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"Prue can get her claws out!" Bake Off winner Sophie Faldo has her say on dessert week

The Great British Bake Off 2017 winner Sophie Faldo speaks out on the most challenging week in the tent

Sophie Bake Off 2017 (her own image)
Published: Wednesday, 2nd October 2019 at 9:37 am

Things are getting tougher than ever on The Great British Bake Off, with last week’s double elimination leaving only seven bakers to take on dessert week - and one of the trickiest technicals in Bake Off history.

Advertisement columnist (and former Dessert Week star baker) Sophie Faldo has her say on week six, including who she thinks is the cream of the crop, and who has had their just desserts.

“Dessert week sees a different skill set in action”

There’s a focus on the patisserie side of things with dessert week. A lot of the bakes can involve gelatine, which can be quite tricky so you have to be good with your timings. It’s not always who you’d expect to become star baker this week.

Not all desserts can be classified as bakes, but they’ll always have what they call a baking element in it on the show – that’s how [producers] get away with it for Bake Off!

“You do start to feel disconnected from the other bakers”

Great British Bake Off contestants 2019
Great British Bake Off contestants 2019 Love Productions/GBBO

The bakers would have noticed the tent feeling emptier this week. At first, you’re quite close to the others and then by the end of it they move the stations and make use of the space so you feel more disconnected and it makes it harder to chat and see what’s going on.

It’s amazing how quickly it can feel empty. By the time you get down to the final five, you start to feel more pride as you realise you’re doing okay and think 'I must be quite a good baker as I’m still here'. The expectations rise. You don’t want to pin your hopes on getting to the final, but as you get closer your start to want it more.

“Rosie’s nut allergy did limit her in her signature”

Bake Off Rosie (Channel 4)

I always thought a severe nut allergy meant you went into shock if you inhaled it, but as Steph’s bake was covered in nuts it must be only when Rosie ingests it that she goes into shock. It must have come up in the interview process in order for her to have done the show.

Rosie’s nut allergy definitely would have limited her options because one of the most popular combinations when it comes to meringue is to add nuts as it gives it this different texture. I think it did limit her with her flavour combinations, as everyone else had nuts of some kind in it. But Rosie went with classic flavours – even though the judges said it didn’t go.

“Prue can get her claws out if she wants!”

The Great British Bake Off 2018 - Prue Leith

It was Michael’s birthday in the tent, but it wouldn’t have made a difference to how he was judged. Does Paul seem like the kind of person to let people off on their birthday? He’d probably be like, goodbye, enjoy your birthday outside of the tent! But Prue can get the claws out when she wants to! I think because you expect her to be lovely, when she’s not it hits a lot harder than when Paul is. It always seems to come from a harder and slightly darker place.

She coined the not worth the calories phrase on our series. If you ever got that, that was always a kick in the stomach. She does come out with some harsh lines. She told us once that we all should go home in our series because none of us did very well! I think when she came in to replace Mary Berry, I think everyone assumed she would be all lovely and fluffy, and no, she can definitely be just as, if not more critical than Paul.

“I would love to go to Helena’s Paul Hollywood Halloween party!”

Bake Off Helena (Channel 4)

I think it’s a brilliant idea, and a great photo opportunity. In fact I might do that. That’s going to happen now! We’ve got to hold Rosie to it now, as she’s said it.

I think the bakers are quite lucky this year because the ones that are left are quite similarly aged. I think they’ve all gelled really well. I think people expect you to be all super best buds at the end, and we’re all very friendly, but people’s lives are very different. You tend to find you maybe stay in touch with some more than others. It’s not because you dislike them, but you don’t necessarily mesh with some people as you have different lives. A lot of us hung out – not quite at Halloween party level but we see each other occasionally.

“I’m jealous the bakers had some downtime”

I can't even remember one time where I wasn’t hanging around like a headless chicken, so I’m quite envious of them playing noughts and crosses as they waited for things to set! I think there was one time when we were doing a technical and we were waiting for things to prove, and it got quite out of hand and we all were playing music and dancing around. But I would have been like Steph and thought of some complicated decorative elements of it for the challenge, so I’m quite jealous of how chilled out everyone else was.

“David is a dark horse”

Always the bridesmaid! But there’s nothing wrong with that. David shows consistency. He's not always the best, but it’s often the dark horse that leads the charge at the end. So I don’t think he should be unhappy with that. I think it’s a really good place to be, he’s really talented. His power is in his consistency.


The Great British Bake Off continues Tuesdays at 8pm on Channel 4


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