Hi readers! This weeks recap will be brought to you by lovely Trista as I’m currently away in Portugal and – sob – missing the Bake Off! Take it away Trista!
Thanks Kerry! I am delighted to be recapping this episode, not only because it is an all-female quarter final, but because this was a really unique week of alternative recipes – gluten free, dairy free, etc.
Beca is hungry for star baker, and the competition is getting fierce. Let’s get started.
The signature bake is a loaf of bread made with unconventional flours such as chestnut or spelt.
Frances goes for spelt, as do Kimberley, Beca and Ruby. Unable to resist a pun, Frances is making a Chelsea “flour” show bun bouquet. Beca goes for savoury again with a potato and spelt focaccia. Only Christine goes for a gluten-free option, using tapioca, rice and potato flour. I applaud the effort but wouldn’t be overly keen to taste it, and sadly it does stick in the tin and break apart.
During baking Kimberley provides my favorite quote of the evening, “an unbroken line of ham”.
Ruby decides to wrap her loaf in a thin layer of extra dough to hide the mango. Will this lead to disaster??
Sue tells us about the history of The National Loaf while we wait to see if Ruby has finally gone too far.
In the judging, Paul loves Frances’ style, and Mary likes the flavour. Paul actually goes pretty easy on everyone. No one gets away without a comment on the texture of their bread, but the only stern criticism is for Kimberley’s hammy braid.
The second challenge is to make Mary Berry’s hazelnut dacquoise – three hazelnut meringues layered with coffee mousse, and topped with ganache and praline. Ok I wasn’t that excited by this at first glance, but typing that has made me hungry.
Everyone is very serious and focused through this section, offering no drama to distract me from how much I now want to eat this gluten-free masterpiece.
They all come out looking pretty good. Christine’s meringue is chewy, Beca’s mousse is runny. Christine is at the bottom of the ranking, followed by Beca, Frances, Kimberley, and Ruby gets top spot.
The showstopper challenge is a 3-D novelty cake, made without dairy. Everyone is using vegetables, but a regular carrot or courgette cake isn’t going to cut it with Mary.
Christine makes a pineapple, passion fruit, and sweet potato cake in the shape of a guitar. Yes!
Beca uses butternut squash to make her cake that is filled with peach jam. Kimberley is also using butternut squash in her toadstool cake.
Ruby and Frances have both gone for carrot, and Ruby is giving Frances a run for her money with the decoration, making her cake into a full-on allotment next to Frances’ vegetable garden.
While they’re baking, Mary goes full Hollywood and starts getting testy about bad textures before any of the cakes are even out of the oven.
Everything is going swimmingly until Ruby somehow manages to crack her glass mixing bowl in two pieces. No one is injured, and the show goes on until smoke starts pouring out of Frances’ microwave. It’s dangerous in the Bake-Off tent today!
Lots of fun designs, but Ruby’s is the only cake that Paul and Mary like in both the texture and flavour. Ruby is untouchable! There are a few teary bakers at the end of the day.
Deliberation time is spent lamenting the trend toward style over substance.
Star baker goes to Ruby, and Christine is going home – shock finish! I was sure they had Frances in their sights.
Kerry will be back next week, thanks for letting me share the Bake-Off with you!