I’m not sure I’m in any fit state to write this. Having judged two charity bake offs already today, I try to sit down in front of the TV, still bouncing with sugar pumping from the likes of Billy’s sticky toffee bundt cake and Elliot’s salted caramel brownies. Yet this must be nothing compared to the adrenalin rush that Andrew, Candice and Jane felt on their final day in cake captivity.
Andrew says that getting to the final seemed like a silly dream, but having made it this far, he’s ‘gonna damn well try’ to win. He girds his loins and shows he’s prepared for a heated competition by wearing shorts. Despite the summer filming, Mary’s still buttoned up in a padded jacket for any outdoor shots, accessorised with a cashmere scarf and the perceptible crack of a weary croak in her voice.
This week’s ‘theme’ (such that it is) has royal connections and we begin with a signature challenge of a three-layered meringue crown. It’s stretching things a bit to call this a ‘signature’ – I mean, does anybody really bake such a thing so regularly that it becomes their hallmark? Well apparently our revered trio does.
We’re told that Jane’s meringue crown is her husband’s favourite – incredibly it appears she may have more than one such signature bake. Along with a tiramisu throne and shortbread sceptre, it’s probably an essential part of any finalist’s everyday repertoire.
Jane says she’s ‘keeping it simple’ with a patriotic pudding of red, white and blue. Pristine peaks of white meringue are layered with vibrant compotes of red berries and blueberries and slices of white nectarine.
Candice also thinks she’s ‘reining it in this week’ but her crown features two different meringues (one made with golden caster sugar and one white), filled with mango curd, strawberries, glittered pistachios and gold-dusted physalis. It’s topped with a delicate meringue coronet; cleverly crafted on a silicone dome.