The Great British Bake Off is back and we couldn't be more excited!
Oh how we missed Mary Berry's vibrant wardrobe, Paul Hollywood's stern stare and Mel and Sue's endless innuendos, not to mention all the cakes, bakes and buns galore. Bake Off 2016 couldn't have come sooner!
So, if you want to regularly relive a little of the Wednesday night magic, we're going to be rounding up exactly what happened so that each week right here, so you can find out who was shedding happy tears by the end and who we have to wave a sad goodbye to...
The Great British Bake Off 2016: The finalists
Say hello to The Great British Bake Off finalists. Yes, we can’t believe its that time in the show already. The semi-final is over and we’re counting down to next week’s final. Eek!
The Great British Bake Off Episode 9: What happened?
The semi-finals saw Candice, Andrew, Jane and Selasi battle it out for the chance to be in the Bake Off 2016 final. One of the hardest weeks so far, Patisserie Week saw bakers make some mouth-watering French favourites, layered cakes and lots and lots of mess!
Signature challenge: Palmiers
First the bakers were set the challenge of making French palmiers. Pastry palmiers are made with puff pastry and filled with all sorts of delicious fillings including Selasi’s choice of savoury pesto, sundried tomatoes – yum!
Jane’s palmiers had great flavour but were a little too under baked for Mary. Candice’s had perfect crisp pastry but lost flavour – oops! Selasi got the thumbs up but his palmiers were a little too messy and Andrew, after remaking his puff pastry, ‘got away with it’ according to Paul.
Technical challenge: Savarin
A savarin is a light ring-shaped cake made with yeast and soaked in liqueur-flavoured syrup - certainly a tough challenge for this week’s bakers. With brief instructions, the semi-finalists had to work out the sponge, the syrup and the topping all on their own!
Candice’s decoration was good but it was under proved which Paul wasn’t very happy about but the texture of the sponge and the flavour got a big thumbs up. Andrew’s bake was ‘soaked beautifully’ according to Mary. Selasi’s was inconsistent with colour and his decoration was a little off – oops! And Jane’s had great colour, neat and uniform but the sponge pulled it back for her.
Selasi’s came fourth and Jane’s savarin was number one!
Showstopper challenge: Fondant fancies
For the final challenge in episode nine, the bakers were set the task of making classic fondant fancies. With 36 in total, the bakers well and truly had their work cut out.
Candice pushed the boat out with her fondant fancies and Paul and Mary were very happy with both of her bakes. Selasi’s fondant fancies had perfectly baked sponges but his flavours were not 100% on point. Jane’s showstopper may not looked as smart or tempting as Mary hoped but her flavours, and inside of each fondant fancy was perfection. And finally, Andrew impressed Mary with his presentation and finish and the flavour was delicious too.
What was the star baker in episode nine?
In episode nine Andrew was the star baker – and well deserved too!
Who was voted off in episode nine?
In episode nine we sadly said goodbye to Selasi – which means that Candice, Andrew and Jane have made it into the finals.
The Great British Bake Off Episode 8: What happened?
Episode eight of The Great British Bake Off saw a first for the famous themes of the show, it was time for the five remaining contestants to face Tudor Week. Yes, not satisfied with Victoria sponges or other classic tea time treats Mary and Paul decided to go way back for the quarter final, to good old Henry's reign - 500 years ago!
Signature challenge: Pies
A Tudor classic, the humble pie had the bakers all hot and flustered over their pastry cases and saw some flourish while a few failed. Mary wanted a very fine balance of a full and meaty filling with pastry that was thick enough to slice nicely but not too thin that it would let the filling escape.
As ever Andrew had an elaborate plan, and decided he wanted his pies to look like a Leonardo Di Vinci spiral, naturally. When it was finally presented the pie stand was made up of cogs that actually turned and Mary said that, 'the bake from the outside [looked] absolutely right' while Paul said it was a 'good flavour' too once he had tried it.
If you think you’ve got what it takes then have a go at our pork pie recipe. It’s easy, we promise!
Technical challenge: Tudor biscuits
What an earth is a Tudor biscuit you ask? Well they're 'jumbles' of course which Mel said would be, 'the sort of thing that would grace any Tudor biscuit tin'. Mary and Paul wanted six of each of their two chosen knotted designs and were looking for a spiced, crisp biscuit. And what exactly were they testing the bakers on? Why their dexterity of course.
It wasn't plain sailing for the bakers, some people's biscuits didn't hold their shape and some came out a bit pale thanks to a lack of egg wash and sugar. Coming in last was Jane for the first time ever in the competition, for her loss of definition while first place went to Candice for her 'nice bold shapes with big gaps in the middle'.
Showstopper challenge: A marzipan centerpiece
The Queen of baking herself simply explained that when it comes to marzipan sculpting, 'the more elaborate [the design] the better'. Paul added that there were actually two different marzipan types - one is a traditional baked marzipan, that is hard like a biscuit and which was very common in Tudor times. Later on, he explained, cooks created a new marzipan recipe with the addition of eggs which made it soft like the icing we know and love today. Who knew, eh?
Jane's elaborate square cake creation was topped with intricate silver painted swans and gilded braided marzipan boarders. When presented with it Mary said, 'looking at it from the top it looks very Tudor,' before adding, 'I love your swans and the whole decoration looks'.
At the other end of the scale Benjaminia's Tudor garden was criticized for being too simplistic while her bake was said to be a little too dense, but Mary sympathized saying a light apple sponge was very hard to do!
And the best bit? Well Andrew's 'jousting knights'. They were meant to be carrying lances in their hands but after placing them rather in a rather unfortunate position Andrew's weapons looked like something else...
If you fancy yourself as a bit of an artist then why not try our very simple marzipan roses to get you off to a perfect start? Guaranteed to get you feeling like a star maker.
Who was the star baker in episode eight?
Thanks to her fabulous marzipan work Candice was crowned Star Baker. To make her way to the top she presented Mary and Paul with a multi coloured, 3D peacock piñata cake, which frankly looked fabulous in our opinion. And it wasn't just us who thought so. Mary said she had 'really cracked it' and all Paul was so impressed he praised her for 'incredible work'.
Who was voted off in episode eight?
It was with a heavy heart that we said goodbye to Benjaminia but after she found the marzipan a little tricky she was voted off by the judges. Mel comforted her by saying she had been a 'sheer joy' to have on the show. She allowed herself a tear or two, but eventually said: 'quarter finalist, once it sinks in, I'll know I've done something really, really cool.'
The Great British Bake Off Episode 7: What happened?
Week seven saw the Bake Off contestants tackle the Dessert week tasks set by Mary and Paul and things certainly heated up in the tent! With only six bakers left, the pressure was on to impress and while some of the contestants did just that - others certainly struggled!
Signature challenge: Roulade
First up, the bakers had to get to grips with a roulade. The rules were: it must be sweet and it must be a sponge roulade, not meringue! With that in mind, the contestants didn't fail to come up with some very original and colourful ideas - we loved Benjamina's pina colada roulade - so fruity and fun, unfortunately the flavour combination didn't go down too well with Paul. Jane didn't have much luck impressing the judges either, especially after she rolled her roulade up the wrong way... oops!
If you want to get it right, then give our chocolate Swiss roll a go - trust us, it's SO easy to make and it's super tasty too!
Technical challenge: Marjolaine cake
'A what?!' We hear you say! Don't worry, you're not alone... A marjolaine cake is a bit like a gateaux, but a bit more involved.
With four layers of nutty meringue, layers of buttercream and ganache, as well as perfect decoration in the form of a crosshatch pattern and plenty of nuts, the bakers had their hands full if they wanted to get it right!
The instructions left for the bakers by Mary and Paul were obscure as ever and with only three hours to make this elaborate cake, there were more than a few sweaty brows in the Bake Off tent.
Selasi couldn't quite get his right - neither the taste nor the decoration was quite spot on and he came last in sixth place for this challenge. Andrew, however, seemed to tick all the judges' boxes. After a bit of a shaky week last week, he managed to pick things up, and came first in the Technical challenge, much to his delight!
Showstopper challenge: Mini mousse cakes
For the Showstopper challenge, the contestants had a bit of a tall order to contend with. They were asked to make 24 mini mousse cakes - two different flavours and 12 of each. The mousse had to be light and airy, with layers of sponge - and as always - be beautifully presented! You can try your hand at making mini mousses at home - they're really delicate and speedy to make! Or, you can just as easily make your own double chocolate mousse cake, yum!
Andrew's childhood ice cream mousse cakes impressed the judges, especially being presented on a mini homemade ferris wheel which was nostalgic of a family day at the seaside. Jane's cakes chocolate and coffee cakes had "a nice moussey-ness to them" according to Mary, with Paul commenting "I think you've done really well!"
Paul enjoyed Selasi's cakes, saying "I love these, I love the passion fruit, it's a lovely flavour", however, Mary chimed in "you've forgotten the word mini", as they were a bit more on the large side! Despite this, they seemed to go down well with the judges.
Mary and Paul both went in for seconds with Benjamina's cakes - something we don't see very often, so she must have done something right!
Who was the star baker in episode seven?
After fearing he'd be voted off last week, Andrew won Star Baker this week! He managed to impress the judges at all stages - particularly with his light fluffy mousse and fab presentation in the showstopper challenge. Congrats Andrew!
Who was voted off in episode seven?
And then there were five... Poor Tom got voted off, despite being voted Star Baker the previous week! Unfortunately, there's no room for error in the lead-up to the quarter final and his performance didn't really cut it with Mary and Paul, especially with his thick mousse that was "stodgy and thick", as Paul put it!
So there we have it. Week seven is over and we can't wait for next week's Bake Off already!
The Great British Bake Off Episode 6: What happened?
Episode six of The Great British Bake Off was Botanical Week - yes, a first for the Bake Off. Mary and Paul well and truly turned up the heat this week. The bakers got floral, fancy and of course, flustered too...
Signature challenge: Citrus meringue pie
The bakers were set the challenge of making a citrus meringue pie to start off the week - think lemon meringue pie, orange, lime, anything citrus went for this challenge!
The bakers got creative with flavours including Selasi who opted for grapefruit and orange pie with a hint of mint, Rav who went for mandarin margarita meringue pie and Andrew who made a ginger and lime meringue pie - delicious right?
Our favourite kind of meringue pie is a lemon meringue pie - nothing beats the tangy lemon curd, thick buttery pastry and not forgetting the soft, gooey meringue topping. Mmmm...
Technical challenge: Fougasse
What is Fougasse we hear you say? Well, this herby bread is a French bread associated with Provence. It has slashes in the bread to resemble an ear of wheat. It was traditional baked in a wood oven but can now be made at home in your regular oven - just like the bakers used! It reminds us of a flat foccacia or garlic bread that looks like a giant leaf.
A Paul Hollywood recipe, this challenge certainly pushed the bakers to their limits. With brief instructions the bakers were scratching their heads at this bread challenge.
Unfortunately Selasi's fougasse just didn't tick all of Paul boxes but Tom soared through as number one in this technical challenge.
Showstopper challenge: Floral cake
The bakers were set the challenge of a three-tiered floral cake this week. Decorated with flowers, filled with flowers, flavoured with flowers - flowers galore! The decoration had to be exceptional this week to really win over the judges.
Andrew opted for a spring elderflower showstopper decorated with Swiss buttercream and decorated with delicate edible flowers, Candice opted for a four season cake representing all of the seasons; spring, summer, autumn and winter and Bake Off contestant Jane made a three-tiered orange cake with handmade flowers.
Selasi certainly impressed Mary and Paul this week. Candice and Tom also got a thumbs up too with their three-tiered masterpiece. Andrew, Jane and Rav bakes were less impressive however and just didn't do it for Paul - oops!
Who was the star baker in episode six?
This week's star baker was Tom - for the second time in the series. Well done Tom!
Who was voted off in episode six?
Unfortunately we had to say goodbye to Rav this week - we were certainly sad to see him go!
The Great British Bake Off Episode 5: What happened?
Episode five of The Great British Bake Off was pastry week, with Mary and Paul challenging the amateur bakers to many a buttery bake. There were pitfalls, peaks and of course a few pies.
Signature challenge: Danish Pastries
Episode five of The Great British Bake Off kicked off with a tricky signature challenge with Mary and Paul asking for two different Danish pastries from every baker - and a cool dozen of each flavour.
There was many a possible pitfall with the dough needing various rounds of proving to become flaky and beautifully soft and to avoid it becoming as 'dry as old boots,' as Mary so delicately put it. While their doughs were coming together the bakers also needed to create their distinctly differently flavoured fillings. It was here that Candice stood out, for being the only baker brave enough to try a savoury Danish pasty, making croque monsieur themed bakes using mushrooms and pancetta.
Val plumped for pinwheels and had a rather ingenious hack to cut her dough in perfect circles. She used a loop of dental floss!
Other people's flavours included exotic combos like American banana and peanut butter and a tropical mango, ginger and rhubarb.