GBBO: the Bake Off winner has been crowned, here’s what I learnt from the final

After nine weeks of baking challenges who was crowned star baker for the final time in the tent? Warning: week ten spoilers ahead. 

What a ride we’ve had getting here: nine weeks of tears, meltdowns, melting cakes, a new boy (in the shape of Matt Lucas) smutty jokes and those celebrity cake busts. And tonight we saw the Bake Off winner crowned. 

Whatever your thoughts on the three finalists – and Laura endured a tough time over the last week from online trolls after escaping elimination over Hermine in the semi-finals – this is the hand Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith have dealt us, so shake it with warmth (and plenty of hand sanitiser).   

While I missed the usual visits back to the finalists’ homes, to hear some stirring words about how proud partners/families are (thanks again, Covid) of their baking protegee, I still learnt a few things from tonight’s final. 

When it all goes wrong chuck your head in the freezer

It’s not the first time we’ve seen Laura’s skull take refuge in the freezer when her baking went wrong. She is a woman quite frequently on the brink of disaster, as illustrated on Twitter during the fatal ice-cream cake week when her and Lottie’s sweaty despair was described as ‘the most 2020 image I’ve seen so far.” And back it went in again after her custard slices melted. At this point, I’m willing to follow suit if only to offer me something new to look at.

Noel gave a sad Laura some sweet advice, telling her how Bjorn Borg was a good tennis champion because he could forget anything; the next point was all he’d think about. Which is worthy counsel but not as good as the idea I have for the Bake Off producers: stop trying to make people temper chocolate in 35 degrees while in a heat-conducting canvas vessel. 

 Slow and steady really does win the race…

As Paul said this was as close to a Bake Off draw as he’d ever seen – Laura was out of the running after her disastrous custard slices and less disastrous walnut whips “I think I was the worst of a good bunch this time. I’m not going to cry over it,” she mused wisely.

Peter and Dave were two of the most understated bakers throughout the competition, but are proof that if you get your head down, try really hard and re-do things when you get them wrong you can fulfill your dreams.  It’s not the most showstopping of ways to win something, but maybe in 2020 that’s the world we we’re all living in. 

Embrace uplifting quotes 

“And when it rains on your parade, look up rather than down. Without the rain, there would be no rainbow.”

 This quote, by Robert Chesterton, was the basis of Laura’s showstopper this week. And while her dessert tower reflecting her Bake Off experience only won her a bunch of flowers it proved that keeping your head up – and out the freezer where possible -goes a long way. She didn’t give up in the final round, and stopped caring what anyone else thought which was the fun we needed:  “I really don’t mind what happens I just want to do myself proud,” she said. Like always she also saved herself by creating the tastiest and most heartfelt things in the tent. 

In the end the grand prize went to Peter, the youngest winner the show has ever had. “I wanted this a lot. When I was 12 and watching the show it got me into baking,” said a thrilled Peter. “I’m a Bake Off nerd. I think 12 year old Peter would be in awe. I am that excited, giddy kid.”

While this year’s final wasn’t as diverse as I might have hoped, or quite as nail-biting as in previous years, I must thank the show and all its bakes for soothing me over these last ten weeks, at a time when my soul really needed it.

And as the final credit said ’The Bake Off is dedicated to everyone help us get through 2020. Thank you.’ 

The Great British Bake Off is on All4 

Images: Channel 4 

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