And on to the showstopper, in which the contestants must create a fabulous item of a defined type in five hours. In last year’s final the showstopper was wedding cakes, which was a good challenge but didn’t leave too much room for the bonkers element which is such an important part of Bake Off. This year the judges rectified that big-style by requiring the contestants to create a pièce montéé. This is French, and roughly translates as F*cking Amazeballs Cake.
According to the judges, it is a decorative sculptural cake for a special occasion which can depict pretty much anything but should contain several kinds of cake, including at least two I’d never heard of. How I missed Jordan at this point, who would probably have created a pièce montéé depicting Luke Skywalker’s destruction of the Death Star, or King Kong on the skyscraper complete with tiny macaroon planes. With the whole world to choose from, Nancy and Richard both picked windmills. What are the chances?!? Richard’s was based on Mill Hill, the part of London where he lives, whilst Nancy was creating the famous windmill of Paris, the Moulin Rouge. She described it as “dark and dangerous”, my favourite flavour of cake.
Louis was also building a representation of his home town, Poynton, with a mill wheel made out of biscuit, doubtless to represent the frailty of the miners in the face of Thatcher’s vindictiveness and a chain of choux buns to represent the fragility of the chains which bound a once proud traditional industry to the nation it had supported for centuries. I do beg your pardon, my eighties credentials are showing. In fact in Poynton the mines closed in the thirties and the remaining wheels are merely decorative, probably a good thing for Louis, who being on the cuddly side would struggle to fit down a mine.