Tantrums, tension and a tent-full of talent culminated in a classic GBBO final

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Image: Fancy Nancy wins the Great British Bake Off 2014

Great British Bake Off / Love Productions / bbc.co.uk

The GBBO finalists present their pièces de résistance

After 27 challenges (yes, we counted) performed by 12 of the country's finest amateur bakers we watched the three remaining contestants in the tent of talent battle it out for the Bake Off crown.


What a series it's been! There have been some rather memorable moments, with some departures more dramatic than others (we're looking at you, Iain).


So last night, Richard, Luis and Nancy went whisk-to-whisk as they took on a fiendish final of choux buns, croquembouche and lots and lots of cake.


First up, Viennoiserie, aka croissants, pains aux chocolate and other pastry breakfast goodness. 


Richard annoyed Paul (why upset him in the final, Richard?) with the "joining" of his milky bread, pain au lait, and his pain au chocolat, which had morphed into a buttery roll, apparently. Luis didn't fare much better with his cream cheese and raspberry combo (well, why would you do that?), and fancy Nancy’s apple kites (basically a Normandy apple tart in a pastry) were "spot on". She took the first round. 

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Nancy's apple kites

Great British Bake Off / Love Productions / bbc.co.uk

Next up? The technical challenge and mastering the basics. A dozen mini Victoria sponges, mini tarte au citron and mini scones in just TWO hours to be exact. And there were no instructions. That's just mean. 

Richard hadn't made a tarte au citron before and his plan was to whisk up all the ingredients and whack them in the oven. Unfortunately, he ended up with curdled sweet scrambled egg, which landed him in third place. Luis came in second after irritating Paul by not piping the cream in his Victoria sponge (who really does that?) and Nancy came in first again (see where this is going?). 

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GBBO technical challenge

Great British Bake Off / Love Productions / bbc.co.uk

The final showstopper of the series was a pièce montée, basically an impressive pile of patisserie involving a whole host of cakes, biscuits and petit fours. Richard and Nancy found themselves in a windmill-off – seriously, what are the chances. Monsieur le builder's mountain of choux buns surrounded by AstroTurf icing tasted fantastic but Paul thought it looked childish.


Nancy's windmill was the Moulin Rouge, with sails that actually turned (thanks to her genius husband, Tim) and a good bake too. Luis made an entire chocolate village, which basically looked like art. The big pile of cake was a bit dry but the mining wheel made out of biscuit was "beautiful" according to Mary.

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Showstopper challenge windmill cake

Great British Bake Off / Love Productions / bbc.co.uk

Meanwhile, watching on a hill at what looked like the most subdued picnic ever, the whole Bake Off gang was back: curly Kate (who seemed to be swigging a glass of bubbly every time she came into view), beardy Iain, Norman and his lavender meringue and, yes, super ice-cream villian Diana Beard. 


After the mandatory dramatic pause, no-nonsense Nancy Birtwhistle from north Lincolnshire took the Bake Off crown and everyone cried.


Now what are we going to do on a Wednesday night? A slice of cake will help us through it. 


High point: Grandmother Nancy succumbed to A GADGET made by her clever hubby, Tim. A drainpipe to curve her brandy snaps to be exact. 


Low point: Richard. And his pencil ... we were convinced he was going to take the crown. Seriously, Dickie, what happened??


Top tip: Always always pipe your cream in a Victoria sponge if Mary and Paul are coming for tea.


Did the right baker win? Unexpected? Yes, but she nailed it on the night. Go Nance.