The nation’s most famous tent was pitched in the grounds of Welford Park once again. Presenters Noel Fielding and Matt Lucas returned to lead the latest batch of bakers through brand new challenges set by Judges Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith.
In Tuesday night’s episode of The Great British Bake Off on Channel 4, Sandro was named Star Baker and Carole 59 from Dorset left the tent.
It was half way through this year’s series of The Great British Bake Off and time for Dessert week.
The bakers got all steamed up in the signature, tackled a classic lemon meringue pie in the technical and in the showstopper were tasked with creating a sponge cake with a surprise inside.
At the end of the fifth episode Matt announced that Sandro was the Star Baker. Noel followed with the hardest job of announcing that Carole would be leaving the tent.
On the show Carole said: ‘That’s all right it’s my time to go. I am very proud of myself I came here to achieve something as I get older. Even to get through and walk through the tent that is an achievement in itself. And those bakers – what a great bunch of people!’
Carole talks here about leaving the show: ‘Well my big pants didn’t help me on Dessert Week did they? I call them Apple Catchers because historically you could use them to harvest the autumn apples as they were big enough. Also my accent has been picked up by a few people, so when I said I really need to pick me socks up now on the show it sounded a stronger Somerset accent than I thought I had. I am 100% born and bred Somerset, and I don’t think I will ever lose it now!
‘I always felt each week was going to be my last, but I knew on Dessert Week my time was up. I didn’t dream in a million years that I would get to the half way mark, so in my mind it’s a celebration rather than a downer. I always like to look on the bright side, it’s in my nature, and you have to remind yourself it’s only pudding rather than just desserts!
‘Working on the tills at work I have been recognised a lot, I think my pink hair is a bit of a giveaway. Everyone has been so friendly and complimentary, and they always want to talk about the show. Although I feel it makes their shopping trip a bit longer than usual…
‘My love of gardening has given me the name Compost Carole, and I think I have become a bit more well known outside of Dorset now and it’s been such a great experience. I have enjoyed being recognised and asked for selfies, not something I ever thought would happen to me.
‘I hope I will be remembered for my old fashioned bakes and no nonsense approach to baking. I am known to be able to land a joke so I wasn’t too disheartened when I heard I had to leave the tent half way through. Secretly I was quite looking forward to going home and putting me feet up!’
Here Carole talks about her time in the tent:
I really enjoyed the whole filming process , as it was totally different to my real life! I enjoyed meeting new people; it was like being on a working holiday. I really did miss my bed and the Cat! I told my work colleagues I was on Jury service … then I changed it to say I was on the Johnny Depp trial!
My best moment was my Macaroons they actually behaved and cooked (for me) perfectly, and my worst moment was when my mask collapsed, I was devastated!
Followed by my uncooked steamed puddings, that was heart breaking, that was a recipe I loved doing, done it numerous times, never went wrong…curse of the tent!
I am not sure what’s next for me in the baking world, but I would like to make celebration cakes locally. GBBO is one off the bucket list, next I would like to help out in any way designing and building a Chelsea show garden, and after that…am I too old/fat to go on Love Island??
My favourite challenge overall was I think the house cake, I did enjoy doing that one, I was really in my comfort zone.
I will take away from my Bake Off experience that I have made a lot of new friends, who I will stay in contact with, and that I can deal with stress a lot better than I thought I could.
Q&A with Carole:
How much did you practice at home before going into the tent and how did you juggle that with life and work?
I practised nearly every day; I was lucky enough to get unpaid leave from work, I don’t know how I would have coped with all the recipes if I had to work too. It was not just the baking but the researching, sourcing the ingredients and equipment.
How big is your love of baking and how many hours would you bake a week?
I usually bake on a Saturday morning, listening to my husband’s radio show (local community radio) I will bake in the week before I go to work, if there is something that really needs to be done. I bake more in the winter, as my time is split equally in the summer with my other passion gardening.
Did you pack a lucky item for your stay?
My daughter bought me a lucky mug for my tea, I made sure it was on my work bench, whenever possible.
Can you describe the bakers as a group this year, and are you all on a what’sapp group?
I love my little baking family, it was so lovely how we bonded so quickly, our ages from 18 to 60, I was mum to the group, giving hugs and sympathy when needed, words of encouragement and generally being here for everyone. And yes, we are regularly in contact on a WhatsApp group.
How nervous were you when Paul and Prue started judging the first signature challenge and how did it feel when they judged the technical challenge?
The first signature, my heart was thumping! I was so nervous instead of fondant bees, I said fondant bems! In the technical it was not so bad, as we were all together.
Is Paul Hollywood scary in real life and how did you cope with the blue-eyed stare?
Paul is really not so bad at all.
Having watched Bake Off in the past, was the first day in the tent what you expected?
Kind of, I`ve watched nearly every episode, so was very familiar with the surroundings and the format.
If you could travel back in time what year/decade would you like to go back to and why?
I would like to go back to WW2, with the rationing, to see what you could bake, with what you had, a lot of experimentation with ingredients.
What was it like having the team clean-up for you after all your bakes. Did you feel guilty if you made a mess?
It was so nice, but I did feel guilty, I tried to be as clean as I could.
Who is your baking inspiration and what age did you start baking?
I have not got any inspirations, but I started baking 12 years ago, when I had a go at making my first Grandaughter’s 1st birthday cake, and never looked back.
The Bake Off family is a very exclusive club, how do you feel now being a new member?
I feel very humbled, honoured and privileged,
The warmth and love you get in the Tent is a very special feeling, what is the nicest thing in baking you have done for anyone/or given them?
I was asked at the beginning of the year to decorate a cake for a 90th birthday for an officer who was in the Royal marines. I did the Royal Marine coat of arms, when he saw it at his party he cried, his wife sent me a lovely letter, and I cried!
What is the cake you get asked to make the most for friends and family?
It’s got to be lemon drizzle all the way, I am a dab hand at them now, making multiple lemon cakes at one time and keeping them in the freezer, the family always request a lemon drizzle for their birthdays.
If you were a cake topper, what would you be and why?
Maybe candy floss, resembles my hair!!
On Bake Off Island you are allowed to take one utensil – what would it be?
A wooden spoon, can use it for a lot of things.
In three words how would you describe yourself?
Fun, friendly and huggable!
And how would your friends describe you?
Outgoing, honest and reliable.
Are there any spices or flavours that you really dislike? and why…
Really hot chilli. I like to taste food, and strong chilli just masks the flavours (and it burns my mouth)
When baking in the kitchen at home what music do you have on in the background, or is it just the hum of the fridge?
I only listen to my husband’s radio programme, any other time, I have the door open and listen to the countryside.
Does it all seem a bit surreal that you have joined The Great British Bake Off family?
It does seem a bit surreal, I don’t feel it will hit home until I actually see it on the TV, things like this don’t happen to me!
Do you think work colleagues and friends will be shocked to see you on TV?
I think they will be most shocked and surprised, a couple have said I should try for GBBO, now I have.
What do you think it will be like watching yourself on television. Are you looking forward to it or terrified?
I am terrified at watching myself, I will be most critical of myself, and how I come across on screen, but I am looking forward to watching the other bakers, because when you are in the zone baking, you don’t know what the others are up too!