What Ruby Baked: semi finals
It’s French week and Ruby bakes a brain to make it into the final…
Welcome to the eighth instalment of ‘What Ruby Baked’, in which we follow UCL’s very own Nigella in her pursuit to be crowned ‘Amateur Baker of the Year’.
The Semi Finals have arrived. Only one hurdle remains between our bakers and the much coveted title of Amateur Baker and Breakfast Show Guest. Our four ladybakers will soon be reduced to three, like Destiny’s Child after the Writings on the Wall album. They must bake like they have never baked before.
It’s not been the best week for our Ruby. Despite Paul’s candid declarations to the Daily Fail that Ruby is ‘not his type’ and Kimberly is ‘far prettier’, things have been getting a bit mental on twitter with many tweetees calling foul. Well, as mental as trolls spouting 140 characters of virtual vitriol can get. Never mind them, Rubes. Haters gonna hate, and bakers gonna bake.
This week was dubbed ‘French week’ by our sassy sidekicks Sue and Mel, who took any opportunity to speak le francais throughout. It was a bit of a half arsed attempt though, as that seemed to be the only French thing about it. They could have at least included striking and smoking and put Paul in some Sarkozy-esque Cuban heels.
First up, it’s time for a smorgasbord of canapés, which are essentially normal food but smaller and less satisfying. In an attempt to fill the ‘tantalisingly tasty and visually enticing’ brief, our gal went for beetroot jelly on poppy seed biscuits, spinach, parmesan and egg tartlets, and choux buns with goat’s cheese and caramelised onions.
The judges dubbed them average to poor, with not enough seasoning and un-poached eggs, although Mary called her a ‘clever girl’ and Paul tried a few smouldering looks and proclaimed them an ‘attractive collection’ over all.
At this point, I started to get really distracted by Paul’s hair. He has taken the whole silver fox thing to such an extreme level that it doesn’t even look like hair anymore. I doubt it even moves in the wind. It’s as if his spiky personality has finally begun to poke out of his head in the form of shiny silver nails, or he sellotaped a magnet to his head and ran riot in B&Q.
Moving on, the second, technical task was to create a Charlotte Royale.
This hideous, cryogenically frozen Swiss Roll and mousse combination looked bad at the best of times, but Ruby’s really took the biscuit. The jam was oozing all over the place, brain mass mousse poking through and then she forgot to line the bowl. Rubes was clearly having a bit of a ‘mare at this point.
Her wide eyes and suppressed sniffles suggested she was debating whether sticking her head in the microwave or the oven would be quicker.
Meanwhile, Kimbo was smiling away, delicately arranging her slices of brain like a neurosurgeon. In an unsurprising result, Kimbo came first while Ruby languished in last place with her mental mess.
Finally, it was time for the showstopper. What French-themed challenge would Paul and Mary inflict upon our semi-finalists? An edible reconstruction of Gavroche on the ramparts? A lifesized cake depicting Marie Antoinette under the guillotine, eating her cake? Perhaps even a many tiered ‘Collaborator’ cake, moistened with raspberry ‘blood of Shylock’ coulis?
Alas, it was not nearly as inventive as that. In a relatively plebeian challenge, the bakers were instructed to make an Opera-style layer cake (Daniel Craig and faces getting smashed in freezers optional).
Once more, it all went a bit tits up for Tandoh. It seemed to be going alright, she had some nice flavour combinations going on with Almond Praline and Saffron (‘risky’, according to Paul), but somehow she ended up with this sad, melting Opera with extreme structural problems in the corners. However, her saving grace was the delicious taste, which allowed Paul and Mary to overlook her aesthetic mishaps.
In a shocking finale, Welsh ladybaker Beca was sent back to the valleys after a poorly received Banoffee Opera cake. She fought the good fight, but it was not quite enough to pip our Rubes to the post. Lots of tears flowed, Rubes looked paralysed with shock, and the four became three. Who will emerge as the Beyonce of this trio? Only time (six days and counting) will tell.