We’re now getting to the last course, the final furlong – indeed, it’s time for desserts, as we knock out one more baker, clearing another space on the gingham altar in time for the quarter finals.
The first task this week is to whip up a roulade in such a way, Mary suggests, that it should put one in mind of a Catherine Wheel. Before the sparks fly, however, Paul is concerned about size. ‘You’re not going to get it into your mouth,’ he promises, looking like the plumber in that DVD movie you’ve certainly never watched. He considers. ‘I might. Most people won’t.’
Selasi is the only baker using butter in his mix, while Tom is making a Millionaire’s Roulade. Benjamina is making a Pina Colada roulade. She assures Mary that it’ll have a good rum kick to it, which earns her an approving wink. There’s a short sequence of Tom repeatedly attempting to pick up an oven tray which he already knows is hot, which tells you pretty much all you need to know about how good he is at listening to the facts.
Jane and Selasi fundamentally disagree about the correct way to roll a roulade (Jane says that it should go long ways, so that you get more slices). Candice is prepping a ‘crowd pleaser’, which she is somewhat – but only slightly – nervous about: ‘Look at the smile on her face,’ Mary says with undisguised admiration. ‘She knows it’s good.’
Tom, in a reasonably rare show of humble pie, mutters to himself ‘This is Week Seven. Good enough is not good enough any more,’ Andrew and Candice – who might well be the ones to be last bakers standing – are both trying out a passionfruit curd. Andrew has faith in his dad’s curd, whereas Candice comments that she’s happy ‘with a bit of seedage’ in hers. It’s like Talbolt Rothwell never collected his P45.
Soon enough, it’s time to wait for the judges’ comments. Tom, as is his habit, retreats to sit at the side of his work surface, frowning expectantly at his bake like the child who’s been promised unlimited marshmallows as long as he can avoid eating any now. Meanwhile, Mel is breathless in the shadow of Selasi spilling cream. ‘I’m slightly giddy,’ she enthuses. Selasi, who’s excellent at being slightly flirty right up to the point when it appears to actually start working, gets a bit giddy himself.
When it comes to present, Candice – as always – gives 110%, but she’s raised expectations of herself so effectively that it’s even easier for her to draw criticism. Jane gets a couple of good marks for her tipple content, whereas Benjamina’s offering is ‘just perfect.’ Tom’s conversation goes the way – according to the GBBO editors would have you believe, at least – it always does: he’s criticised by Paul for not quite doing what he was told. He disagrees: ‘That’s what I intended’ (when Val did it, it was cute), Then he retreats back to his table, glowering gently, looking like a schoolboy who’s just been sent out of the class to think carefully about what he’s done.
Andrew doesn’t have much of a spiral in his roulade, but that appears not to matter – his flavours are ‘melt in the mouth,’ and so he is in his words ‘back in the running.’ Selasi also does very well after a couple of stumbles, prompting Mel to quip ‘Selasi come home!’, which is a cute quip, even it does disturbingly suggest that in the final episode, Selasi will be forced to retrieve Paul from a burning marquee between his teeth.
For the technical challenge, the bakers have to make a French Rectangular Layered Cake (no, it’s alright, they hadn’t heard of it ether). Selasi frowns in confusion, which is a sight as rare and heartbreaking as a haiku. Tom declares that his job will be easy (not so much on the humble pie, then), and Candice announces that she is going into the oven.
It’s unclear if she’s talking about her bake, or if everything has become too much. As is usual with the Technical, nobody really knows what they’re doing, although Selasi has an idea: ‘Vienetta, but posher.’ Sue smiles indulgently. ‘Nothing posher than a Vienetta, m’darling.’
Andrew wins the Technical Challenge, and is a clearly popular winner (have you got your ‘Love The Ginger’ t-shirt on order yet?) And then it’s time for the Show Stopper. Jane has clearly taken a few pages out of Candice’s determined book, and is upping her game, whereas Tom isn’t all that confident. Candice herself is told that she’s taking on a lot, to which she gives the only response she could: ‘I always do,’ It isn’t quite enough, though, as Andrew deservedly takes the crown (after a slight wobble). Tom crashes out, which is a pity, but he appears that he has learned as much as he can from the experience.
Andrew has the air of a man who previously felt that he’d lucked into the competition on a mixture of luck and charm, but now has a serious chance of taking the crown from Candice. And, at the seventh week, we’re going to stick our neck out and say the final two will be Andrew and Candice. Jane will do very well, but crash badly in the final week, and Selasi is unlikely to survive another seven days. Which just leaves Benjamina. Our money’s still on double Star Baker Candice, really, although as we’ve said, she should be careful of Andrew catching up in her rear view mirror.
But, Benjamina: she could be the one to make the Bake Off hers. It’s always the quiet ones …