The Great British Bake Off’s inaugural Victorian week was a huge success for the audience, but how did the bakers get on with it? And did the right person go home? Our team recap last night’s episode and share their opinions on a gelatin-filled episode.
Jo: I am not generally a fan of New Things. (see Bake Off ‘Free From’ week). But, Old Things in the guise of New Things, well, now you’re talking, and Victorian week was a triumph. Indeed, the Bake Off team have raised their game with their raised game pies, and last night’s episode was joyous from start to finish. A brilliant – and varied – set of challenges made for really entertaining viewing, and also raised an important question in our house: when does a trifle stop being a trifle and become a Russe? Answers on a postcard or someone tweet Mary Berry, please. I’ve got people losing sleep over this.
And so we are down to just six. Flora is on dangerous territory, and her ‘turn the oven up and hope for the best’ method was rightly derided by Mat. He fights fires, folks: he knows when things are TOO HOT. Two over-baked offerings is two too many at this stage of the competition: I think Flora’s days may well be numbered. Meanwhile Ian under-decorated on the game pie front, but duly compensated on his Charlotte Russe, Tamal rightly saw off all comers to be crowned star baker with an outstanding week that has to make him a firm favourite for the title, and poor old Mat had a bad day at the office. Although he fights fires, people. He can do no wrong.
Jemima: He baked his icing! He put icing in the oven! Nadiya’s face! Nadiya’s sheer disbelieving, horror-stricken face! It was JUST TOO MUCH.
OK, I needed to get that off my chest. I enjoyed Victorian week, while not wanting to eat anything that any of the contestants made. There was gelatine everywhere. Jelly is wrong on many levels. I don’t want it in my cakes, I don’t want it in my pies. No. But the challenge was great and obviously a bit too much for poor old Mat. There was really no question of him leaving this week, although Paul clearly needs to pull his socks up if he doesn’t want to go out next week. Ian’s smugness is still unbearable. And Tamal, lovely Tamal, got star baker. I’m so pleased. Tamal for the win!!!
Amy D: Last night we finally saw smug Ian’s creepy flag flying in all of its roadkill-baking, lady finger cutter glory. I wasn’t sure about him before and the reason (beyond the “this is my week” arrogance, eugh)! The glee in his eyes as he talked about cooking dead animals he found on the roadside will take a while to forget. I think this is the first time I’ve watched Bake Off and actively willed someone to fail and cheered at bad comments.
It was pretty inevitable that it was Mat’s time to leave but he’ll be sorely missed and I’m glad he got a star baker under his belt before he left (what in the world possessed him to bake his icing?!). Blagger of the week has to go to Flora with her miraculously baked pie – I definitely thought she was going to end up with black pastry and raw meat! And my heart nearly broke when Paul’s little jelly river went all over his amazing sliced fruit sculptures – I’m in total denial about the probability of him going home next week.
But of course the headline for the night was that Tamal finally got the recognition he deserved and was crowned star baker! And celebrated in the cutest, most Tamal-like way possible: an extended cuddle with Sue and a phone call to his mum.. what a cutie. Tamal to win!
Amy N: Poor Mat – proof that it’s easy to tumble from grace in the GBBO tent but I honestly never thought he had enough grit to go the whole way. Stellar performance by Tamal – he even managed to make a pudding containing more gelatine than is decent look appealing. I really wish I had any of those game pies. Nadiya and Ian are solidly behaving themselves as ever. I feel as though Flora is beginning to flake…
Marissa: Game pies. I am so inspired and probably going to make one this weekend. I’ll catch a pigeon on my terrace, no probs.
I usually find the technical challenges segment of the show to be the most interesting because it gives the bakers a (mostly) even playing field. And when the contestants dwindle down to the smaller numbers, it really does a fair, indisputable job of separating the wheat from the chaff. However, a tennis cake? What does tennis have to do with ANYTHING? (Literally, nothing.) Although I was obviously very happy to see our very own Mrs. Beeton make an appearance. (*SHAMELESS PLUG* GET IT NOW FROM ORIONBOOKS.CO.UK *SHAMELESS PLUG*)
Tamal’s show-stopper was totally gorgeous and the stand-out of the bunch, making for a very well-deserved star baker award. If we get to hear his mom’s adorable response to that news again, I want him to be star baker forever.
Alice: I think Victorian week was a bit of a triumph. The challenges were inventive, challenging, and tested a range of baking skills. And unlike last week, the Technical Challenge was something that was testing but infinitely do-able. The Tennis Court Cake may have looked crazy but its component parts – fruit cake, marzipan, sugar paste – are all things a skilled baker should be able to do (says the person who has only ever bought fondant!).
It was great to see internet favourite Tamal finally win Star Baker after coming so close last week. I was gutted about Mat though – clearly by describing him as a “dark horse” of the competition last week I jinxed him!
The best thing was seeing all the mentions of Mrs Beeton, whose HOW TO EAT we are proud to publish. Although I’m not sure she was quite the domestic goddess we think- fancy missing flour out of a cake recipe…
Julia: Firstly, let’s give special mention to Mel & Sue’s brilliant rendition of An English Country Garden at the top of the episode. Definitely one of the funniest things they’ve ever done on Bake Off (I think I say that every week about something). But I knew Tamal and Nadiya would eventually get to the top of the pack! Both were looking like very strong contenders last night but Tamal was definitely deserving of this week’s Star Baker.
What happened to Mat? He fell apart this week – and apparently sugar craft is not his area of expertise. Who thinks they need to bake icing?! He really seemed to lose it a bit.
Ian appeared to be saved by his Charlotte Russe, despite going in confidently with his weird penchant for road kill, he didn’t do too well in the first two challenges. I would like to see him exit shortly but I do worry that Paul or Flora might be next. Paul seems to be dividing opinion but I am huge fan so he needs to do better next week to sty in!