Great British Bake Off recap: Who blossomed during botanical week?
It was Botanicals week in The Great British Bake Off tent - but who came up smelling of roses?
A theme which typically inspires a host of unusual flavour combinations, in The Great British Bake Off tent this week, bakers had to create everything from spiced buns to a floral flavoured showstopper.
But were the judges impressed by jelly injected with decorative flowers or were soapy tasting cakes being served?
Signature Bake: 12 fragrant spiced buns
Made using an enriched bread dough, in the signature challenge bakers were asked for 12 spiced buns.
Consistency and potency of flavours were what Paul and Prue were after, looking to make sure bakers full incorporated the botanicals theme with spices.
Saku was the first to share her bake, surprising judges with her Swedish cinnamon buns. After being questioned by the judges on the lack of Sri Lankan inspiration she was quick to clarify that they would also be flavoured with cardamom, with the spices from her home country.
Tasha was next up with her Yuletide buns, flavoured with clove and cinnamon and all flavours of Christmas, even if her grey-tinted dough looked less than inspiring.
Matty was also inspired by a holiday, this time Easter. His hot cross bun idea seemed promising until he shared that when he first attempted the buns they weren’t very good, though he did blame this on a West Ham game being on.
Last week’s star baker Cristy was out to impress with her maple, pecan and cinnamon buns.
Dana was one of the few contestants who was using a plain dough - rather than one infused with spice – hoping that her cardamom, pistachio and orange flavours would pack enough of a punch.
Josh was quizzed by Paul and Prue about his spiced buns which were filled with a lemon curd and blueberries – which were soaked in a spiced cinnamon tea mixture, which would bring in the element of spice required for the challenge.
Meanwhile, Dan was leaning on saffron to give his buns a unique colour with cinnamon and star anise also flavouring his buns.
Once time was called, the bakers and Alison all banded together for a group hug without Noel who sat sulkily off to the side.
As judging commenced, Tasha was praised for the unusual colours on her buns which were coated in a red drizzle with Prue and Paul both heaping praise on her festive bake.
Dan’s buns were unfortunately inconsistent, so while his overall flavours were good there was certainly work to be done, with Dana receiving similar feedback particularly for her lack of cardamom, a flavour which she’s had trouble with in the past.
Saku, on the other hand, was praised for her cardamom and cinnamon creation. Josh was able to impress and carry across the spice through his soaked blueberries which were very well received by the judges.
Cristy was another contestant to receive praise for her buns with their consistent and neat layers and flavours which left Prue trying not to eat any more.
Meanwhile, Matty was the final baker to be judged and his hot cross buns fell a little short of where he hoped they would be, with the dough underproved and dense.
Technical Challenge: Lemon and thyme drizzle cake
With Prue issuing this challenge, she cautioned the bakers: “Be bold with the botanicals.”
Certainly sound advice, but who among them succeeded at listening to her?
Made in an elaborate cake tin, with room for error should the bakers not manage to grease their tins adequately.
After a brief interlude for Noel to challenge Saku to keepie uppies with a lemon, which resulted in the lemon flying across the tent and breaking a light, it was back to intense concentration.
With limited instructions, which included crystallising lemon shavings and thyme there were many different decisions being made.
But how did they do?
Coming in seventh, Tasha was at the bottom of the pack, followed by Dana and Saku.
On the other hand, Dan’s cake came third, Josh’s second while Cristy came out first.
Showstopper: Floral dessert with baked element
For the showstopper, the contestants were assigned four and a half hours to create a floral flavoured dessert which must have a significant baking element.
A fairly open challenge in Bake Off terms, it was interesting to see what the bakers came up with.
Dan decided upon elderflower and handmade syrups made from foraged finds for his showstopper, which was inspired by an opera cake; a layered french bake.
Matty also decided upon elderflower as his main flavour, inspired by a favourite summer drink of his with a mousse element.
Other bakers who included elderflower in their showstoppers include Tasha and Cristy.
Tasha decided to sign her bake to the judges, explaining her extravagant and multifaceted showstopper which would include elderflower and hibiscus with around ten elements.
About her creation, she told the camera: “I am the person I shout at when I watch on TV.”
Whereas Cristy decided upon a mould for her elderflower showstopper, something which concerned the judges given the heat in the tent.
Saku was combining ginger with hibiscus for a cheesecake creation, while Josh decided upon a Charlotte Russe showstopper with rhubarb, raspberry and hibiscus.
But many of these elaborate showstoppers proved tricky for bakers with the limited time they had remaining.
Dan and Tasha both dropped part of their cakes – though Tasha had created a back up just in case of issues when Dan had to start again.
Many had to spend time injecting jelly to create delicate flowers, while Matty struggled icing decorative flowers for his bake.
Cristy, however, had a large issue with her showstopper with the white chocolate ganache cracking as it was removed from the mould. After taking a brief step outside the tent to compose herself and dry her tears she came back in determined to make it work.
When it came time for judging, Tasha was first up. Paul and Prue couldn’t find fault with her “professional” showstopper.
Saku was praised for how pretty her bake turned out along with her textures, even if the flavours were unbalanced.
Dan was another contestant who was praised for the looks of their display, but his floral elements proved overpowering.
The judges were less kind to Matty, questioning how his display was a showstopper with its relatively simple looks and decoration and inconsistency.
Josh was able to impress, yet again, with his Russe with a split in his sponge fingers the only negative comment.
Dana, however, found herself in hot water with judges questioning if her showstopper wasn’t a case of style over substance. Her flavours were weak and her sponge was dried out from over refrigeration.
Finally, Cristy was up. After multiple issues with her bake she was able to present a pretty, if simple, display. The judges commented that they could tell she was almost on to something perfect, but praised her resilience especially when things were going wrong.
Who was Star Baker during botanical week?
While Cristy and Tasha were both considered for star baker, it was Josh who came out on top for his overall performance.
Who left Bake Off this week?
It was another close call on the bottom end of the spectrum, with Matty, Dana and Saku all in trouble.
Unfortunately, it was Dana who left the tent during week six.
Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.