STYLE

Great British Bake Off: It's French Week!

14/08/2014 16:35 | Updated 22 May 2015

Ruby faltered, Kimberley held firm and Frances wore a jaunty breton stripe. French week on Bake Off was, er, bonne, says Emma Sleight

Mel, Sue and Mary were in Tricolore blazers, Frances was wearing a jaunty Breton stripe and Mel went full Juliette Binoche, because hoh-heehoh-hee-hoh, c'est le French week dans la tente du Bake Off. Bonnet de douche.

As the four remaining bakers paid a semi-final homage to La France with savoury canapés, (that's big punches in small spaces if you're Paul) Charlotte Royales and opera cakes, Sue did her best Inspector Clouseau impression: "Wow, derrière comme une pêche!"

This week you'd be forgiven for thinking you'd switched channels to the Bake with Kimberley show. She greeted the Charlotte Royale technical - also known as a snot-glazed Swiss roll brain – with a nod that said "I made a couple last night FOR FUN."

While she talked us through every stage, from jam consistency to Swiss roll muscle memory, the nation debated how much it would laugh if she ballsed it up. Luckily for her, the finished article was flawless, despite looking like it should be floating in a jar at the Anatomy Museum.

Kimberley just wants to see it through now (I bet that's what Napoleon said about the French Revolution) and with her canapés and opera cake good enough to win her star baker, she's squaring up to be a formidable finalist.

Elsewhere, Frances managed to briefly recover from last week's flowerpot trauma to produce a vegetable garden of canapés that won her a Hollywood handshake and a semi-friendly glare from Beca, who was left contemplating Planet Frances: the place where no one else can go.

If there are secret squirrel cakes with hazelnut balls on Planet Frances then I'm booking the next flight on Branson's Virgin Galactic. There might be some truth in Frances' "better to be a mentalist than boring" motto as Beca with her characterless canapés and hint of a banana showstopper went straight into the danger zone alongside a struggling Ruby.

Even the show's star pupil found herself in schtuck this week as her canapés were delicious but forgettable, her Royale looked like it was haemorrhaging and her Joconde layers that were meant to resemble the tiers in the Palais Garnier Opera House looked more like a Play-Doh stack.

In typical fashion Ruby saved herself with flavour while Frances was slapped down for style over substance for the ten millionth time with her stunning but sickly lemon and lavender-less cake. Meanwhile even an operatic introduction couldn't save lovely Beca from coming under fire for fake banana flavouring.

If it was the XFactor, a staunch Welsh fan base would have saved her but it was down to the paragon of pastry and the grandmaster of gateaux as Mary-Milien de Robes-Paul sent Beca to the Guillotine.

So that's it, c'est fini. The mildly chubby (Sue's words, not mine) ladies have sung and the final three baker's fates are set in bavarois as we waddle biliously, almost beyond the sugar to blood ratio point of no return, into the final.

It's Frances' style versus Ruby's flavours and Kimberley's consistency. Despite Hollywood strenuously denying any baking bias, the smart money is on wunderkind Ruby, but if Frances finishes her baking "journey" with a blinder, Kimberley keeps her ironclad control and Ruby falters, bawling into another mixing bowl, all bets are off.

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