More than 1 in 5 Britons tuned in on Wednesday night for the much anticipated final of The Great British Bake Off. Three finalists baked to the death, almost, for the coveted glass cake stand. In the end it wasn’t heartthrob anaesthetist Tamal or roadkill scavenger-cum-squid ink connoisseur Ian, but Nadiya who impressed the most, not only for delivering an abundance of her famed facial expressions, but also for her unflappable delivery of 3 great bakes.
The bakers were definitely feeling the pressure. Ian made some rookie errors. Tamal knocked over a pot of utensils, which lead to the most endearing moment of the show, as Nadiya helped pick them up he crooned “thanks little chum”. The camaraderie in the tent was palpable. Nadiya remained cool, calm and collected throughout, putting memories of the first weeks technicals out of mind, despite attempts by Tamal to dredge them up. This was her salvation, after a wobbly first few weeks, she found her stride and has been a consistently good baker since.
What the finale lacked however, was a sense of uncertainty. It was clearly Nadiya’s win from the outset, Tamal‘s crème pâtissière-less buns looked sad and empty and Ian’s iced buns were in fact crispy baps. Even the best carrot cake in the world couldn’t bring you back from that, despite quite literally, Ian having baked the best carrot cake Paul had ever had. But if a working chocolate-well didn’t impress Paul, then it’s no wonder the world’s best carrot cake couldn’t win. Winning Paul over is like trying to do sugar work on a moist day.
The very British programme ends, as always, with a very British tea party. But, unlike the tea parties I go to, most people were in tears, tucking into a three tiered wedding cake. What would a bake off final be without bakery related innuendo, “My buns are round” Mel confides in Paul. With the eventual victor being the bookies favourite, perhaps the biggest surprise of the night was discovering that Ian baked the Dalai Lama’s birthday cake.