Great British Bake Off 2016: episode seven recap

Great British Bake Off 2016: episode seven recap

by Howard Middleton 06 October 2016

Howard Middleton takes us through all the rolling, layering and mousse-melting action of Dessert Week on Great British Bake Off.

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Howard is a food writer and presenter from Sheffield, who first caught the public’s attention on series four of The Great British Bake Off, going on to win their affection with his quirky style and love of unusual ingredients.

Howard is a food writer and presenter from Sheffield, who first caught the public’s attention on series four of The Great British Bake Off, going on to win their affection with his quirky style and love of unusual ingredients.

Has Bake Off become predictable? Last week, I had the unexpected pleasure of meeting our current batch of bakers at a Bake Off-themed charity ball in aid of Childline. Val looked stunning in blue sequins, but I digress. Chatting to Richard from series five, we agreed our predictions for this year’s finalists. Suffice to say that by the end of this programme we’ll have been proved wrong.

Anyway, back to the tent and this week’s signature challenge is to produce a sponge roulade. The bakers are clearly instructed not to make a meringue one, so I predict that meringue will appear in the technical challenge. Having been raised on Delia and refined by Nigella, I’ve always thought the distinction between a Swiss roll and a roulade is that the latter is flourless, but we see plenty of the stuff here. I check Wikipedia and discover roulades of meat but no clarification on the cake variety. I have to concede that on Bake Off there is no real difference, other than to avoid the accusation that it’s essentially a repeat of the Swiss roll signature of series five.

Now I’ve been well and truly chastised by my sister for not picking up on the story of last week, which was Candice’s apparent lack of signature lipstick. Sorry. I thought that she’d just gone for the ‘nude’ look, but she’s back on form this week blowing bold beetroot kisses. Her ambitious white chocolate roulade includes a raspberry cheesecake filling and passion fruit curd. ‘It’s nice to have a bit of seedage in there,’ she says. I love it when people invent new baking terminology. The filling turns out to be soft but ‘scrumptious’, though her sponge is ‘a bit rubbery’.

Andrew pipes diagonal lines of orange to decorate his joconde-style sponge. Paul, possibly looking for a break from loveable Liverpudlian, unexpectedly tries out a little received pronunciation, saying ‘Oh that’s a shame – some of your stripes have come orff.’ Packed with banana, passion fruit caramel and a passion fruit curd made to his dad’s recipe, the judges decide the filling is a little soft but the flavours are lovely and the sponge is delicious.

Jane's decision to roll her roulade lengthways did her no favours
Andrew fared well in all three rounds after very nearly going home last week

Jane’s chocolate and hazelnut liqueur sponge is controversially rolled across its length, producing more slices but little spiral. The judges aren’t convinced by the radical roll, but Mary finds some solace – ‘perhaps it’s the tipple in there I like’. Benjamina’s piña colada roulade includes a coconut sponge and pineapple soaked in coconut rum. It brings another smile to Mary’s face and the texture is ‘spot on’.

Tom’s roulade takes its flavour inspiration from millionaire’s shortbread, with a filling of salted caramel and biscuit crumbs. He’s unhappy with his first nutmeg-scented sponge so he makes it again, then smothers his cake in chocolate ganache. Paul thinks it doesn’t look good and Mary calls it ‘a bit cloying’.

Selasi makes lemon curd to fill his Genoese sponge, putting leftovers in a jar for later. He decorates his roulade with whipped cream and pistachios and inexplicably presents the finished cake on a concave photo frame. The sponge is judged to be ‘delicious’ but the filling needed more of the curd destined for Selasi’s toast.

Everyone's marjolaine looked the part, but some sagged or didn't have the right definition between layers
Candice went overboard on presentation with her mousse cakes, not taking enough time to ensure the texture was right

Technical challenge

This week’s technical is Mary’s recipe for marjolaine – a nutty cake incorporating layers of dacquoise (I was right about the meringue!). With praline, buttercream and chocolate ganache to make too, it’s a real multi-tasker, though Sue finds time to pop across to France to discover the noble origins of praline and to have a pretty unenlightening conversation with a chap who’s tight lipped about the number of times he coats his nuts. At the judging, the array looks impressively consistent, though Selasi’s ganache suffers a little slippage and he slips to sixth place. Andrew, who thought it should look like ‘a posh Vienetta’, nails it.

While Selasi's cakes were a bit too big, the flavours were spot on
Acetate was an important component of many of the bakers' cakes, allowing smooth, even layers to be piled on top of the sponge

The showstopper

For the showstopper, our bakers’ half-dozen must make two dozen mini mousse cakes (absolutely nothing like the twenty-four entremets of series five). Candice is shaking up the glamour with beautiful fruity cake cocktails, perching lemon thyme sponges in champagne glasses of Prosecco jelly and topping them with a Kir Royale-flavoured mousse. Her after dinner chocolate mint cakes look lovely too. Unfortunately, our resident cocktail queen, Mary, decides they’re not mixed properly and Candice’s mousse is ‘more of a cream’.

Benjamina discovers the rising tent temperature is playing havoc with her chocolate and coffee cakes and apple crumble mousses, as they slide sloppily out of shape. The judges agree they taste amazing though.

Jane is adding to the pressure by making no less than five different mousses. Drowning in mixing bowls, she has a horrible feeling she’s left gelatine out of something. Fortunately, she’s wrong – her blackcurrant and vanilla ombré cakes are ‘beautifully set’ and Mary admires the ‘moussiness’ of her cappuccino-flavoured jocondes. Jane’s delicate fleur-de-lis decorations are quite a contrast to Selasi’s hefty chocolate and mint mousse cakes, which are ‘just too big’. However, his lemon, passion fruit and raspberry mousses are judged to be ‘a lovely combination’.

Andrew was named Star Baker for the first time this series
But we had to say goodbye to Tom, whose hipster picnic-inspired cakes didn't hit the brief

Trendy Tom is making mousse sandwiches fit for a ‘hipster picnic’. Piping the filling in his carrot cakes and white chocolate and apple cakes produces an unfortunate prawn mayonnaise appearance. Paul thinks he’s gone overboard with the nutmeg and the cakes lack finesse.

Andrew is finessing for all he’s worth, measuring precise strawberry slices for his forest fruit mousse cakes. Inspired by ice cream flavours, he tops his mint chocolate mousses with crunchy honeycomb, then carefully balances the cakes on a little Ferris wheel. They’re judged to ‘look gorgeous’ and ‘taste divine’. So, after weeks of just missing out, Andrew is finally made star baker. I give a little cheer.

Sadly, we must say goodbye to poor Tom, who was often a bit intense, sometimes seethed and could stare for England. He pushed the boat out, then sadly discovered his Nordic nut oars were still in the boat shed. Cast adrift, he goes down as the first in Bake Off history to be Star Baker in bread week and not make it to the final. And nobody could have predicted that.