The Great British Bake Off 2021: episode eight – as it happened

Last modified: 09: 20 PM GMT+0

It was free-from week, meaning bakes that were gluten-free, meat-free and dairy-free. Whose vegan sausage rolls rivalled Greggs – and who was freed from the tent?

The last ten minutes of Bake Off summed up perfectly.

Oh NOOOOOOOOOO! Not Lizzie. That’s it. I’m never watching Bake Off again. Never. Not until next week. And maybe Extra Slice on Friday.

Thanks for reading everyone! What a lovely lot you are.

BRB taking Michael to court for tweeting our WhatsApp messages.

enabler x

— michael chakraverty (@mschakraverty) November 9, 2021

Next week is Patisserie Week, promising lots of multi-layered terror for the bakers and an alarming shot of Jürgen with blood-soaked hands (it could be cherry juice, I suppose). It’s also our penultimate Tuesday together! I’ll bring tissues. Take care you lovely lot x

Such an emotional goodbye for our lovely Lizzie. She was clearly so loved by everybody. We’ll really miss her as we get down into the nitty-gritty.

NO! I don’t believe it. I don’t support it. We’ll see you back for the semi-finals Lizzie. Glad nobody is going home this week. What a great, bold decision by the judges, there.

And we say a fond farewell to …

Lizzie! What a sad, sad day – one of the most original, quirky bakers we’ve seen in the tent in a long time. She had her head screwed firmly on, stayed true to herself and was always up for a laugh. That final showstopper was something to be truly proud of and will have resonated with so many people. We love you, Lizzie!

Star Baker is … Chigs!

A huge well done to Chigs. It was definitely a close call at the top (and the bottom) this week, but he truly deserved the win – and this sets him up as a prime contender for the final! I can only DREAM of his outfit/glasses combo for next week.

OOOOOF. Who is going to go? This is a very tense moment.

Can’t say it’s something I’ve given much thought about before, but I certainly agree.

Again with the unnecessary carrying of cakes.


No idea who is going after that. Perhaps Crystelle? Perhaps Lizzie? If you’re judging from the first two challenges perhaps Jürgen? It’s gonna be a toughie.

It’s unusual to have a week where everyone has been so evenly matched – those who did well in the Signature didn’t do well in the Showstopper, and vice versa. What are our predictions?

Lizzie’s cake is a dream, and the taste holds up too. And if I ever hear the word “finesse” from Paul again I will scream.

Lizzie’s Gluten-Free ‘Extraordinary’ Celebration Cake. #GBBO

— British Bake Off (@BritishBakeOff) November 9, 2021

Jürgen’s looks like a drawing of a perfect cake. 10/10 from me.

Jürgen’s Ultimate Gluten-Free Birthday Celebration Cake. #GBBO

— British Bake Off (@BritishBakeOff) November 9, 2021

Chigs is through to next week. You can all calm down now. And can we remind ourselves that he has only been baking since the start of the pandemic?!

Chigs’ Gluten-Free Red Velvet Celebration Cake. #GBBO

— British Bake Off (@BritishBakeOff) November 9, 2021

Paul’s complaining that he can’t see the sides of Giuseppe’s cake, and says that his pipework “hides a lot”. That was sort of the point, I thought?

Giuseppe’s Gluten-Free Black Forest Celebration Cake. #GBBO

— British Bake Off (@BritishBakeOff) November 9, 2021

Crystelle’s bake does look impressive – though it must be said the second tier was about the size of a thimble so it only just fulfils the brief.

Crystelle’s ‘My Nana’s Cascading Dress’ Gluten-Free Celebration Cake. #GBBO

— British Bake Off (@BritishBakeOff) November 9, 2021

Time for the showstopper judging.

Look out for Giuseppe’s infamous reactions, or Scott throwing hands if someone criticises Lizzie.

I am so proud of Lizzie. That cake looks absolutely stunning. And the sentiment behind it is A+++.

It’s lovely that Crystelle’s made a dress for her gran – but it does look rather Moulin Rouge, doesn’t it?

What an uneventful challenge, but I do love how Giuseppe imitated dropping a mic when he finished his.

“Do you think this counts as finesse?” asks Lizzie, as she puts the finishing touches to the newest resident of Sesame Street.

“Unfortunately I cannot move until that breeze has gone” says Crystelle, channeling me in PE.

I also love Crystelle’s, which she is decorating as a tribute to her grandmother.

I really, really love the concept behind Lizzie’s bake.

And now Lizzie is taking the opportunity to talk about the assumptions people have about ADHD and what it actually consists of: “Some people think you’re going to be crazy and have loads of energy, but lots of the time you have lots of thoughts in your head and you don’t know what to think about.” Icon.

Fun fact: we used to use the famous Bake Off timers to track how much time had elapsed in the tent – we couldn’t wear our watches, which was a real pain.

They’ve been outside the tent and they’ve not even given a timecall. Hopefully the bakers know how much time they actually have.

I must say I’ve been enjoying the presenters’ running “free-from” gags this episode.

Lizzie talking about her special educational needs – in particular her dyslexia and dyspraxia – in such a casual way is such a great thing to see.

As someone who is also dyslexic, it is great to see it represented on television. No dyslexic is the same. We can do what we want to do. We just have our own way of doing it.

Jürgen is having white, milk and dark chocolate in his bake, putting each flavour of chocolate in each tier. Goodness, he doesn’t make it easy for himself.

I withdraw my analysis.

“May I say that Jürgen looks pretty vulnerable right now?”

No, Scott, you may not.

“This is Xantham Gum,” says a flustered Crystelle. “Clearly I know a lot about it – I can’t even pronounce the stinking thing.”

Last year’s winner, Rinky Dink Peter, would have RINSED this challenge!

The showstopper challenge is a gluten-free celebration cake.

And it must have two tiers. Or two tears. Whichever comes first.

Prue threatening to strangle Lizzie because she is not being neat is a decision. I just love her commitment to making bakes that taste great, rather than anything else.

CHIGS WINS! Look how happy he is! I want only good things for this wholesome, lovely dude-man.

the single most adorable human #GBBO

— michael chakraverty (@mschakraverty) November 9, 2021

Never forget this iconic Bake Off quote when a baker’s dough fell on the carpet


5. Crystelle (“too much chilli,” says Paul. No shit). 4. Jürgen (surprising!). 3. Lizzie. 2. Giuseppe. 1. Chigs! Whoever screws up in the Showstopper is pretty much guaranteed to go home. May I say that Jürgen looks pretty vulnerable right now?!

Crystelle is gagging on her own chutney after saying she was “OK with spice”!

Why… why is nobody telling Paul and Prue they just ate Jürgen’s carpet? (Stop it.

Meanwhile Paul gets a mouthful of Crystelle’s nuts and starts to choke.

Chigs biting his lip has surely unleashed torrents of thirst on Twitter.

Time to roll over to the judge’s critiques.

Look, there aren’t many good sausage roll puns.

Still, better than last week when we saw George scooping out cream with his hands.

At least Paul and Prue are out of the tent so wouldn’t have known … until now.

“You didn’t see anything”, he mumbles, before chucking them straight back in the oven and removing them again like nothing happened – forgetting that the producers will NEVER use the second take.


Fun fact I learned about onions the other week: if you stick your tongue out while cutting them, you won’t get teary. The moisture the onions create gets sucked up by your tongue. The side effect, of course, is that you look silly, because you are cutting onions with your tongue out.

*Pokes head back through the door* Why are Crystelle’s sausage rolls square?

MISO AGAIN! That’s it, I’ve had enough. *Storms out*

“I am very confused with lamination” – me on my first day back in the office.

I think they’re avoiding saying Trex, which is a famously good butter substitute for vegan bakers. Surprised they’ve not called it I Can’t Believe It’s Not Not Butter.

What is a vegan block? Is it basically a butter-free butter?

Who accidentally drops their vegan sausage rolls on the floor? Place your bets now!

The technical is eight identical vegan sausage rolls.

Yet another thing you can buy for a pound from the shops. I think we all know how good Greggs are at vegan food – have we all heard of the incoming vegan festive bake?! Very exciting for us herbivores.

Giuseppe with his hands to his face is such a trademark move. It’s the Bake Off equivalent of the pose Huw Edwards does at the start of every BBC News bulletin.

Sounds like Crystelle might come out on top here, unless everyone’s favourite Italian pips her to the post (as he is wont to do, on most occasions).

Apparently his bake needs more mango. I bet everyone BTL disagrees.

Chigs’s look very neat – but are underwhelming.

At this rate Lizzie could make the finals by the taste of her bakes alone, rather than how they look.

At least it wasn’t 43 degrees in the tent, like it has been during every other ice-cream challenge. Let’s just be thankful.

On to the judging ...

I’m not holding out much hope for any of them, if I’m honest.

omg imagine

That whole challenge fell as flat as one of Jürgen’s little green pancakes for me, really. What did we all think BTL?

I am once again coveting Crystelle’s oven gloves.

Lizzie says “who cares what Paul thinks?” after deciding to decorate her bake with glitter, which she knows he hates. I love how trying to own Paul is a feature of the show now.

Dairy = from mammals, so eggs are allowed, apparently

We can always rely on those BTL to help us half-wits up here

Jürgen looks to be behind. A bit concerning as errrr … Jürgen is never behind.

It is as if they are doing this deliberately just to upset you Michael. I’m finding this hilarious.

Miso! Crystelle, I’m not angry, I’m just disappointed.

Of COURSE Jürgen is using honey – like any good Pooh Bear! I’m not sure the texture of his macarons will go well with the ice-cream, but I trust that he knows what he’s doing ...

Matt: “How did the practice for the ice-cream sandwiches go?”
Lizzie: “Well I left the freezer door open, so they all melted.”


MANGO ALERT! Thankfully no miso yet, though I’m not holding my breath as we’re yet to hear what Crystelle’s making.

She’s angrier in my mind, flinging pieces of vegan butter at the telly

Giuseppe’s also candying his own oranges. Here’s something you might not realise: in the tent you aren’t allowed to use pre-made mixed peel (like you might put into hot cross buns or Christmas cakes). You have to candy it yourself, and it takes AGES.

Giuseppe is trying to make a fat-free, dairy-free ice-cream sandwich. Hopefully, it won’t be taste-free, too.

Stop trying to make finesse happen, Paul. It’s not going to happen.

Of course Lizzie has got a dog called Prue. Of course she has.

Are eggs dairy? I thought dairy had to come from cows. Help us, BTL pals, we’re so ignorant!

It is dairy-free! But you can use eggs?

The signature challenge is … eight identical dairy-free ice-cream biscuit sandwiches.

Dairy-free ice-cream is a real challenge, isn’t it? I’m guessing they’re not allowed to make sorbets...

All I know is that with such interesting and lovely quarter-finalists in the tent, it’s going to be hard to watch one of them leave this week.

I like Crystelle’s shoulderpads this week. Lizzie’s gone for a clash of patterns, and Giuseppe has chosen an aggressively loud red shirt.

Crystelle: “Why am I still here?”

Chigs has new glasses on! CHIGS HAS NEW GLASSES ON! He looks like a cross between a cowboy and a 1970s detective.

Halloween was last week, Paul. It is Christmas now.

I don’t know what to do with the image of Paul Hollywood painted green. Why didn’t they do his hands? Who tore his shirt? Why am I crying?

I’m taking this brief opportunity to think about how this episode would have been Freya’s time to shine.

Let’s not forget this week’s bingo:

  • Someone using tofu instead of milk
  • Gluten-free bakes crumbling like the baker’s dreams
  • Giuseppe grasping his face in horror
  • Prue wearing Tom Fletcher’s matador outfit from Strictly
  • Everybody’s least favourite word: “finesse”
  • Tiers, and tears.

Our Forbidden Ingredient this week is miso. I know I said miso caramel sounds delicious a few weeks ago, and that remains true, but I feel like miso has been overused recently, and frankly I’ve had enough. So there.

The Crystelle domegate resulted in a new feature for this liveblog I’m calling ‘A Picture Says A Thousand Words’

Oh and before the episode gets going, here is a recap of last week’s episode;

  • Chigs wore new glasses.
  • The bakers had to make a T̶w̶i̶x̶ *sigh* 10 identical caramel shortbread biscuit bars.
  • After hearing that she lacked “finesse” from Paul for the 10,000th time Lizzie said: “Look at the way I dress. Does it look like I have finesse in any aspect of my life?”
  • She then followed it up by saying that she was going to get a tattoo of the word on her ankle. And she did!
  • Crystelle also decided to hug Lizzie the second after she had helped her make a sugar dome in the Showstopper, rather than actually carefully applying the sugar dome to the top of her cake. As a result, the dome got stuck in the mold in the last seconds of the challenge.

The competition in the tent has been particularly fierce this year. Jürgen has won Star Baker three times, Giuseppe has won twice, and Chigs and Crystelle – who have been steadily upping their game throughout – have won once each. And then there’s Lizzie, whose Showstopper last week was stunning. It is all still to play for, I reckon.

Don’t worry everyone – I’m frequently checking whether Michael has turned delirious. Feel better!

Dear reader, I write to you from my sickbed where I have been confined since Thursday with tonsillitis. I am, however, pleased to inform you of a brilliant new show I’ve been watching called Downton Abbey. Have you heard of it? I can’t believe nobody’s talking about it!

Hello and welcome to the Guardian’s Bake Off liveblog. Michael Chakraverty and I are here to guide you through ‘free-from’ week, which will feature gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan bakes. I know what you’re thinking … poor Freya.


Scott Bryan and Michael Chakraverty

The GuardianTramp

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