THE BLOG

Great British Bake Off 2014 Episode Blog - Week 4

28/08/2014 11:04 BST | Updated 27/10/2014 09:59 GMT

It's Kenneth Williams impersonations all round in the Bake Off tent to begin this episode, as dessert week kicks off with a self-saucing pudding challenge. Most of the bakers are attempting a twist on a classic fondant, but Chetna, Luis and my hero Norman have plumped for a sponge where the sauce goes at the bottom and soaks in during baking. The bakers are interrogated by Paul and Mary, who both seem unnaturally obsessed by the amount of sauce each pudding will provide, as if it were some kind of life-giving elixir.

There are plenty of shots of people looking distressed sitting by ovens, especially Kate, whose caramel sauce bubbles over like a cakey Krakatoa. AS Level student Martha has a nightmare when turning her peanut butter fondants out onto the tray, as a good deal of them collapse. Her filling's not a big hit either: "It's welding my mouth shut," complains Paul. Across the nation, over eight million viewers cheer in unison.

This week's technical challenge is a tiramisu cake which involves cutting layers of sponge so thinly and accurately, it requires the kind of steady hand more usually associated with those buzz wire games. Richard (the BUILDER!) and hipster Iain - whose beard is getting a lot of attention this episode - bake sponges so flat they genuinely can't be cut, and thus start again. Graphic designer Luis, however, is so intent on planning his cake, he's drawn a diagram that just shows layers of sponge upon layers of mascarpone. This, presumably, is to stop himself from putting a layer of sponge on top another layer of sponge and then claiming it's a deconstructed tiramisu cake as if he were a Masterchef contestant.

Martha redeems her fondant fiasco by winning the technical (she revealed at the start of the challenge she'd actually made the recipe before) and Luis' diagrammatical skills have obviously paid off, as he comes second. Down the bottom, Diana's coffee has leaked through the sponge and onto the table and she's last, just ahead of Norman, who seemed genuinely pleased with his effort when it came to presenting it. Poor Norman.

The showstopper is a baked Alaska, and it gives the editors the chance to show off their handiwork, by playing a clip of Luis asking, "What could go wrong?" immediately before one of Paul stating, "There are many of things that could go wrong." It's the hottest day of the year in the Bake Off tent, making it a terrible environment for making ice cream from scratch and attempting to freeze it within a limited time period.

All the bakers seem genuinely mystified by how slowly their ice cream is setting (pro tip: try to not repeatedly remove it from the freezer to check on its progress, perhaps), but they all somehow get to a sufficient level that their desserts can be assembled and then put back into the freezer to chill further. A seemingly innocuous moment between Nancy and Diana where they try to find freezer space soon turns into full-blown controversy when it emerges they've inadvertently left Iain's chocolate and sesame seed baked Alaska out on a table. Iain is understandably unhappy and, whilst Sue gamely attempts to salvage something from the situation, he throws his entire dessert in the bin in a fit of pique and storms out of the tent.

Now, a man throwing a cake in the bin and walking out of a tent may not seem particularly momentous, but in the bunting-clad, cosy world of Great British Bake Off, this is big news. To us, this is our equivalent of Eric Cantona karate kicking a racist supporter at Selhurst Park in the mid-90s. The fourth wall is shattered (we even see a cameraman on screen) and no-one quite seems to know how to handle it. Luckily, everyone gains composure and finishes strongly, except Chetna, whose dessert seems to implode completely, as if in sympathy with Iain.

Chetna serves up a meringue-less baked Alaska and Norman's efforts are criticised for being too simple for the 37th consecutive week, but the real question is can Iain and his lovely beard survive having served up absolutely nothing in the showstopper challenge?

Innuendo of the week: "It's saying to me 'massive spotted dick.' I mean, that's what you've got there." Sue Perkins travels to Paignton to learn about desserts in the 1850s and immediately endears herself to the locals.

Star baker: Richard's been quietly brilliant this week and picks up the crown. Paul still manages to slip in a, "You wouldn't expect that from a builder," just in case we'd forgotten his profession.

Going home: Iain's moment of madness has cost him and he's sent packing, purely because there's no way the judges can justify keeping him on the show.

Next week: Pies and tarts are the order of the day as we move to the final eight contestants.