This is not a proper Bake Off post, for which I am sorry.
The truth is that I actually managed to watch it real time thanks to Jason and internet trickery and and iPad, but didn’t have time to blog about it until now.
And the moment has passed, and the excitement has waned, and now I am in the dark melancholy of a post Bake Off world, with nothing to console me because I am busy hating what Stephen Moffat is doing to Dr. Who and nobody is designing Danish wonders on Grand Designs.
It is a bleak place, televisually speaking.
I feel like if I do my usual reportage style blogging of the final, I will be somehow picking over the bones of the corpse while others have moved on to feast elsewhere.
It will have to be a summary:
The finalists, as we know, were Richard, hotly tipped to be the winner, Luis of the maverick yet hospital corners design led baking, and Nancy, who is way better at all this malarkey than she lets on, despite having a choppy relationship with Paul Hollywood.
The signature round that week was to create two types of Viennoiserie. This is posh speak for Danish pastry. I know this because you may be aware that I have just been to Denmark, and am therefore an expert on all things pastry and Denmark related. In summary: Nancy played it safe and pulled it off by executing deliciousness. Richard played it safe and didn’t pull it off so well, and Luis didn’t play it safe and came a bit of a cropper.
The technical round was the killer this time. Nothing complicated; just twelve scones, twelve tarte au citron and twelve miniature Victoria sponges in two hours. It is at this point I would have laid myself down by the waters of Babylon and wept. It was dizzying the speed with which they were required to execute everything, and achieve perfection every time. I am never good at beautiful bakes, and this would have required such slapdash speed I might as well have just thrown my sponge mix up the tent wall and gone home there and then.
As it was they soldiered manfully on, although poor Luis looked on the verge of tears, and Richard’s pencil drooped exceedingly. Nancy triumphed by being incredibly matter of fact and just knuckling down. I believe she has three million grand children who she bakes for, which explains her ability to bake vast quantities under pressure, and it did her sterling service while Richard’s tarte au citron turned to scrambled egg and Luis didn’t fare much better.
You knew, by this stage, that the writing was on the wall for Richard. He is a bit like the girl with the curl, either exceedingly good, or exceedingly horrid, and once his nerve has gone, that’s it. The show stopper would have had to have been so dizzyingly amazing at this point for him to have come back from it, that it was never going to happen. And it didn’t.
The show stopper was to create a piece montee. Basically it’s a ruddy big cake in the shape of something awe inspiring, made with as many kinds of technical trickery bakery you can shove into it. Winged monkeys made of fondant (home made – obvs) balancing on choux pastry clouds, pelting onlookers with profiteroles made to look like pooh, on a bed of Genoese sponge in the shape of Wiltshire. That sort of thing.
Despite Luis’ herculean efforts to recreate his home town and the industrial revolution in baking form, and Richard’s windmill, it was Nancy’s Moulin Rouge inspired cake/project that won the day, and ultimately the crown of Great British Baker 2014.
And you know what? She deserved it.