Great British Bake Off episode 4: MELTDOWN WEEK

Great British Bake Off episode 4: MELTDOWN WEEK

Iain: the man who lost his cool… But was he right? 

Nine remaining bakers, three particularly tricky challenges, one catastrophic meltdown – desserts week saw temperatures rise and tempers fray in the Bake Off tent. But while a few contestants were put in trouble by their bakes, one put himself in trouble by his actions. The moral of this week’s episode? DON’T BIN THE BAKE!

Round 1: More sauce!
First up was the signature bake: eight individual self-saucing puddings. Most bakers opted to make a variation on a fondant, with Paul grading Kate’s chocolate and salted caramel molten puddings as “bang on” and Richard’s black forest chocolate fondants “exceptionally baked”. Diana, Chetna, Norman and Luis broke away from the pack, but not all of them reaped the benefit as the judges deemed the bakes claggy, untidy and lacking in sauce.

Round 2: “I couldn’t even spell tiramisu!”
The technical challenge, Mary’s tiramisu cake, was a test of the bakers’ precision and finesse – every layer needed to be even with a good coffee flavour throughout, and the chocolate decoration perfectly tempered. The snag? It was 25°C, instructions were minimal and all but Martha had never before made tiramisu. Perfecting the sponge was the most common hiccup, with Richard and Iain discarding their initial pancake-like efforts to start again (need to get more air into it, boys). Others hacked their cake into crumbs while attempting to slice it into 4 equal layers, piecing the remnants together in the tin and hoping it would hold (most did).

When it came to the tasting, Mary and Paul were willing to make allowances for slightly wilted efforts – mascarpone and chocolate and high heat don’t mix well. But flavour, neatness and defined lines couldn’t be compromised. Bottom of the pile was Diana and her OTT piping, closely followed by “eighth is better than ninth” Norman, while Martha came out on top.

Alaska fail 

Round 3: #bingate
It was the hottest day of the year, the kitchen’s A TENT and the showstopper challenge was to make baked alaska – a pud that already defies all logic. This was a recipe for disaster. But while many of the bakers managed to keep their cool, a spot of freezer foul play caused viewers’ blood to boil. I am, of course, talking Bingate – the heart-stopping moment when Diana removed Iain’s sesame seed ice cream from the crowded freezer and reduced it to a puddle of black sludge. Twitter followers let out cries of ‘sabotage!’ as Iain flung his alaska into the bin and stormed out of the tent, making Bake Off history as the first baker with nothing to present. But Paul and Mary saw his reaction as rash. “We could have tasted the sponge,” Paul said, while Mary regarded the baker’s failure to produce anything as “sort of unacceptable”.

Not wanting to overlook those who reached the peak:

  • Martha’s key lime baked alaska received praise for being a great interpretation of a classic.
  • The judges agreed two-mixers Luis’ bakewell alaska was well designed and thought through.
  • Paul said Richard’s tiramisu baked alaska was “like the technical challenge but better.”
  • Nancy’s summer pudding alaska was “very professional”.
  • “When you look at that we can only say ‘well done’,” was Mary’s evaluation of Kate’s kitsch pistachio, raspberry and chocolate offering.
  • Diana was told to hold her head high about her swan-shaped raspberry ripple sponge.
  • Like Iain, Chetna’s mango, raspberry and coconut alaska succumbed to the heat, but Mary said it was “stunning when you eat it”.

As for Norman, his ‘keep it simple’ approach seems to be wearing thin with the judges as his baked alaska with strawberry spirit left them unimpressed. “You’re playing it so safe, you’re beginning to fail,” said Paul.

When the results came in, Richard was again awarded for his consistent quality and was named Star Baker – “He’s becoming the one to beat,” said Paul. But, not surprisingly, it was less than happy news for Iain, as his showstopper flop pushed him out of the competition.

Was Diana playing dirty? Should the producers bring back the bearded one? Is it really worth crying over melted ice cream? Let us know your thoughts. And if you want to try your hand at making baked alaska, try our foolproof recipe: Maybe check the weather first, though…

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