The Signature Bake - Traybakes
First off, we have to mention how much we loved Victoria's prim and proper school prefect look and her superb facial expressions - especially when she whipped cream onto herself. But largely, everyone's traybakes seemed to start off well (however disconcerting it was learning that Michael had played Sweeney Todd and thinking through the implications of that). It was also a joy to see Mary getting excited at the mention of cointreau in Victoria's blondies. (That and a hot toddy traybake from Michael? She must have been very happy indeed.)
But things took a slight turn for the bizarre when Emma revealed her brownies contained candied bacon. Yep - sour cherries, bourbon, chocolate, and... bacon. "Good luck with that, Emma," Michael grinned, counting his lucky stars. To be fair, Emma is addressing a real problem: "You know when you have a brownie and it's really nice but not quite as bacony as you'd hoped?" Yes. Sure. Of course. Paul warned Emma that someone had done that on the US Bake Off. "I threw them out that week." Emma seemed... concerned.
Still, as things carried on it all started to go wrong. Jamelia had too much apple and didn't know how long to bake her bites, meaning that they never actually, well, baked. Michael's cream curdled. "It looks terrible!" he wailed. (It did.) "It looks like scrambled eggs and I have no idea why." Emma revelled in his misfortune - only to realise she'd burnt her candied bacon. Mary tried it, coughed, and had to leave. "Have you killed Mary Berry?" Michael called, taking his turn to be smug. "That's really going to count against you." Emma tried to get the image of Mary's face out of her mind, but utterly failed. She had a 'restorative lie down' by the oven instead.
As it all went a bit hysterical, Jamelia started swigging on her almond liqueur, Michael realised his bake was lopsided, and Victoria got nervous when Paul just wished her luck with her icing. "I'm so scared now," she trembled. At least she was having a better time than Emma, who burnt her saucepan, decided it would be a good idea to put it on the floor, and burnt the carpet. It was actually the best moment of the episode. "Promise me you won't tell Mary Berry," she begged, as Michael lifted a perfectly round piece of rug from the tent floor. To make herself feel better, Emma kept talking about how Michael's bake looked horrid and grinning about Jamelia's cake not being done.
With 15 minutes to go and her bake too hot to handle (or ice), Victoria resorted to taking it outside for a cooling walk. It did not really work. Jamelia burnt herself, Emma discovered her traybake was "completely wet" and Michael made sounds no-one has ever heard before. But in the event, everyone did 'reasonably well', according to Paul and Mary. Paul even went a bit Simon Cowell, telling Michael: "I don't like that... I love it!"
The Technical Challenge - Ringed Iced Doughnuts
Ooh, plenty of opportunity for smut here, as guest host Omid Djalili informed everyone that they had two hours "before your rings are judged" (we also liked him telling Mary and Paul to leave and saying that actually made a nonsense of them being there in the first place, but that's less smutty). It was also fun seeing what passed for dastardly behaviour in Bake Off terms, as Paul sneakily didn't include the instruction to fry the doughnuts for three minutes in the recipe. Evil.
Almost immediately, Jamelia was begging Emma for help and reading things into slight eyebrow raises. But both Michael and Victoria fell foul when they couldn't be bothered to measure their yeast. Victoria started again. Michael didn't even notice anything was wrong. Maybe he was distracted by Omid and Emma's recreation of Ghost. We certainly were (and we were by Emma's doughnut-cellulite comparison, too. Bleurgh.).
Later, things went horribly wrong when Jamelia grated her finger off. Well, not off. Just slightly. But enough for a plaster! Despite Michael's suggestion that she just go and rest and not carry on, Jamelia soldiered through the pain (though given the standard of her doughnuts we wonder whether it was worth it). Still, it was good fun seeing everyone look ridiculous as they spun the dough round their finger. Michael thought his were ruined. Victoria mimicked him pretending to be rubbish when he is actually very good. If her baking was as good as she is funny, she'd be on to a winner.
The politics of it all really kicked in when Jamelia took her doughnuts out and started frying them without the others noticing. "I hate you," Michael said reasonably. "You're so sly." But at least Jamelia could get her own back on Emma, offering her precisely no advice. As everyone hurried to finish, the unappetising descriptions came out, too. Emma thought her doughnuts looked like they'd been on holiday in Scotland, which is at least specific. Michael thought his looked like onion rings. He went for last minute doughnut points by icing "I love Mary" on his presentation board. Paul was not won over. "I thought it was enchanting," Mary smiled.
In the end, Emma received praise for her doughnuts, but Michael's were deemed "deformed" (though they didn't taste bad apparently). Poor Jamelia's were said to be more like bagels than doughnuts ("They're a little bit informal," Mary said kindly). And to my eyes, Victoria's looked like the only ones with a proper doughnutty texture. But what do I know? Emma won this round. "You've got nice whoppers there, Em," Paul declared. Goodness me. We need a lie down.
The Showstopper Bakes - Layered Cakes To Represent A Sporting Hero
The showstopper bake round started well for Victoria, who was trying to make friends with her electrical equipment only for it to spurt some kind of mixture back at her. Still, she had a great idea for her Chris Hoy cake - even if her plan to make it the same circumference as his thigh girth didn't work out. Elsewhere, Jamelia and Michael were both planning coloured sponge - only to discover how tricky it actually is to dye the mixture. Michael's red, white and blue theme became pink, white and green. At least his tongue was coloured blue.
Emma decided to go for a tennis-themed cake (her sporting hero apparently being the sexy tennis bum lady; you know who I mean). She had a giant tennis racket, which instantly won points, but got nervous when Paul mentioned a Junior Bake Off contestant making a whole tennis ball, not just half of one. Desperate to compete, Emma decided to also make a full ball - and went a bit mad with the rose liqueur, rosewater and rose syrup. We can smell it from here. Emma just hoped it didn't taste like sick. Yummy!
As everyone else started using sugar paste and fondant to model some decorative figures, Victoria went for the difficult option of sponge sugar. And then she did it again. And then again. And then it was fourth time lucky - as she basically used up her last sugar - and we may have cheered along with her to be honest. It wasn't going quite so well for everyone. Jamelia resorted to cutting burnt bits off her sponge and doing some 'evening up' with a pair of scissors. Emma overjellified the jam. And Michael's buttercream "seems to have gone a bit solid". Victoria actually looked like she might cry when her cream curdled. Hold it together, Vic!
The time was running out, and Michael disguised some sins with a ribbon, Emma gave up on the whole tennis ball idea after all, and Jamelia's sugar paste Usain Bolt literally lost his head (mind you, she also described it as "a little bit profesh"). Victoria suddenly pulled it out of the bag by somehow managing to make a perfect replica of a bicycle out of sponge sugar. It was amazing. It should win on its own. We are baffled about how she did it.
But that was that. Michael was happy with his moobs - you know, the ones on his Big Daddy figure - but his cake received lukewarm reviews. Emma also got praise - even for the amount of rosewater she used - while Jamelia's (which actually looked really good) was a bit dry but "fun". Finally, everyone was rightly impressed with Victoria's bike ("I've never seen that on Bake Off," Paul marvelled) but then she did have some issues with curdling. Ooh, it was a close one.
In the end, Emma Freud was crowned the winner. We're bitter because we were all about Victoria's sugar bike, so we won't mention Emma being married to Comic Relief's founder or working for it for 25 years or anything. (Oh, we're sure she was the right winner, but Victoria.) Victoria vowed never to bake again. Emma promised to always wear her apron. Jamelia and Michael just seemed relieved to be done. But let's hope they all raised money for Sport Relief...