This week on The Great British Baking Show, the seven remaining bakers are competing in “Halloween Week”. They will face three spooky-themed challenges to compete for the title of Star Baker and to avoid being eliminated from the competition.
For the Signature Challenge, the bakers were asked to bake an apple cake in two hours. They could use any kind of sponge and additional flavors they liked but the hero flavor had to be apple. The judges expected the cake to be exquisitely decorated.
Syabira made apple sponges containing green and pink apples, layered with chilli and sour plum cream cheese and apple crumble. Her cake was decorated to look like a witch. Judge Paul Hollywood wasn’t too impressed with her decoration as it was a little messy, but her cake was light and beautiful. After her disappointing flavors last week, she managed to redeem herself. It was deemed a triumph because of her powerful flavors which earned her a “Hollywood handshake”.
Maxy also earned herself a handshake with her more traditional apple and walnut cake. Her spiced apple and walnut sponges were sandwiched with cream cheese frosting and apple sauce. It was topped with salted caramel, apple strips and walnuts. Her cake was very good, and the judges loved her apple flavor. They also loved the texture of her cake with the walnut adding a nice crunch.
Dawn made a Ukrainian sharlotka cake which is a very light fat free whisked sponge. Her cake contained sliced green apple and was topped with mini toffee apples soaked in blood orange juice. Due to her cake being so light, the weight of the decoration sunk her cake in the middle. The judges also could not taste much of the apple which had mostly sunk to the bottom of the cake. They liked the toffee apples but thought that they made the flavor of the rest of the cake seem dull.
Kevin made a streusel cake. His sponges contained Braeburn apple, had a bourbon drizzle and were topped with streusel. They were sandwiched with cream cheese frosting. It was then topped with apples poached in spiced cider and caramel shards. His cake took a lot of preparation and so he was late getting it into the oven. This meant with only five minutes left in the challenge, his cakes had still not cooled enough for him to decorate properly. When he put the cream cheese frosting onto the cake, it was still too warm and so it melted down the sides. It looked a mess, but his flavors were beautiful, with the judges loving the combination of the apple and almond. However, they seemed to think it was a little more like a pudding than a cake.
For the Technical Challenge, the bakers were asked to make eight s’mores using a recipe that they had never seen before. They had two hours to make digestive biscuits, toasted marshmallows and dark chocolate ganache. The judges ranked the bakes from worst to best in a blind judging, not knowing which s’mores belonged to which baker.
The difficulty with this challenge was getting the marshmallow correct. If the bakers did not add the gelatin at the right time, then the marshmallow would not set properly and collapse. They also had to be careful when blowtorching the marshmallow as too much heat could melt them. Both Abdul and Maxy struggled with the marshmallow. They both forgot to add the gelatin in the syrup and added it a little later than they should have. This seemed to make their marshmallows too soft.
Abdul came in last place as his marshmallow was a disaster. It was already too soft and then he blowtorched it too much, which caused it to mostly melt. His digestive biscuits were good though. Maxy came in sixth place as her biscuits were too soft and rubbery and her marshmallow was too soft. Then, in order, came: Dawn, Sandro, Kevin and Janusz.
Syabira came in first place as her digestive biscuits were nice and identical (apart from one). The color on the marshmallow was perfect and all her textures were correct. Overall, her s’mores were excellent.
For the Showstopper Challenge, the bakers were given four hours to make a Halloween-themed hanging lantern. The judges had to be able to smash it open and for it to have at least two varieties of sweet treats inside. This was a very difficult challenge as the lantern had to be stable enough to hang but fragile enough to break open. The bakers also had to carefully manage their time to bake the lantern, the treats and to decorate them all. No baker aced this challenge as everyone received mixed feedback but the judges certainly had fun smashing them all!
Syabira came the closest to getting it right. She made a spider lantern out of spiced biscuit. Her treats inside included peanut cookie Frankenstein fingers and white truffle and orange Mummy shortbreads. Her lantern looked amazing, and the judges loved the flavor of her biscuit. They also loved the flavor and texture of her peanut cookies, but they did not like the truffle flavor within her shortbreads. Prue saying that she was “off her head” to put truffle in the biscuit, which Syabira laughingly accepted.
Sandro stood out in this challenge as he was the only baker not to make a biscuit lantern. He instead made a sphere out of 1.5kg of chocolate, decorated in skulls. He also made five different treats to go inside including Florentines, palmier biscuits and chilli, coffee and chocolate fudge cookies. His lantern looked fantastic. However, all his treats were a little large to fit inside and so some of them had to be cut in half. His Florentines were too thick even though they tasted amazing. His chilli, coffee and chocolate fudge cookies were also far too strong in chilli and coffee.
Janusz also stood out for his very original idea. He made a lantern from almond sable biscuit, decorated like a popcorn box topped with white chocolate popcorn. His treats inside were based around a “trick or treat” theme as they looked the same, but you would not know which one you had picked up. The “treat” truffle was pumpkin spice flavor and the “trick” truffle was pistachio and white chocolate and contained cricket powder and a whole smoked cricket. The judges loved his decoration, and his sable biscuit was lovely. However, they didn’t like his truffles. The pumpkin spice truffle was over-spiced and the cricket truffle did not contain enough cricket to balance the sickly sweetness of the white chocolate. The judges were concerned that after doing so well in the first few weeks, his flavors were starting to go a little awry.
Kevin made a spider lantern from orange and five-spice sugar cookie which had marshmallow eyes and choux pastry legs. His treats included toffee apple macarons and hard-boiled peanut sweets. The judges thought his lantern was very messy, but the sugar cookie was delicious and crisp. His macarons tasted good, but they were too crispy and not chewy in the middle. His peanut sweets had no distinctive flavor and Paul said they looked unfinished with “nuts hanging out”, which caused everyone else to crack up laughing whilst Paul took a few seconds to realise what he had said. The judges thought all his elements lacked something.
Dawn made a black cat lantern out of black cocoa and cardamom biscuit, decorated with tuile biscuits. Her treats included monster macarons with brandy ganache and raspberry jelly eyeballs. Her lantern was made of two hemispheres of biscuit that she tried to join, rather unsuccessfully. The judges thought it was very messy and that her biscuit lacked flavor and was too hard. The macarons were baked well but too simple in flavor. Her jelly eyes looked good but did not taste of much. The judges just thought that the whole bake was too simple in concept and flavor.
This week Syabira won Star Baker. She did consistently well across all three challenges and so did not have much competition for the title. It was lovely that she finally won the title after being close so many times.
Dawn was eliminated this week due to struggling in all three challenges. Kevin also struggled but it seemed like Dawn’s lack of ambition in the Showstopper Challenge finalised the decision.
Baking Show Best Bits
Here are some of my favorite non-baking moments from this week’s episode!
- The bakers all dressed up for the spooky season and Janusz dressed as host Noel Fielding.
- Sandro was struggling to cut a hole in the top of his chocolate sphere and asked for power tools. He was provided with a drill and goggles which seemed massively out of place in a baking show.
- The large group hug that the bakers gave Dawn to bid her goodbye. It is lovely to see how much the bakers bond throughout the competition.
Next week, the bakers will compete in “Custard Week”. Make sure you check it out on Netflix next Friday, then check back here for the latest recap!