Warm savarin of English raspberries with mint syrup

Great British Bake Off 2014, Week Five - Euro Week

by Urvashi Roe 11 September 2014

Half way through Great British Bake Off and half a dozen bakers left in the tent. It was European cake week this week and some very challenging desserts pushed all of the bakers' planning, timing and creative skills to the limit.

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Urvashi finds food, baking, cooking and eating a therapeutic relief from every day work and family life.

Urvashi finds food, baking, cooking and eating a therapeutic relief from every day work and family life. She is a freelance writer and stylist for various publications including Good Things Magazine, lovefood.com and The Foodie Bugle. She was also a former contestant on BBC2's Great British Bake Off. She shares vegetarian and allotment inspired recipes on her Botanical Kitchen and Gujarati Girl blogs.

Kugelhofs and Apfelkochs and Heigeltopfs and gugelheims. Yes my knowledge is about as bad as Mel and Sue's accents last night. But they did make me laugh. I rather liked Sue's Dutch English and Mel's 'I'm-not-really-sure-which-bit-of-Europe-this-is-from-but-I'm-winging-this-and-hoping-I-sound-like-Abba' interpretations!

A Signature Cake Inspired by Europe

This was a wide brief. The cake could be anything. The only rule was it had to be leavened with yeast not baking powder so the challenge here was patience and timing. There were Kugelhopfs, Gugelhupfs and Savarins in the main.

A classic combo from Luis with Apple and Cinnamon in a towering bundt tin. I see sales of the tins booming already.

A fruity version in a bundt for Richard inspired by his German brother in law.

Chetna and Nancy chose Savarins. A little brave I thought considering the timing because these are all about balancing liquid to sponge in an unhurried way. Chetna's was orange flavoured with a cinnamon cream and Nancy went back to the tropics with Rum Punch, Coconut and a banana which led to much debate from Paul. "A banana?!" He exclaimed. Now how many of us would have loved the addition of "in my tailpipe" added on the end there? #80s

Martha also chose a Savarin too - dark chocolate and topped with almonds. Looked gorgeous.

And Kate. Now Kate chose the Eurovision map of 'Europe' and sought inspiration from Israel (?!). Inspired by a babka she chose sour cherry, chocolate and pecan flavours.

The results already started to divide the judges. Mary loved Kate's creation but Paul thought it was dry. Mary didn't like Nancy's 70's decorations but agreed with Paul that the flavours were good.

The rest were OK except Richard whose icing glaze had sadly crystallised and didn't look inviting to Mary. And Paul was not impressed with the structure noting the yeast had not had time to activate enough.

A Swedish Technical Challenge

It was Mary's turn to be cruel and challenging this week as I think this was the most complicated bake we've seen on the show. The series even. There were 26 ingredients and 14 stages. None of the bakers had a clue how to make this Swedish Princess Torte. There was multi tasking. Multi baking. Multi folding. Multiplying and multi calm. Yes calm. I couldn't believe how calm these bakers were. I was expecting flurrying and hurrying but these guys were super organised.

Cakes went into the oven on time. Cakes came out of the oven on time but sadly there was sinkage. Chetna's cake was more of a single layer than something to cut into three. As was Kate's and both started again.

But aside from those, there were no jam disasters. No marzipan disasters and only one creme pat disaster from Kate. It oozed out everywhere and she struggled to get it to the freezer as it dribbled. She was experiencing the curse of the Star Baker. Poor Kate.

Now this cake is supposed to be a dome. There was only one proper dome which was Nancy's. It's a shame it was a very dodgy, bogey green colour because it was perfect other than that and she won the round.

Chetna came second for her rose and flavours. Martha and Luis firmly in the middle flanked by Richard with his 'mess' and Kate with her 'collapsed mess' at the end and 'nil point'.

So the exit this week was going one of two ways at this stage. Richard or Kate.

Apple and cinnamon
A classic combo from Luis with Apple and Cinnamon in a towering bundt tin
Martha also chose a Savarin too - dark chocolate and topped with almonds. Looked gorgeous

A Sugar Worked Showstopper

The contestants were asked to make a contemporary Hungarian Dobos Torte with a minimum of two tiers but a maximum of sugar work. The judges wanted caramel to be a feature flavour.

Let's start with Luis. This was going to be good. He'd designed this 'Luis style' with graphic design project diagrams to the nth detail.

Hazlenut, vanilla and coffee were to go into his Cage On A Hill tower for which planning permission had been sought and granted by Sue.

Moving on to Richard. Would he pull it back with this round? I think it looked promising. 10 layers. Raspberry purée, peach, white chocolate in a sugar forest with a sugar bird in a sugar cage and some sugar trees for his Forest.

Martha topped this with her 24 layered chess inspiration flavoured with salted caramel and chocolate.

Chetna had 14 Victoria sponges with chocolate caramel flavours surrounded by all sorts of wonderful sugar creations. She shared a neat sugar trick using a grape to create a globe of sugar. Very clever. I love how she's starting to shine and getting more air coverage. Go Chetna!

Nancy was neat and focused from the start. Pristine sponges in precise layers in square tins flavoured with chocolate and caramel.

Kate was the only one with three sponges to go the extra mile but her topping sounded very simple. Would she do enough sugar work to match the others?

Half way through at 'Greenwich Sponge Time' all layers were made and the sugar work started across the tent. It was interesting to see Luis cleaning while the rest were still finishing at the five minute mark.

There were some real stunners and some errrrm not so stunners.

Stunners first. Nancy. Chetna. Tick tick tick for both on everything.

Collapsed towers though from Martha and Richard. Martha pulled through on flavours, cross cross chess technique but sugar work in mould did get the Mary Berry stare. Richard's sponge was dry, the cake was droopy and sugar work a little 'not pleasing' for Mary.

And Luis. Yes a stunner. Commendable structure and marvellous sugar work but wishy-washy flavours resulting in something too sweet for both judges.

This was a a real tough one. For star baker it was surely between Nancy and Chetna? Chetna had the edge. Hooray!

And who would leave? I hate this bit. Sitting there looking and waiting. Almost knowing it's you but wanting to believe in hope to survive another week. The cameras panned from Richard to Kate as Mary and Paul outlined the disagreements they'd had on choosing between them.

Well this episode will be entitled 'the one where nobody left'. I thought it was a little cruel to make them suffer the rationale. How relieved they both looked and I'm glad of the decision as they are both brilliant. But who would you have chosen?