Brendan was in his element, piping to the millimetre, but suddenly John and Danny both looked like their mojos had soggy bottoms.
Danny scored well with raspberry and basil financiers, less so with blackberry and peppermint macaroons. Her third offering was langues de chat, so called because their long, thin shape and dipped-chocolate end are meant to resemble cats' tongues. Danny's chocolate dip, however, was overenthusiastic and thus bulbous and phallic. Paul diplomatically said it looked like a foot, but was still unimpressed.
"It's red mucus," said John, morosely trying to stir his raspberry tartlet filling. At judging time, he was told his madeleines looked horrible and his macaroons lacked shine. Paul then dismantled a raspberry tartlet. "That texture between the raspberry and the chocolate..."
"It's like mucus?" interrupted John. Don't help him!
The technical bake was a fraisier: two slices of tricky Genoese sponge separated by tricky crème pâtissière, delicately edged with strawberries. John's crème egg cooked, so the mixture went into his consistently lucky bin. As he got redder and shakier, James fretted over the cruelly vague recipe the judges had left for the contestants. Tension mounted.
Danny looked to be in control, marking her sponge with a ruler before slicing it exactly – until she put her bake together. Her crème pât had splurged; the roof was coming in. A strawberry mockingly leapt onto the worktop.
The barometer rose still further. I held my breath as, with ten seconds of the challenge left, Brendan uncertainly transported his cake onto a presentation plate that was five agonising feet away, with spatulas not quite meeting underneath.
Brendan made it, but the time lag between finishing and judging did for Danny's fraisier. A tragic reveal showed us that all the strawberries had left the building and were hanging around outside, smoking and giggling.
Shockingly, Brendan's filling was also insufficiently assertive – but James muddled through again to win the round, and despite all the sweating John got his right too and was back in the game.
To finish, a choux gateau. Everyone made a St Honoré, the classic puffy ring with little puffy balls on. Everyone, that is, except James, who went for a Paris-Brest, which is normally a choux bike wheel. James was going to do the full bike.
How would he build it, the judges asked? "I don't know." Where would he put the filling? "I don't know," smirked James. "Bare-faced cheek," said a shocked Paul.