Great British Bake Off recap: Party week puts quarter-finalists through their paces

Bake Off judges Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith. (Photo: Mark Bourdillon/Channel 4)Bake Off judges Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith. (Photo: Mark Bourdillon/Channel 4)
Bake Off judges Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith. (Photo: Mark Bourdillon/Channel 4)

The quarter-finals of The Great British Bake Off arrived with a bang, as party week ushered in the beginning of the show's end.

Just five bakers remained in the tent, each having fought for their place across the past seven weeks, faced with a variety of challenges from buffet-style snacks such as sausage rolls to classic party cakes.

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But who was left crying in the corner while the party continues without them?

Signature Bake: Sausage rolls

With the bakers tasked with making 12 sausage rolls in what Paul labelled his “favourite challenge ever”, the pressure was certainly on.

Cristy admitted to using Paul’s own recipe as inspiration, with her cranberry, sage and onion sausage rolls, while Dan went rogue with his Dim Sum-inspired sausage rolls which were to feature a pork and prawn stuffing.

Josh, explaining both his creation and why he was wearing a Christmas t-shirt in the middle of summer, chopped up Brussel sprouts for his turkey mince and cranberry festive sausage rolls.

Meanwhile, Tasha decided to recreate a scene from her life, drinking cider in the park, with her pork and apple sausage rolls and Matty also decided to make use of apples in his classic sausage roll, which was filled with pork, sage and onion and seasoned with just a hint of chilli flakes.

There were, of course, the requisite innuendos being thrown around the tent with Tasha saying: “I’m being generous with the sausage. No one wants a small sausage.”

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However, there were several factors which could spell disaster for the bakers, from the hot tent ruining their pastry lamination to soggy bottomed sausage rolls.

When it came to judging, Tasha was up first. She was applauded for the flavour of her sausage rolls but ran out of time when it came to baking them, with the judges advising that they needed a further ten minutes in the oven.

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Dan’s Dim Sum sausage rolls were always going to be a tricky sell to Paul and he admitted that he wasn’t keen on them even though there wasn’t an awful lot technically wrong with Prue agreeing that it was unusual to taste the Chinese flavours in a sausage roll format.

Josh was another baker whose creation needed a little longer in the oven, with his turkey filling making it a tad dry, even though his flavours were good.

Much the same could be said about Cristy’s creation; good flavours but her bake was underwhelming, especially as she was victim to the dreaded soggy bottom.

However, Matty was by far and away responsible for the best sausage rolls, receiving the fourth Hollywood Handshake of the series.

Technical Challenge: Caterpillar cake

An inspired choice for a party-themed week, the five remaining contestants were asked to create their very own caterpillar cakes.

There were plenty of elements to this bake, from the slices on the sponge to create the distinctive ridges to swiss meringue decorations.

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There was an intense focus in the tent, and while Alison may have mixed up the weeks – asking about the semi-final, instead of the quarter-final – it didn’t deter Tasha from her intense concentration.

Dan and Cristy faced challenges during their bake, with Cristy starting her sponge again from scratch while Dan powered through despite cutting the ridges on the wrong length of the sponge.

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In addition to the actual bake, contestants were to make the caterpillar’s face which the judges left up to their own creativity – to very mixed results.

Matty’s terrifying face was more reminiscent of Thomas the Tank Engine than Colin the caterpillar, while Tasha took inspiration from a figure closer to home; Noel.

But including the host’s distinctive sideburns paid off for her as she took home first in the technical, followed by Cristy – who was criticised for running out of time – while Dan came last.

Showstopper: Anything but beige buffet

Likely one of the most unusual showstoppers to have appeared on the show, Paul and Prue wanted a colourful and decorative display of party foods, both sweet and savoury, which were anything but the standard beige typically on offer.

A very open challenge, each baker had a distinct creative vision, baking everything from bread to biscuits.

Dan went for a prehistoric design, juggling what could have been too many elements, with chicken curry dinosaur feet pies alongside teacakes, lemon shortbread and filled white chocolate dinosaur eggs.

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Josh went down a simpler route, however, leaning into the same Christmas theme he embraced the day before but focusing on just three items – white chocolate and coconut snowman macarons, choux bun Christmas puddings and spinach and pesto Couronne wreaths – which would have to be perfect to impress the judges.

Matty, as we’ve come to expect from the PE teacher, decided to stick with what he knew with a sporty display, making curry cricket ball pies, basketball crème brulee doughnuts, tennis ball macarons and chocolate orange golf ball cupcakes.

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Cristy’s Willy Wonka inspired showstopper would see the baker make swiss roll lollies, lemon meringue cupcakes, candy cane cheese twists as well as beef and onion pastries.

And, as we’ve come to expect, Tasha decided to go all out with her farmyard party with choux buns, raspberry and pistachio Viennese whirls, and milk bread pigs.

And while her ambitious design sounded impressive, it ended up leaving her scrabbling for time and facing flat choux buns and jam which hadn’t set.

But what did the judges think?

Cristy was up first, but failed to impress with the judges unhappy with the look of her showstopper.

Matty was praised for his “clever” creation, with almost every element perfect except for a few issues with texture regarding his doughnuts.

Tasha’s showstopper was “underwhelming” to the judges, with more texture issues and too many beige elements though her flavours were typically spot on.

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Dan also fell victim to his own ambition, which Prue predicted earlier in the episode, with a mixed bag of a showstopper leaving the judges wishing he had narrowed his focus just a little.

Josh, however, redeemed himself after a slightly lacklustre day in the tent with his stripped back showstopper, with each element ticking all the right boxes.

Who was star baker?

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The judges had their work cut out for them to decide who would be star baker, but Matty’s consistent performance saw him just pip Josh to the post.

Who left Bake Off?

Unfortunately it was Cristy who left The Great British Bake Off tent when her party week creations were unable to impress.



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