Signature: 24 decorated biscuits
Mary and Paul are looking for identically decorated biscuits which are crisp and not soft. Ambition seemed to be prevalent in the tent.
Louise is making biscuits flavoured like the Welsh tea loaf, Bara Brith, shaped as sheep. Val’s inspired by her past to make her Neapolitan Ice Cream Cone biscuits. Kate, Val and Andrew are rubbing in to make their biscuits; Andrew is making honey biscuits shaped as hexagons to form a beehive. Kate is being risky by using lavender and bergamot to make butterfly biscuits!
Tom’s making Chai Frappelattecino biscuits which don’t sound that appealing to me but he’s practised these biscuits having made 300! Selasi’s even adding Scotch Bonnet chillies into his biscuits! But on a separate note, Michael’s got flour in his ears. Just to reassure you, he’s cleaned his ears before he came. He’s doing beer shaped biscuits.
Guided rolling pins are being used left, right and centre with Michael using 2 elastic bands around the end of his, unconventional but should do the trick! Tom’s using a £1, Val’s using a ruler and Benjamina needs a good ratio of biscuit to icing. She’s doing a bouquet of flowers on her biscuits. Jane’s also inspired by flowers, making flowerpot biscuits using flooding icing techniques. Andrew’s worrying about his tessellation and Rav’s got a homemade cutter. His coconut and lime biscuits resemble bunting.
Everyone’s first biscuits are in but Louise has dropped her biscuits on the floor! She’s got to start again as the bakers are worrying about the evenness of their bakes. Rav’s made an extra biscuit as a spare but Candice has made things even tougher by choosing to make a salted caramel sandwich biscuits. The bakers are all icing their first batch of biscuits except Val who’s having a panic. Everyone is heads down and piping bags in hand and now Val has dropped some of her biscuits!
Everyone’s counting now – Louise is even counting sheep, didn’t realise she was so tired! Candice tells Louise to breathe which is what I need to do, it’s so tense! Selasi’s already finished his so eats a biscuit as everyone else is panicking. Louise and Jane are running around and now Selasi is helping Louise. Rav’s not happy with his and Val’s still going. And now the bake is done!
Michael’s beer biscuits all look uniformly decorated and Paul seems to love the biscuits which are crisp. Andrew’s beehive biscuits look brilliant, he’s got great detail in his piping but his biscuits are soft and would fail the biscuit drop test; Paul says they’re stale! Louise has unevenly thick biscuits and has failed biscuits. Benjamina has the correct ratio of biscuit to icing ratio and Jane’s flowerpots aren’t finished but are consistent and tasty. Val’s shortbread is good but didn’t make 24 and Mary’s sassy when Mary says she’s sure that Val can pipe well.
Candice’s biscuits don’t look great but taste fantastic. Selasi’s alternative biscuits are very tasty and Rav’s finishing of his bunting biscuits isn’t great and Paul says he’s eating a Thai green curry biscuit! Kate’s got informal piping (aka Mary doesn’t like it) but she’s won over the judges with her flavours. Tom’s biscuits are crisp, the flavours are great and we’ve got our first Hollywood Handshake ladies and gents!
Technical: 12 Viennese Whirls
This Mr Kipling classic is two Viennese biscuits sandwiched together with a buttercream and raspberry jam and need to be made in 90 minutes. I tried these myself and flavoured them with coconut! Mary says that the bakers can refrigerate them if they are too soft, which doesn’t really answer my question about whether chilling holds the shape.
Selasi’s says he’s made them before so we’re expecting good things. Starting with the jam, Michael knows the jam temperature because it says it on the thermometer (it’s 104ºC). The bakers are creaming together their butter and sugar which is the key to getting a soft dough. They add flour and cornflour and are now piping 24 whirls.
With such a stiff dough, some of the bakers are finding it hard to pipe it out. Selasi has to soften up his dough and Michael throws his into the microwave. But Rav is struggling and can’t even form a whirl because his dough is so stiff. Mel offers to warm up the dough.
Benjamina, Candice and Kate chill their whirls in the fridge to hopefully hold their shape better which is what I did in my technical. Now they’re onto the buttercream and are checking on their whirls. Some of the whirls look a bit pale and have lost a lot of definition. I’m a bit worried about what the judges will say. Selasi’s have collapsed, Louise and Tom’s are flat. Everyone’s piping a swirl of buttercream on the jam and now time’s up! Judging time.
Immediately Paul and Mary see there are issues. Tom’s have no definition but are delicate. Candice’s are pale and are slightly underbaked whereas Louise’s are overbooked. Andrew’s got definition as have Benjamin’s whirls. Kate’s got really good definition and you can see the buttercream and jam. Michael’s whirls are thin and have no definition. Jane’s are good but Selasi’s have collapsed and are greasy. Val has good whirls and Rav’s are dinky!
In last place is Selasi (oh dear!) and Louise is 10th. Michael is 9th, Candice is 8th, Tom is 7th, Rav’s dinky whirls got him 6th and Val’s in 5th. Andrew’s defined whirls see him in 4th, Benjamina takes 3rd and last week’s Star Baker is 2nd. Kate’s perfect Viennese Whirls see her take 1st place
Showstopper: Gingerbread Story
Paul and Mary want to see a 3D gingerbread story of something that’s about the bakers which is at least 30 centimetres high and has at least 8 characters or objects. This is going to be a very tricky challenge. Paul says his gingerbread houses still stand in February which is obviously not true.
Val’s story straddles 2 continents, fit with a Statue of Liberty and a windmill to represent Holland. Louise is doing a wedding, depicting a Welsh church with some hopefully unforeshadowing gravestones and zombie grooms. Selasi is also inspired by a church from his hometown of Ghana. Jane will be recreating Hastings, the town in which she grew up and Candice is doing the King William pub in which she grew up including a sticky ginger cake carpet.
Michael’s off to Lapland recreating a childhood trip whereas Kate is using 3 different gingerbread doughs to create a “I Promise I Will Do My Best” structure, inspired by Brownies, not the cakes. Tom’s doing a gingerbread structure inspired by the time him and his friend were lost up a mountain. Andrew is doing a structure with JUST 37 elements based on his time Punting in Cambridge University. Benjamina is inspired by a holiday to New York recreating the Chrysler Building.
Val’s marking out windows on the entire Empire State Building whereas Michael, Selasi and Candice are making stained glass biscuits using boiled sweets. Rav’s doing a Christmas fairground and he’s doing a ferris wheel as the main centrepiece. There’s gingerbread everywhere in the tent, and I wouldn’t be surprised if everyone was sick of gingerbread. Louise smells burning… it’s Rav’s Christmas trees!
Andrew’s got a full page of ticks on his checklist and now there’s the royal icing versus caramel debate to build structures. But Val needs to hurry up or she won’t finish her structure. Candice is holding the front of her pub up with a palette knife and it goes. Michael’s roof is slipping off and Val discovers her Statue of Liberty is broken! The front of Louise’s church falls down and the top section is broken.
Candice’s pub is coming together, Rav’s ferris wheel falls, Tom’s climbing his mountain, Andrew’s bikes fall off, Jane hates gingerbread, Michael’s not happy, Benjamina’s is shameful and suddenly Louise’s church collapses and there’s an air of dejection. And now Val’s has also collapsed. Oh god what is happening?! As the bakers leave the tent, it’s time for judging.
Andrew’s first and his looks clean and meets the height requirement. Paul is reminded of his mum’s ginger biscuits and it’s been executed well. The Statue of Liberty gave up according to Val as she’s fallen over but Val’s isn’t finished well. Paul eats Susan, Val’s sister, as Paul says that “your sister tastes delicious”. Benjamina’s got good gingerbread but poor decoration and Tom’s is artistic and tastes nice. Kate’s got brilliant piping but her 3 types of gingerbread didn’t pay off as they’re soft.
Jane’s are spicy but soft and Rav’s have a strong flavour which apparently tastes like it’s burnt! Michael has the best gingerbread so far but has simple decorations. Selasi’s gingerbread is just bread as you can’t taste the ginger! Louise had a disaster but her gingerbread tastes good. Candice asks Mel to “come and grab my jugs” and the judges love her pub! The overall aesthetic of the pub is phenomenal and every element of the bake tastes good.
In contention for Star Baker are Candice and Andrew. I think Kate also should have been up for finishing first in the Technical. But in trouble are Louise and Val!
First, Star Baker is crowned and it’s Candice! I thought it should have been Andrew as he finished higher in the Technical but Candice’s pub was brilliant. But Louise is leaving the tent. A trio of bad biscuit bakes meant that Louise was the right person to leave the tent.
My favourite Val is still there, she was saved by the Technical. I hope she improves because she’s been so close to going two weeks in a row!
Star Baker: Candice
Highlight of the Week: Candice asking Mel to come and grab her jugs, Andrew’s reaction trying not to burst out laughing.
Innuendo of the Week: Your sister tastes delicious.