Do you ever think that the people behind The Great British Bake Off might be running out of episode ideas? I only ask because episode six of the 2014 incarnation has as its theme 'European cakes', which sounds very much like a 5pm-on-a-Friday idea to me. Anyway, I can't be too concerned about that because my main concern is who is going to be my new baking hero following Norman's ignominious sortie last week.
The signature challenge is a yeast-leavened cake, which must be left to prove in much the same way that a loaf of bread would. The majority of our baker's half-dozen choose to make a savarin - a kind of Eastern European baba soaked in alcohol, while builder Richard attempts a guglhupf (bless you) and Luis a kugelhopf (seriously, have a tissue). Nancy's savarin "looks more like a Yorkshire pudding" in her words but she salvages it to make a '70s-inspired Caribbean-themed cake. Despite the Caribbean not being part of Europe last time I checked (and, if we're being pedantic, Kate's Israeli-inspired cake doesn't quite fit the criterion either), everyone's cakes turn out pretty well.
The technical challenge is a Swedish princess cake. I can only assume Mary Berry (or 'Bez', as Sue Perkins has taken to calling her) is still intoxicated from the proliferation of alcohol-laced treats in round one, as she gives our contestants only two and a quarter hours to make a concoction of Genoese sponge, jam, crème pâtissière, a dome of cream, green marzipan, and a rose formed from icing. Unsurprisingly, one or two start to struggle, and both Chetna and Kate have to remake their sponges from scratch due them rising about as much as the sun in an Icelandic winter. Nancy's in such a tizzy she forgets Paul Hollywood's name and starts to refer to him as simply "the male judge" but she still has enough presence of mind to tame the princess cake and win the challenge. Despite Chetna's earlier issues and the fact her marzipan is trowelled on in patches, she takes second. Builder Richard (still with de rigueur pencil behind ear) and Kate have a bad afternoon, and take fifth and sixth place respectively.
It feels like the standard has really stepped up as the show-stopper is announced: a Dobos torte. For the uninitiated - which included me before this episode - a Dobos torte is a traditional Hungarian cake which comprises of many thin layers of sponge and cream, and is topped with caramel. Bez and the male judge are particularly keen to judge our adventurers' sugar work, hence they've given them five hours in the hope of seeing some inventive and intricate caramel structures.
And wow, these contestants do not disappoint. Luis plans a four-sided sugar tower with a flag flying from the top, Richard wants to build a sugar-spun nest to house his sugar bird, and Martha's making a Dobos torte chessboard complete with chocolate and caramel playing pieces. You don't quite realise the ambition and scale of what's being attempted until you hear the numbers - each of Richard's tiers have ten layers; Martha's chessboard has 24 in total; Chetna's making fourteen Victoria sponges - it's no wonder this lot beat thousands of other applicants to land a place in the country's most prestigious tent.
At the final reckoning, it's no surprise that some of the cakes are a little rough around the edges as, despite the timescales, they all ended up panicking as the clock ticked down. All, that is, except Luis, who appeared to spend the last ten minutes disinfecting the worktop and casually wiping it down with a jay cloth. Each of the six bakers has performed a Herculean task in getting their Dobos tortes into a presentable state (not the best choice of adjective - Hercules was notoriously terrible at baking, as a rudimentary knowledge of Greek mythology would tell you), but can our fearsome judging duo whittle the crop down to a famous five?
Innuendo of the week: "Having stuck my finger in all the various options, this is the one that tasted the nicest" - I've entirely forgotten what Richard was talking about here, which is probably for the best.
Star baker: Despite the blind panic the Swedish princess cake prompted, Chetna had a sterling week and picks up the coveted prize.
Going home: No-one! The judges deliberated between Kate and Richard but reached an impasse. Good job really, as Kate spent the entire episode wearing a silver sheriff's badge for no discernible reason and is now officially my new BAKING HERO!
Next week: Pastries are what will make - to clumsily paraphrase The Spice Girls - six become five.