Week two of The Great British Bake Off was focused on all things biscuit-related, with the contestants tasked with producing chocolate bars, fig rolls and a 3-D baked sculpture, which all inevitably came with their own set of crazy complications.
First things first, we're still reeling at the fact that Jamie is still here this week. He was the obvious choice for last week's elimination after those disastrous cakes, so we feel like Dan was a little hard done by with his early exit. In fairness, several of the bakers seemed to crack under last week's pressure, so there was a case to be argued that several could have gotten the chop last week. However, the dozen remaining bakers' nerves seem to have settled slightly and they all looked a little more at ease last night, even under Paul Hollywood's steely glare.
The Signature Challenge
This week's signature challenge saw the bakers tasked with producing a chocolate-coated biscuit bar (sort of like an upscale Penguin bar) that required at least one layer of biscuit. While it seems a little unfair to introduce chocolate work at this stage – there is usually a whole week dedicated to chocolate later in the season – most of the bakers rose to the occasion and produced gorgeous bars.
The clear winners from this round were last week's star baker Michelle, whose Bakewell bars were picture perfect, and Alice, whose New Zealand inspired peanut and caramel bars made me want to reach through the television screen to try them.
It seems that other bakers were as overwhelmingly distracted by Noel Fielding's gloriously weird jumper as we were, as there were some serious casualties in this round too. Young Jamie, of course, served up disastrously crumbly bars that clearly hadn't had enough time to set, which was caused by his biscuit requiring an astonishing amount of time in the oven, as well as a startling amount of caramel. Even with Michelle's help, Jamie's 'earthquake' biscuit bars lived up to their name and were smashed and broken by the time the judges got around to tasting them. Ever-pleasant Prue couldn't even find a saving grace and decreed that the biscuits tasted as bad as they looked. We were pretty impressed with Jamie's ability to take the judges' comments on the chin, so he's got that going for him at least!
We can't move on to the technical challenge without mentioning Helena's bright green witches' fingers. Gloriously gothic, just like the contestant herself, Helena's biscuits were a pleasant surprise, even if the colour did turn poor Prue's stomach.
The Signature Challenge
Deceptively simple-looking, this week's signature challenge was fig rolls. How do you get the fig in the fig roll you ask? Well, the contestants all took different approaches and none of them looked appetising at all, but the basic gist of it was to place a line of fig filling along with a sheet of biscuit and roll it up. Simple, or so it seemed.
There were definitely struggles in this round, with Jamie once again serving up a disaster of a biscuit. Crumbly, flat and very odd-looking, the poor baker's biscuits never stood a chance. Helena also fared pretty poorly in this round, somehow only serving up 11 fig rolls instead of the required 12, which did not please Paul in the slightest who had set this challenge in honour of his father. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Alice distinguished herself as an early contender for star baker, serving up 12 perfect fig rolls. David, Phil and Michael all impressed this round too, while Steph and Amelia, as well as Jamie and Helena, looked to be in a little trouble.
The Showstopper Challenge
The final challenge of the episode was a big one: produce a 3-D sculpture with biscuits of different thicknesses and sizes. They don't ask for much, do they? Most of the bakers chose to work with gingerbread or shortbread due to their stability, but there were some surprises like tuiles and macarons too.
Continuing on her streak of success (and odd New Zealand theme), Alice whipped up a biscuit sheep that wouldn't be out of place in a children's cartoon, which ultimately cemented her the title of this week's Star Baker. Helena redeemed herself after the previous day's fig roll disaster, sculpting a masterful, yet creepy, tarantula and egg out of biscuit.
While most of the bakes were beautiful, like Steph's spicy gingerbread chicken and David's pared black floral display, there were several mishaps, of course. Amelia's messy seaside display was deemed flavourless and lacking in creativity, thanks to her stacking of the biscuits instead of sculpting. Once again, Jamie's bake didn't work out at all. His simplistic guitar was too simple, with thick icing and a crumbly biscuit. In the end, Amelia narrowly dodged a bullet as Jamie was (finally) sent home. Happy trails Jamie, we will miss your youthful optimism and complete lack of baking skill!
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So thrilled to be this week’s star baker! Still can’t believe it! Thank you so much for all the messages of support! Very sad to see @jamiepfinn go though, he is an absolute legend who brought so many laughs to the tent! X . . . #gbbo #greatbritishbakingshow #gbbs #greatbritishbakeoff #baking #biscuits #starbaker #baker
Innuendo Of The Week
It's hard to pick just one innuendo to crown as this week's winner, but the title has to go to Henry's organ, from which Sandi got a fair bit of mileage. We'll remember the look on Paul Hollywood's face from when he tried to work out which organ Henry was planning to recreate – a musical one, for the record – for a long time.
Next week's theme is bread, so stay tuned to find out what horrors bread-master Paul Hollywood has in store for the contestants.