A foul fate befalls the past hosts of Bake Off.
Get ready for some premature spookiness!
The Apple Doesn’t Fall Too Far From The Creep
In a first for the show, we’re having a Halloween Week, which I didn’t think was a first at all but then I realised I was just remembering Helena making things like this every week regardless of what the actual theme was
and because it was Halloween Week, the bakers had all got a little dressed up – Syabira definitely being the most prepared and armed with a weapons grade eyeliner
and said eyeliner got used to help Janusz with his Noel Fielding costume, imaginably because Love Productions had nixed the idea of him running around the tent dressed as a pregnant nun – we’re on thin ice with Mexico, we can’t make enemies of the Catholics too
and he should honestly go with the eyeliner look more often, he looks very handsome!
Also rocking the eyeliner was Sandro as a Sexy Tower Raven
Maxy was dressed as the slow creeping horror of the aging process
Dawn hadn’t brought anything in and so was wearing the headband they weren’t allowed to use in Mexican Week because Matt and Noel opted for the sombreros
Abdul continues to be adorably obsessed with space
and a jack-o’-lantern Hawaiian shirt was as far as Kevin was willing to push things, sadly not opting to recreate the Hickory Dickory Dock costume from his childhood
he could have always gone for the unsinful crustacean option
how could Paul have resisted trying to shake the claw of a lobster?
For the very first challenge of Halloween Week, the bakers were tasked with making an apple cake, with the emphasis being that the Hero Flavour (Paul’s new favourite phrase after “no hablar Espanol”) had to be FRESH APPLE, they would not be suffering at the hands of apple essence this week!
As it was Halloween Week, Sandro decided he was going to go down the spooky route and top his cake with a sugar skull, which Prue had some phrenological concerns about
she was weirdly just anti-skull for some reason, especially give how impressive it actually was in the end
and it’s no mean feat to pull off when you’ve got a broken wing and you can only fly around in circles
perhaps she was just having flashbacks to the moment she discovered her manor house was built upon an ancient burial site when she began to expand the wine cellar, and you know exorcists aren’t cheap!
The skull wasn’t the only drawback (all the boys say that to me) as his apple flavour wasn’t quite coming through, possibly because he’d over spiced it, but also possibly because he’d porcupined it with whatever whiskey Kevin had left after trying to bribe his way out of some subpar clootie dumplings last week.
The only other baker to go with anything marginally spooky was Syabira who had painted a witch’s face onto her cake using Homer Simpson’s makeup gun
Janusz better thank his lucky stars that his eyeliner ended up so good.
Despite the fact the witch looked like me trying to do eyeliner, Prue came out swinging to defend its creepiness
What’s Sandro’s skull? Chopped spooky liver?
Landing on the right side of the unpredictable swinging pendulum of Halloween acceptability was a good start for Syabira but with last week’s flavours not going down too well,she was risking quite a bit on her sour plum and chilli combination and how well it would play in a challenge about making apple the hero flavour – safe to say it went pretty well
Abdul was also going for a seasonal aesthetic with his cake designed to look like a bonfire, not quite going to the point of crafting a tiny little chocolate figure to place in the fire because he is after all dressed in an astronaut onesie that I’m pretty confident in saying he did not have to buy specifically for this episode
it’s really cute, and the judges were pretty happy with the overall appliness and moisture of it!
The other bakers all went with very, fairly straightforward elegant cakes – Janusz’s was just a few dots of black fondant away from looking like the ghost of Nick Carter
he’d gone for a Spiced Apple Cake with the overall flavour profile falling a little too much on the spiced side than the apple side, but it was, as ever, an extremely elegant looking cake, perhaps only beaten in the style stakes by the neatness of Maxy’s Apple and Caramel Cake
and with her managing to find the perfect balance between the sharpness of her apples and the sweetness of the caramel, she also received a handshake
so while she and Syabira celebrated, Janusz could only look on as his iron grip on the Star Baker titles slowly weakened
they’ll pay next week – Custard Week? More like MASSACRE WEEK!
Kevin and Dawn didn’t fair quite so well in the tent, with the former just piling toffee apples onto the top of her cake so that she could blame something else for making it sink in the middle
because I’m not sure how much the toffee apples were at fault in this situation
and unfortunately in her attempt to frame the toffee apples for her own crimes she had overpowered the cake and the fresh apple flavour was a little lost.
Kevin was also having a few structural issues with his cake not managing to cool in time before he had to start icing and decorating it so what he ended up with was a sort of free-standing trifle
“free-standing” being a little generous because given a few more minutes, the only way you’re going to be able to contain that very drippy cake is with an overly ornate cut glass bowl.
The stability of the cake may have been questionable but both Paul and Prue were very complimentary of how it tasted, so hopefully that at least marginally eases Kevin’s stress headache
I’ve never seen anyone in a novelty Hawaiian shirt look so stressed before, it’s a very oxymoronic aesthetic.
An Unofficial Apple Cake Ranking
1. Maxy’s Elegant Halloween
2. Syabira’s Firing On All Makeup Gun Cylinders
3. Abdul’s Cosy Campfire Cake
4. Janusz’s Ghost of Boybands Past
5. Sandro’s Ancient Burial Cake
6. Dawn’s Sunken Apple Fallacy
7. Kevin’s Free-standing Trifle
Please Sir, I Want S’more
Apparently not happy with the bastardisation of Tacos, Paul continues to wage war on the food of the Americas with this week’s Technical Challenge being S’mores, but not regular good old campfire S’mores, these are the sort of S’mores you’d see on MasterChef made by someone who also tried to reinvent a cheese burger as some sort of bruschetta
part of the joy of S’more is the risk of toasting them over an open flame and then seeing just how severely you can burn the roof of your mouth with the molten chocolate and marshmallow combination. A handheld blowtorch is simply too tame.
And the bakers were going to have to make every component themselves – the very thought of homemade digestives being nonsense but they had to qualify this as a baking challenge somehow! But with the biscuits being pretty basic and everyone knowing what sort of dough texture to look for, that was the least of their concerns with a fair few bakers having never made marshmallow before – Janusz naturally had and therefore narrated the recipe while the show cut to both Maxy and Abdul doing the exact opposite, their worst offense being forgetting to add the gelatine which needed to be dissolved but Maxy wasted no time and just chucked a handful of slightly dampened gelatine into her mixture which didn’t have nearly as disastrous an effect as I had anticipated and her marshmallow had actually set
meanwhile Abdul was desperately trying to coax his unset and extremely heat-sensitive marshmallow back into its S’mores form like Team Rocket trying to make Ditto turn into a Dratini
sadly to no avail as the camera panned up from his sweet smiling face to reveal The Berkshire Marshmallow Massacre
but while his marshmallows could only be described as “amorphous”, his biscuits were actually very good and I’d argue his S’mores were the closest to the good old fireside mess, but they didn’t want mess under any circumstances as Sandro found himself dinged for having some chocolate dripping down the side of his marshmallow
and while Kevin and Dawn filled out the middle of the table with perfectly fine S’mores, it was Janusz and Syabira who were battling it out for the top spot with Syabira’s arcane worshipping of the Oven Gods apparently coming in handy and taking the top spot
I do enjoy how the Halloween garb made a lot of the time spent staring into the dark reflective surfaces of the oven look that little bit more occult.
An Official S’mores Ranking
1. Syabira Arcane S’mores
2. Janusz Doing S’more Narration Work
3. Kevin’s Saving Grace
4. Sandro’s Drips
5. Dawn’s Low-def Digestives
6. Maxy’s Panicked Gelatine
7. The Berkshire Marshmallow Massacre
For their Halloween Showstopper the bakers had to make hanging lanterns filled with at least 2 different treats – and they had to call them “hanging lanterns” because they couldn’t say “pinatas” lest we get confused with Mexican Week and if there’s one thing this show loves more than an innuendo delivered directly down the barrel of the camera, it’s challenging people to make ridiculous things out of biscuits, although Sandro was forgoing the biscuit entirely and was continuing on his foray to make skulls happen and creating a disco ball out of skulls
and despite it being made out of about 50 skulls, it still wasn’t quite big enough to fit all of his 3 different kinds of biscuits inside it
but even having cut some of them in half to fit them inside it, Paul was still losing a fight to half a very thick florentine
at least 1 of Sandro’s 2 daily gym sessions is training his jaw strength which is why he has the bite force quotient of a jaguar.
And it didn’t stop there with Sandro’s “hint of chilli” being a very sloppily measured out teaspoon of cayenne pepper
thus rendering Paul and Prue’s taste buds null and void for the rest of the judging
so you know, Janusz can probably take a little bit of solace that the lack of cricket flavour and pumpkin spice in his truffles was at least partially the fault of Sandro
but the flavours aside, Janusz’s hanging lantern in the shape of a popcorn box was perfectly made
I really like Janusz sense of humour when it comes to his bakes and the fact the quality of the finish of them doesn’t suffer because of it, and for no reason in particular Kevin is next because he was making a spider entirely so that he could make his “Arachna-FOMO” joke as he never got to dress up as anything scary when he was a child, but did get to dress up as a clock, which Stranger Things has since made second scariest pieces of furniture (the scariest obviously being a rocking chair)
so young Kevin can feel vindicated as he was simply ahead of the curve with his Hickory Dickory Dock costume. Time will only tell if Netflix ever does a gritty biopic about Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec for his friend
and so with an entire childhood of pent-up spooky RAGE inside of him, he set about bringing this Bigcy Bulkcy Spider into existence
and like Echidna looking upon the birth of Cerberus, he felt both relief and revulsion at the monster he had created
as did Prue who, like Hercules before her, relished the opportunity to destroy the creation once and for all
and the green of his macarons really only added to the “spider that I reflexively killed with the TV magazine” look of the obliterated spider’s carcass
and for the most part they really like the flavours of everything, however the peanut sweets receive a little derision for, and I quote what might be one of the only genuine innuendos of the series, “they had their nuts hanging out” and I very much enjoyed how much Kevin enjoyed Paul saying it
that one’s going straight into Kevin’s stand-up set.
Syabira was also opting to make her hanging lantern into a spider, hers ending up neater than Kevin’s but looking just as much like something that Jason and the Argonauts might have had to face in their quest for the golden fleece
the biscuits inside of her lantern were a little hit and miss – the judges liked the peanut finger biscuits she had made a little bit too viscerally
but they had issues with her use of white truffle in her other ones with Prue getting one hell of a trick when she bit into them
it is nice to see someone taking big swings on flavours though, there was a fair bit of chilli & chocolate and pumpkin spice going on.
Only two of the bakers went for very straightforward lanterns, Maxy’s probably being the simpler of the two and while it does look quite messy it does also look like the sort of lantern that a Victorian ghost who died in an arson fire that they started would carry
it is probably the messiest bake that Maxy made and I got the feeling she wasn’t entirely keen on the challenge – I for one will join her in the revolution against making anything other than quaint houses out of biscuits.
Of the treats inside her lantern, the ghoulish gonads were to big and too dense for Prue’s sensitive eyes and mouth
but they really liked her pumpkin spice macarons, and the editors were feeling particularly shady and cut to Janusz just as they began praising her for them
*Drag Race’s rattlesnake noise*
Abdul’s lantern was a lot more complex and verifiably Halloween-y
it almost seemed a shame it break it up, although apparently Prue didn’t think so
she was thinking of Sandro’s sugar skull.
For the treats inside his lantern he had gone quite bold with his flavour choices risking it on Matcha and White Chocolate Brandysnap Fingers and some Rose Water Date Eyeballs, which both certainly looked the part
the latter didn’t go down so well, but they did like the balance between the white chocolate and matcha.
Lastly we have Dawn who was creating a hanging cat
she had the most construction issues out of anyone, because as much as Kevin’s spider looked like it was begging for the sweet release of death, Dawn was trying to make a whole cat head out of four fifths of a cat head
and in order to distract the judges from the haphazardly held together cranium, she had decorated the cat to look like Guy Fieri
although it turned out it wasn’t that haphazardly held together because the whole thing was rock solid and I’m 90% sure Prue lost at least one tooth trying to eat the biscuit.
Unfortunately because gluing the cat’s head together like she was Noel Fitzpatrick had taken so long, she hadn’t been able to dedicate enough time to her internal treats which were deemed a little too basic for this point in the competition
however top marks for the sheer creepiness of those cat eye jellies, I don’t think she got enough praise for how well they turned out even if the flavour was lacking.
An Unofficial Hanging Lantern Ranking
1. Syabira’s Don Chaffey Spider
2. Abdul’s Jack-o’-Lantern
3. Janusz’s Movie Night
4. Sandro’s Studio Fifty BOO!
5. Kevin’s Pent Up Spookiness
6. Maxy’s Ghostly Pinterest Wedding Lantern
7. Dawn’s Feline Emergency
With Maxy and Syabira both getting handshakes in the Signature Challenge they were definitely the ones to watch and with Maxy struggling in the next two challenges and Syabira keeping up her pace, it was a very deserved first Star Baker title for Syabira
and on the other end of the spectrum it was Kevin and Dawn who were looking in trouble but at least Kevin had some slightly more ambitious bakes and successful flavours under his belt so it was Dawn who was eliminated
at least she hung around long enough for Noel to make his Dawn of the Dead joke.
And so, we only have half of our bakers left