
The only problem I have with that is I think he decided that when she first told him about her cake, not when he put it in his mouth.
Steph's classic oeuvre looks nice and classic.
It has all the right flavours, but it's just a little bit crumbly. Slightly overbaked.
Alice braces herself for the final Technical Challenge of GBBO season 10.
Paul advises our bakers that they will have to be delicate with this item, once again: super helpful vague advice in a blind challenge.
There was a really cute bit where Paul and Prue stood there after Noel tried to usher them out in a variety of ways, it was just very funny. You should watch that part again!
The challenge is: 6 twice-baked Stilton souffles with thin lavash crackers. Erm. They should look like this:
The first step is to make a roux; we're Goldilocks and the Three Bears here. We've got too runny (Steph) and too thick (Alice), but David's roux is jussst right. He seems the only one comfortable with this challenge, but I understand that GBBO has picked up some American reality TV manipulation tactics and whomever seems to be imploding will win the Technical. *coughRosiecough*
Noel.puts.his.finger.in.Steph's.food then puts it in his mouth. I will need a moment.
On to beating the egg whites, which is the key part of a souffle. They need to be beaten to stiff, without over-beating as Steph has. I will now assume she will win this challenge as her souffle appears to have very little lift.
It's time to load the souffle mix into individual tins, everyone but Steph seems to understand that you need to leave some room for the souffle to rise. She's filling each time to the brim, yikes. She also uses cold water in the baking water bath, has she not made a souffle before?
The crackers go much the same, lots of frantic looking around by the ladies while David putters away calmly making triangles at his station.
The baked soufffles are removed from the oven, but do not leave their tins quite so easily. Oh no, one of Steph's is completely liquid, it hasn't cooked at all. Oh goodness, they're all like that. She cries and we try to chuck her on the shoulder to buck her up, it's all right, Steph! The Technical doesn't mean anything! You did odd things in the Technical all the time, the judges only care about the Showstopper this season!
It must be so stressful, I'm so sorry, Steph.
When they make fun of Steph's souffles it's all I can do not to shout because she's about crying again. Don't kick her, she's down! The judging has to go:
But we do know the Technical hasn't been counting for much, so we'll see how the Showstopper rolls after a good night's sleep.
Steph keeps invoking the baking fairies for help, I have no idea what she's talking about. You got this, lady, you've been killing it all season!! Just one more bake!
But it's one more bake in front of literally everyone important to them, outside in what passes for summer in England, so. You all got this! I'm so excited!!
Oh no, Alice's parents probably aren't going to make it! Their flight from Ireland has been cancelled, and I won't even make a snarky comment about planning and management because I have someone flying in for Christmas as I type this and I don't want to draw bad juju.
The Showstopper Challenge is this: the baketestants must create a feast including a picnic basket and it's contents incorporating cake, enriched bread and biscuits. Those elements must look like anything other than what they are. Interesting.
I'm sorry, J, I have to use gifs to show off all the planned deception instead of pictures! Here is David's drawing:
Sandi makes Alice cry by asking about her support system, bad form, Sandi! Honestly.
Alice has outdone herself, look at her counter!
I mean, look at it!
There seems to be a lot of lemon needed by everyone, Steph's looking quite lost about whether she's got enough or not. Hang in there, Steph, stay focused!
Steph's cake is quite dry and comes apart just as she realises her macarons (y'all know what I think about macarons) go south. Aw yikes, then she spills her bowl and snips her finger as she tries not to cry. Deep breaths, Stephanie, you absolutely know what you're doing and can pull through this! Re-center!
It's a study in contrasts across the room where David is practically humming to himself while baking. I will say that I am pretty much the calmest when I am baking or running.
Noel tells Steph exactly all of that, almost word for word, then goes sliding down the Helter Skelter carnival ride to announce that time is halfway done.
(I kind of miss the little food history whatsits they used to do on this show)
Almost as one, the bakers start to work on their nougatine baskets which will hold everything else they're making. I think Alice's looks the most amazing with the almonds! AND her parents made it on to a plane! Yay!
The bakers finish and we go outside to see who's made it to watch the judging. Oh hai Michael Chakraverty in puce overall shorts! Are they all..anyway! Rosie Bandreth-Poynter is there and so is Priya, awww, I forgot about Dan Chambers! He had an excellent castle with mist and everything and still was sent home first. Poor Namaste. He's backing David for the boys.
Judging, wooooo! Alice takes a deep breath and prepares to hear her final critique. Look how fantastic is her illusion?!
She gets rave reviews for all of her hard work, she's a contender for winner for sure.
On to David's awesome basket.
These contestants are knocking it out of the park for their deceptive pieces! He gets an "exceptional" from Paul and a "bravo" from Prue. Wooooo!
Our final picnic basket of the day is Steph's, I wish she didn't look so rueful.
Paul and Prue are kind in their judging, but almost everything she baked has a negative critique. Paul sees that she's starting to cry and bucks her up "never mind, Steph" which slows her a little. Ah Steph. He actually comes to her bench to give her a hug, awww.
The judges and hosts discuss everyone's bakes; HOW did I not notice that David's not won Star Baker even once this year? And Alice won it twice? They never really liked his flavour combinations, though, not ever. If I was going by the judging of the Showstopper (which is all they do, apparently) I'd say David has it slightly over Alice. Sandi advocates for Alice and I wonder if they ought to be allowed to do that.
Time to find out!
Why...does David's partner's shorts look so odd?
Is it the proportion? I can't think what it is, but something off is sticking out somehow!
Sorry, sorry, back to the show and we find out the winner, who is:
Yay David!! You did it!!!
I've wanted him to win since the beginning, I loved his creative and tidy bakes, his attention to detail and his calm confidence. I'm just usually not right, I'm so glad he pulled through in the end. Cheers, you lovely man, all the best to everyone who made it this far. Alice and Steph: that's nothing on you, top three in England, you guys!
Thanks to everyone for reading along with this series of the Great British Bake Off, I hope you enjoyed it. Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah!