Tamal, Ian and Nadiya went spatula to spatula in the quest to be crowned Britain's best amateur baker. But only one emerged victorious. If you didn't watch the final episode (where were you?) here's what happened:
Tamal. Nadiya. Ian.
A trio of highly skilled cake wizards, pie masters and choux aficionados. They stood united in the tent for one final sugar-dusted showdown in a bid to take the crown and officially become Britain's best amateur baker.
It was a tense one from the moment it started. A signature bake of iced buns, not one but two types, was decreed – presumably designed to be a touch more fancy than the stale offerings topped with that sort of watery icing gloop you used to get in the school canteen. "You can feel it's the final," whispered Nads.
She hopped to it with her buns – one set of round (controversial) cardamom and almond babies and another finger-shaped idea with nutmeg and sour cherry.
Ian was the only one of the gang who made two batches of dough (naturally): an elderflower with lemon curd, and a cardamom and cinnamon with an apple and cranberry jam. Yum.
All was going well until disaster struck: Ian's buns looked "weird". Tamal's crème pât filling was too runny and no amount of effort – not even whacking it in the freezer or plunging the container into ice – would fix it. Argh.
“String up the bunting, this bun-ting is over,” cried Mel.
The judges were up, and Paul was baffled by the taste of Ian's spiced buns. It was pondered that he may have forgotten to put sugar into the dough, meaning he just served an icing-topped bread bap. In the final. Not ideal.
His icing was also "a little messy" according to Mary, but his lemony, elderflowery batch was "a sheer joy to eat."
Nadiya's lot went down a treat, with special props from Paul for her outstanding sour cherry jam. Tamal's lack of crème pât was not well received: "The flavours are good, but the texture is wrong," admonished Paul. But his citrus marmalade was a hit, as was his apple and cream concoction. But this is the final we're talking about, so was it enough from the gorgeous Dr Ray?!
The last ever technical. Paul chose a raspberry mille-feuille – all flaky puff, delicate custard and tart fruit – specifically because all three of the finalists struggle with pastry. What a nice guy.
The usual terror flashed across the bakers' faces, especially when an instruction to make a candy stripe icing was revealed.
Tamal's offering wasn't working out as well as he would've liked – "That's the worst pastry ever," he moaned – and Ian felt the pressure. "You do wonder why you put yourself through this at times," he pondered. For glory Ian. That's why.
Tamal's was pretty, but a little squished, while Nadiya's pastry was a little too shortcrust-esque. Ian's fondant icing didn't bound to the bake. No one nailed it, but they must be ranked, and ranked they were: Nads came first, Ian second and dishy Tamal rounded up the back.
The final showstopper
But now. It was the one they had all been working up to. The final ever showstopper challenge.
The theme? Classic British cakes. But done up all jazzy, with at least three tiers, decoration aplenty and a general feeling of baking theatre.
Nadiya selected a lemon drizzle, but planned to do hers up wedding-cake-style. Because, she said, she married her husband in Bangladesh where the whole sponge-for-nuptials idea isn't really a thing, so this was a chance to live her fondant dreams. She used sari fabric in red, white and blue for decoration, as well as edible flowers, and made her icing out of marshmallows (you can imagine Mary's face at that one).
Sticky toffee pudding was Tamal's inspiration, but it was evolved to have a whole load of fruit chucked in for good measure, from dates and oranges to prunes. He planned to decorate it with a load of ethereally beautiful spun sugar, an idea which he took from an ancient Chinese village that became overrun by nature. Erm, OK.
Ian went for a "colossal curvy carrot cake" – which was five bakes arranged in a home-designed stand.
It all kicked off and another issue arose for Ian when he miscalculated a batch of batter and had to start again. Tamal and Nadiya's works of art were blooming, while Ian eventually managed to pull off a spectacular visual feast.
And the winner is …
Then it was time for the traditional final tea party. The full set of bakers from the series reunited outside the tent (not bitter, obvs), as well as the finalists' families.
A hush descended, and it was time for the winner to be declared.
A moment of silence, and then … Nadiya's name was called. In a flurry of tears and jubilation, she cried, Mary cried and 12 million viewers at home cried.
"I'm really proud of her," said Queen B. "She's grown and grown and grown."
Nads, you bossed it with those mad baking skills, utterly priceless facial expressions and all round aura of wonderfulness. Good work.
Like this? Then try these:
- Why Bake Off's Tamal has got Twitters knickers in a twist
- 12 of the worst baking fails in GBBO history
- The definitive ranking of classic British baking
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