Here we are at the final episode of this excellent Comic Relief Bake Off series. I’ve got used to my Wednesday nights being Bake Off-themed again – good job it’s only about five months until the next series starts.
Based on the past few weeks, I’m predicting Kayvan Novak might be in with a shot of winning Star Baker given how confident he seems. Alexa Chung says she keeps her shoes in the oven, but I reckon she might be the baking wolf in sheep’s clothing…
Tray bakes were first up. My go-to tray bake is usually a lemon and poppy seed, but for this I’d have probably gone for a chocolate, raspberry and macadamia nut brownie tray bake with some raspberry flavoured icing for Red Nose Day.
Kayvan’s Persian-influenced tray bake sounded pretty exciting. An Iranian friend of mine used to say, “Once you’ve tried Persian, there’s no other version”, so it’s winning me over already!
I liked the sound of Victoria Wood’s too; coconut and lime is always a winner. Her toppings were pretty ambitious, but they turned out great in the end. I bake with coconut oil quite a lot myself and I’d really recommend it as a healthier butter substitute.
Alexa was quite brave going with salted caramel for her brownies – it’s not easy if you’ve not practised it much before. She pulled it out of the bag, though – perhaps she’s not as much of a novice as she said. It’s like those people who turn up to exams saying, “I’ve done hardly any revision” – and then ace it.
By contrast, Chris Moyles played it quite safe with his chocolate and almond tray bake, but the panic of the tent got to him a little. Nothing to be ashamed of though. It can be a bit daunting on the first bake.
It’s great watching contestants in the tent during the technical challenges, having been through it myself. You do get that rabbit in the headlights feeling, but by then there’s nowhere to hide.
I absolutely love crumpets, but I’m a bit embarrassed to say I’ve never made my own before. I have a habit of impulse buying baking kit when I’m watching Bake Off so I’ll be trying them this weekend, now that I’ve just ordered myself some crumpet rings.
And, just in case you were wondering, no you don’t need a proving drawer to make what you see on Bake Off. Don’t go using that as an excuse not to try this stuff at home!
Personally I’d have gone with Kayvan’s strategy rather than Victoria’s; turning out fewer excellent ones rather than the full quota of burned ones is always better. Poor old Chris though… No one wants Paul to be spitting out your food. The only way is up!
The vegetable cake showstopper challenge definitely brought out the celebrities’ competitive sides. The last vegetable cake I made was, weirdly, a birthday cake for a gorilla at London Zoo. It had no eggs, flour, sugar or butter, so I had to be a bit imaginative with it. I used carrot, parsnip and coconut so I’d have probably done something along these lines. I’d have a bit of an advantage doing a selfie cake too – at least I wouldn’t have to bother with hair!
As I said, I have a bit of an addiction when it comes to baking equipment, and it’s taken all my willpower not to buy a skull cake tin after watching this. Chris has won it for me already by using that. I was really impressed with the extra touches from all the contestants this week – Alexa’s candied courgettes, Kayvan’s caramel glasses, Victoria’s macarons, and Chris…well his was the most three dimensional.
My Star Baker
I think Victoria has it in the bag due to her consistency and clearly showing her experience, but I was most impressed with Kayvan this week. His flavour ideas were really imaginative and I hope he carries on baking after this show. There’s a lot of untapped potential there.
So for four weeks, 16 celebrities have stressed and sweated in that tent for our entertainment. My Great Comic Relief Bake Off book arrived this week and I can’t wait to work my way through the recipes. Thanks for reading my ramblings over the four weeks, I’ve really enjoyed watching the series. If you’re missing Bake Off already, why not spend this time next Wednesday evening baking for school or work bake sales and raise some money for Comic Relief? For more information, visit www.rednoseday.com/bakeoff