If like me you’re broke after the sesh and find yourself staying in this week, you might’ve turned on that magical box lying in the corner that’s gathering dust, I think it’s a TV right? With the days of golden television having reached their climax and most of us now watching our favourite shows on demand in the comfort of our own beds instead of going to college, it’s rare that us students make use of the big box in our sitting rooms. Anyway, seeing as options were limited I found myself caught watching the final of the Great British Bake Off.

The show has produced some of the cheesiest one liners, been the source of many Mary Berry memes and gifs and of course the subject of much controversy. Led by presenters Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc, the show has brought its share of tension, tears and trauma this season as well as some cringey one liners. With news of the split of the dynamic duo Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood still ringing in our ears, the scandalous reveal added to the drama in last night’s episode. The duo are now becoming rivals with two new shows in the works that will go head to head next season.

The finale was true to form, with stress levels that went through the roof, pastries that didn’t rise to meet the expectations of the judges and a state of complete and utter panic one can only associate with the ‘Great British Bake Off’. The three finalists, Jane, Candice and Andrew, were tried and tested on their ability to create a feast fit for royalty. With each round the theme was relayed, in the signature bake round both Candice and Jane impressed Paul with their interpretations of a crown made of meringue; each created stunning pavlova style crowns accompanied by fruit panacotta and reductions. Andrew however was not so lucky. His dismal attempt at creating a crown reminded viewers of the time during their childhood when you attempt to bake, perhaps using mud and your own tears, but fail miserably, the so called ‘Crowning Jewel’, was a complete disaster.

Great British Bake Off

Andrew wrestling with his own inadequacy, and a crown made of meringue.

As the competition moved on a little green eyed monster appears in the form of Andrew’s fairly passive aggressive and at times childish comments; as with every season of the show there is always one contestant that takes the judges’ comments to heart a little too much. In the technical round, contestants were given very little instruction, told to recreate a classic Victoria sandwich cake, and without a recipe or guideline in sight, our three bakers were left to their own devices. Jane and Candice opted for similar techniques while Andrew went in a different direction. While Jane and Candice struggled with their raspberry jam, Andrew fell behind on his time management. By the end of the round tensions were running high with Jane failing to impress with her over-sized sponge and Candice’s jam falling short, it was Andrew who clinched victory this time round.

As ostensibly dull as a show about monumentally stressed flour-drenched people fretting over the crumb density of a scone, could and should be, as ever the sense of rivalry and competition between the finalists brought things to life. In the end the final showstopper challenge was a culmination of the contestant’s strengths and weakness’. Given five hours to create one chocolate celebration cake, twelve sausage rolls, twelve savoury scones, twelve quiches, and twelve tarts, the bakers were faced with a mammoth task of creating 49 items in 5 hours. Both Jane and Andrew struggled with their puff pastries, with both serving raw or under-cooked pastries to the judges, however their versions of chocolate cake were received well, even though Jane’s golden crown didn’t go to plan. Andrew’s quiche was impressive but his tarts failed to meet the high standards of icy-eyed silver fox Paul Hollywood and older-than-time-itself, diabetes-inspirer, Mary Berry. Candice showed a more quirky alternative to traditional picnic in the park, with her sausage rolls resembling actual pigs, her pastry was on point and her quiche had flavour and finesse, however like her fellow contestants all seemed to fail at the savoury scone part of the challenge, none of the contestants produced any scones with flavour. Though her chocolate cake went down a storm impressing Mary and Paul.

Great British Bake Off

The three finalists, Jane, Candice and Andrew, pictured here in the white, windowless pen they were kept in prior to the final.

The final decision took some deliberation between the judges, with the build up to the reveal all contestants were gathered outside by family and friends for the big reveal. Presented with a glass cake-stand and flowers, Candice was the Great British Bake Off Winner 2016, though to be honest, she seemed to be the front-runner from the start. It was a fitting end to what has become an inexplicable mainstay of television over the last few years, before Paul Hollywood takes its quivering husk over to Channel 4 in the hopes of carrying on the brand. 

Aileen O’Leary