Bake Off 2020 – Patisserie Week: Baking Sadist

When you both wear the same thing and one of you is going to have to change.

The semi-finals had all the drama you could hope for: Scalpels! Heatwaves! Passion fruit! And an erect horn!

Born to Savarin

The first challenge of Patisserie Week is to make 12 savarins – which for the uninitiated are essentially evolved rum babas and if you don’t know what that is: it’s a brioche with a drinking problem.

Because it’s patisserie everyone is very wary of Hermine and her expertise in the genre – she’s the Ari Aster of profiteroles. But in true auteur fashion – every director has a dud eventually and because of the heatwave that they’re baking in Hermine’s proving time is thrown off course and she ends up with some overly puffed savarins

She decides that with half the time left she’s going to rebake, meaning that in order to cool them for judging and so that her Chantilly cream topping doesn’t melt, she shoves them into The Cursed Freezer

It does pay off better for her than it ever did Lottie though, but because of the late stage second attempt she severely under proves them this time and despite a winning flavour combo of apricot and Jack Sparrow levels of rum as well as looking like elegant wedding desserts

the tightness of her dough just isn’t pleasant. I do wonder if the overly puffed dough the first time round was because she was using a very shallow baking mould:

Both Laura and Dave went for a tropical twist because apparently they’re both on the board of directors for Big Passion Fruit – seriously, did they just have a lot of them at the hotel’s continental breakfast buffet? Because I’m one passion fruit mousse away from going full conspiracy theory nutcase over here.
Laura is pairing hers with pineapple and kiwi for an added tropical twist – and she’s also using fresh yeast which Paul then does his Paul Hollywood thing and questions her why she made the decision and she can’t tell him that she’s doing it because that’s what the BBC Good Food recipe told her to use so she just Umms and Errs while he stares at her like The Night King from Game of Thrones

Meanwhile Prue is just happy there’s rum involved and that she gets an extra shot of it in a pipette

Her savarins are a little uneven but I think they’re well decorated and fairly pleasing to the eye. Paul thinks they’re over spiced but I’m not sure Paul’s opinions on spices can be trusted ever since he called paprika “spicy”.
Dave’s passion fruit is being paired with the more ordinary mango in the form of a curd that his savarin will sit on:

It’s a little weird and superfluous given that he also has a chocolate and honey Chantilly cream and then soaking the sponge in Tequila just to add to the slightly nauseating flavour combinations that the judges claimed worked surprisingly well – I think it might have had a fair bit to do with the Tequila numbing every single one of the 5 senses – I’m not sure you could even legally drive after eating Dave’s tequila laced savarins. Beginning to understand how he incapacitates his victims.

While everyone opted for copious amounts of booze in order to bribe their way to the final Peter went for a more Methodist approach and like your gran at a wedding substitutes the alcohol for Elderflower Cordial. He’s also the only one forgoing moulds and just making baking his savarin as one big cake and cutting it into rectangles in order to ensure a uniform size and look – and boy did that work wonders for him:

Sure they look a little bit like Peter has severed Mr. Blobby’s fingers but at least they all look the same and it got him a handshake!

The Savarin Score Board:

  1. Peter’s Mr. Blobby Army
  2. Dave’s Tequila Cross-eyes
  3. Laura’s Tropicana Baba
  4. Hermine’s Rum Briber

I did very much enjoy Peter and Hermine eating some consolation raspberries together:

The Overflødighedshorn or Danish Cornucopia

In an ever increasingly insane attempt at jumping the shark this week’s Technical Challenge was picked by scrolling down the Wikipedia List of Baked Goods and selecting one at random, thus the (Classic?) Danish Cornucopia was brought forth:

Somehow it manages to look both like an ancient Viking artifact that could resurrect the souls of dead warriors and a bug type Pokemon – which are 2 things I’m very fond of!
Because it’s the semi-finals (and the producers binge-watched Nailed It! during Lockdown 1: The Lockening) the instructions are very vague, and I shall quote Paul Hollywood verbatim:

Once you’ve actually made the dough you have to divide it up and then they’ve got to shape it. Shape it into a round – a bit like a cigar – and just taper the ends so they bind together. When you do the cigar shape, you encourage a little bit of a slope, so as you piece them together, the slope begins to curve, and that’s how you get the desired shape.

Paul Hollywood, Baking Sadist (17/11/2020)

It is no wonder Laura read the instructions and had a meltdown like a 16 year old who skipped breakfast the morning of their GCSE Maths exam

Don’t try and do algebra when you’re Hangry kids. Only adding to Laura’s horror of an afternoon is the fact she forgot to turn the oven on and just whacks it up to 250 to get it to temperature quick enough.

The recipe mystifies most of the bakers because it uses ground almonds in place of flour, which Dave very quickly clocks as an amoretti recipe putting him at a slight advantage – this advantage is quickly closed the moment he puts his horn together and stick the mouthpiece of the horn to the base making it look like a Sandworm from Dune

It’s certainly a better visual innuendo than the producer prodding Paul to offer Prue a piece of his horn – just let the innuendo be organic – all it takes is a phallic biscuit structure.
Dave isn’t the only one struggling to get to grips with his presentation as Laura’s Chocolate Sauce Woes are just beginning:

To be fair the tent was like 32 degrees – aint nobody making chocolate scrolls in that heat. It’s also interesting to note how little this show cares anymore because everyone melted their chocolate by microwaving it – that would not have flown with Mary Berry – you bain marie it or you die!
But because Laura also forgot to put the oven on her biscuits (unsurprisingly) don’t bake and she’s basically just sticking together marzipan into a shape that resembles less of a cornucopia and more of a Weedle that’s been severely pulverized by its opponent

Paul used Bad Instructions. It’s Super Effective!
It also didn’t help that Ol’ Butterfingers Laura once again dropped her bake – I’m so curious to know how many phone screens she has cracked in her lifetime because I imagine she’s got a loyalty card with Apple.

Hermine and Peter have arguably more successful times constructing their cornucopias, Hermine’s being the one that looks the most like Paul’s

It’s a pity it’s overbaked – but so was everyone’s except Laura’s. But despite a lack of a horn-shape it’s Peter who wins by virtue of having 1 perfectly baked biscuit segment!

Scoring The Horn:

  1. Peter’s Tube of Plenty
  2. Hermine’s Continued War Against The Anglo-Saxons
  3. Dave’s Danish Phallus
  4. The Danish I-can’t-cope-ia

Cube Cake, The Cake of Cubes

With Peter racing ahead with the Star Baker crown and Dave brandishing a scalpel it was obviously Hermine and Laura going all fisticuffs for the 3rd place in the final – and with it being a delicate patisserie challenge it was looking like the odds were stacked in Hermine’s favour…

The challenge was to make a large cube cake made out of at least 25 smaller cube cakes – which is literally the plot of Zach Snyder’s Justice League: The Reboot, The Movie, The Series, The Subscription Based Magazine and Treasure Hunt.

Having played it safe in the first round with a relatively simple Savarin, Peter was pulling out all the stops to create a Chocolate, Raspberry and Pistachio Cube Cake – requiring him to make 3 sponges, 3 glazes and 3 mousses – and given the fact he pulls all of this off to an incredible final result:

it does make Hermine and Laura failing to even make a single glaze, sponge and mousse rather embarrassing… And I didn’t know if it was going to go too well for Peter as he was only using 2 leaves of gelatine per mousse and all I could think about was Dave making a cheesecake with 35 leaves of gelatine in it – because he had to dispose of the body somehow.
The thing most going in Peter’s favour was his decision to once again not bother with a mould and merely cut a larger sheet cake into the desired cubes meaning he didn’t have to battle and dismember a silicon mat to get his cubes.

Dave also had a great round, pulling off a very successful tower of 3 different chocolate cakes

It does look a little bit like your aunt hosting an afternoon tea and trying to make the Mr. Kipling cakes she bought seem fancier than they are but purely the fact his tower of chocolate is standing in the midst of a heatwave was cause to celebrate – especially as he was the only one to opt for an entirely edible support system. And at several stages it wasn’t looking too good for him – he didn’t separate his cream for his caramel centre and glaze, his caramel crystallised on him again and he had a real issue getting his cakes out of the moulds and in the end had to slice them out of their silicon prisons

proving that he is maybe a little too nifty with a scalpel, He’s getting more and more Dexter by the minute.
But his final cakes were so good there was an ever so slight possibility of him being made Star Baker and then of course Peter came along and Dave looked like this throughout Paul and Prue heaping praise upon him

Someone get the mask and the restraints before Dave wears Peter’s skin.

And then over to the other end of The Success Spectrum where things were looking bad for Hermine because apparently she only wrote up the recipe for her cakes the previous morning – I imagine after a sleepless night she was writing it on a napkin using jam for ink while Dave stood at the buffet cart surreptitiously stuffing passion fruits into his pockets and whistling a jaunty tune. Laura was sat at the table opposite having a chocolatey ‘Nam style flashback as she watched Peter spreading Nutella on his toast. I’ve painted quite the picture here – you’re welcome.

Hermine herself realised this was a doomed endeavour and turned to the Kirsch and threatening to burn the tent to the ground if she didn’t get to the final

I for one welcome our new tyrannical leader, Hermine.

It very quickly became less of a race for third between Hermine and Laura and more of a race to the bottom – Hermine’s cake tower didn’t look very appetising in the end and looked more like a Soviet brutalist building in desperate need of demolition

And then her what-we’re-going-to-generously-call-mirror-glaze seeped into her coffee jaconde sponge and I believe she may have created primordial life anew

Imagine if we’re all just the result of the universe trying to bake an elaborate cake structure and getting it very wrong. Who knew Bake Off would bring us to an existential crisis.? You can’t spell “existential” with “tent”.

While we’re talking about existential crises: Laura! Looking to the classics for inspiration Laura was making her cake based on the flavours of a Black Forest Gateau:

Unfortunately for Laura this meant working with a lot of chocolate – and her brand at this point is mostly just Chocolate Sauce Disasters and when it came time to pour her mirror glaze over her mini cube cakes – it was no different, resulting in a fiasco not dissimilar to The Great Molasses Flood of Boston (an actual real event, btw)

Shout out to the poor runners who had to clean up that mess. The thing with Laura is that even though her stuff frequently looks like some sort of medical mystery

her flavours are amongst the most consistently successful and her Black Forest Cake Cubes were no different, so despite glowering at her cake tower like a Victorian matriarch glaring at her son for disgracing the family by being caught in a compromising position with the chambermaid

it probably did put her up a step higher than Hermine whose cubes were a visual nightmare and a gustatory cacophony.

A Cube Cake Catalogue:

  1. Peter’s Melange á Trois
  2. Dave’s Fancy Fondant Fancies
  3. Laura’s Black Forest Fire
  4. Hermine’s Soviet Government Building

As was prophesised by The Handshake he received Peter wins Star Baker – putting him in the strongest position to win the show. And everyone was gearing themselves up for a Laura elimination AND THEN in a twist worthy of early M. Night Shyamalan, it’s Hermine who is ousted from the tent! It’s just a pity that for Hermine her weakest week came after her 2 most successful.

While we’re here, Laura is having a rough time of it on social media, so go leave her a nice comment on Twitter or Instagram – she’s not the enemy here – that would be Paul and Prue so go be mean to them. And tell them I sent you,

I want them to know.


I think we can deduce from this facial expression that Laura is not going to win.

2 thoughts on “Bake Off 2020 – Patisserie Week: Baking Sadist

  1. jillsleight

    Sad to see lovely Hermine go. The cube cake … is that a thing? Is that a trend I’ve missed? The choices for the showstoppers this year are baffling to say the least. Although it was the only showstopper where I immediately knew what I would do: a cake Lament Configuration from Hellraiser.

    1. Ariadne Griffin

      I was confused about the showstopper too – it feels like an off-shoot of the trend of having a tower of cupcakes instead of a tiered cake at your wedding from a few years ago, but Paul has an aversion to cupcakes so they made them cubed cakes instead.

      I’m honestly shocked Peter didn’t just make a Rubik’s Cube, it’s what I would have *attempted*

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