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

Last modified: 08: 18 PM GMT+0

There were pavlova palavers, scorching temperatures, and a fair few bakers who cracked under the pressure in dessert week

I’m off to polish up my German. All I know is “mein handy” which, unexpectedly, actually means “my phone”. Til next week, chums x

Looking forward to it. See you all then!

Next time, it’s Jürgen week German week! Looks like lebkuchen for the signature (yum) with plenty of disasters to come. There’ll be 100% less Maggie though, which will be a real shame.

I’ll look out for you on a Dorset beach with your favourite ice cream (that doesn’t taste like toothpaste, of course!). Or travelling the world in your trusted campervan. Maggie has taught us the lesson that even if you’re not doing as well as you initially hoped, it is still important to have fun along the way. I wish I knew that while I was doing my degree. Or while dating boys in my late 20s. Or early 30s. Oh well!

And it’s farewell to our lovely Dame. She’s been a true favourite, taking disasters in her stride with good humour and a real warmth. We’re really going to miss her in the tent, but I look forward to her taking on the mantle from Imelda Staunton in The Crown, series eight. I genuinely have a tear in my eye.

A huge well done to the big kid of the tent, Chigs. It’s a good time for him to start putting himself out there some more – could he be a bit of a dark horse this year?

Star Baker is ...

... Chigs! You can tell he had such determination this episode, after floating in the middle so far this series.

I wince every single time.

Paul Hollywood slicing into someone's carefully made cake. #GBBO

— Dan Gasser (@DanGasser) October 12, 2021

Now, while it isn’t the biggest concern with Maggie’s bake, I’m confused why it’s named “the Paris Skyline” but has strawberries piped around the edges?

Maggie’s Paris Skyline Imprimé Dessert. #GBBO

— British Bake Off (@BritishBakeOff) October 12, 2021

It’s staggering. At this rate it’ll be Giuseppe once, Jürgen twice and Chigs once. After Jürgen’s initial unstoppable streak, there’s no real frontrunner.

Chigs has gone and won Star Baker hasn’t he? “Just firm enough to stay up”, says Prue. What we’re all searching for, really.

Chigs’ Black Forest Imprimé Dessert. #GBBO

— British Bake Off (@BritishBakeOff) October 12, 2021

Crystelle’s looks brilliant, and it’s got punchy flavours too. Not convinced by George’s – though he did do two tiers, so that’s something.

George’s Peanut Butter & Chocolate Imprimé Dessert. #GBBO

— British Bake Off (@BritishBakeOff) October 12, 2021

Elsewhere, Lizzie is literally serving a bin (a throwback to 2014, perhaps).

Lizzie’s Liverpool Skyline Imprimé Dessert. #GBBO

— British Bake Off (@BritishBakeOff) October 12, 2021

Giuseppe’s looks elegant (of course it does). It looks like something you would see in a window of a Parisian bakery.

Giuseppe’s Red Fruit & Pistachio Imprimé Dessert. #GBBO

— British Bake Off (@BritishBakeOff) October 12, 2021

On to the Showstopper judging ...

… Jürgen singing seriously at Paul without breaking eye contact was … unexpected.

Due to budget constraints, we’re now asking bakers to supply their own music when they present their Showstoppers to the judges. #GBBO

— British Bake Off (@BritishBakeOff) October 12, 2021

Bake Off 2022: someone baking a cake but forgetting the tin

Maggie forgetting to put the flour in her sticky toffee puddings, is her following in the footsteps of our bake off icon Jamie who forget to put an egg in his cake #GBBO

— Jeen (@blueisneversus2) October 12, 2021

Off-topic but has anybody noticed that Prue’s necklace looks like jalebi? They’re an Indian wiggly deep-fried sweet and they’re delicious.

The worst kind of side-splitting. It seems we truly have the sublime and the ridiculous in the tent this week.

DISASTER for Amanda. Her sides are splitting in the freezer, which makes me wonder whether she’ll just present the freezer.

This is the most tense Bake Off has been in ages. Who needs Line of Duty or Vigil?!

Chigs is storming up and down the tent, making the floor bounce, infuriating when you’re piping intricate details. “Soz”, he yells, like a mischievous Year 9.

My heart’s gone all funny. I have PTSD from my own Dessert Week – setting things under time pressure is horrid.

Amanda has some severe floppage going on, and these constantly rumbling drums are going to give me a stress hernia. Gosh, Dessert Week is tense isn’t it?

Paul Hollywood’s eyes are observing everyone in the tent like the “red light green light” robot in Squid Game.

Chocolate tofu mousse is genuinely delicious – you wouldn’t know it was vegan, really. Definitely one to try!

Giuseppe’s out of space on his bench. Honestly that’s one of the biggest challenges in the tent. You find yourself precariously cooling things on any surface you can find – fridges, bins, microwaves, presenters …

Looks like Freya is starting again too. But if Maggie leaves the tent, it looks like she is leaving with a big smile on her face. I really admire her for that.

Triggered. Grilled cakes are what sent me home ...

They don’t have to cook this sort of sponge under the grill do they?

Maggie’s taken hers out too soon and is starting again! Protection Squad Assemble, I think stormy seas may lie ahead.

Tweet of the evening.


— Tom (@Tom_TheSequel) October 12, 2021

VERY this.

Paul 'This is flour'
Maggie 'Is it?!'#GBBO #GreatBritishBakeOff #TheGreatBritishBakeOff2021 #BakeOff

— Sardaran Carol Ahmed (@SardaranCarol) October 12, 2021

No seaside Showstopper scene for Maggie. It’s like I barely know her.

Amanda’s sinful sponge sounds quite delicious, doesn’t it?

Jürgen’s bake has notes on the side that you can actually play. Of course it does! And apparently he once baked a wedding cake consisting of two Star Trek Starship Enterprises kissing each other. Of course he has!

Chigs continues his campaign to win over The Youth by slagging off the most famous painting in the world like he’s on a school trip. His review: “Is that it?!”

The Showstopper challenge is ...

… a celebratory joconde imprime dessert! No, we don’t have a clue either. Ah, it’s based on the Mona Lisa. No, we still don’t understand.

This sums up the last ten minutes nicely.

Maggie, those sticky toffee puddings are an abomination. Bravo! ��

Not according to his Sticky Toffee Puddings...

Italy really going for the Quadruple this year #GBBO

— Ollie Samuels (@OllieSamuels) October 5, 2021

If only those years were behind me ...

Brief and complicated makes complete sense, it's like basically all my relationships when I was younger.

This year, all technicals end with Amanda saying she’ll never make whatever it was she just made again.

Who are we thinking will leave this week? So far it seems like Maggie is doomed, unless she pulls out something special in the Showstopper. Also a bit worried for George and Amanda.

Ah, Happy Little Jürgen strikes again! He’ll go back to the 100 Acre Wood a chuffed little bear.

Wow, that went worse than I expected! Here’s the ranking: 9. Maggie (“I made you a gluten-free sticky toffee pudding,” she quips). 8. Amanda. 7. George (“very raw”). 6. Freya. 5. Crystelle. 4. Giuseppe. 3. Chigs. 2. Lizzie. 1. Jürgen! The Baking Terminator returns.

The noise that jug made when Paul hit it on its bottom was lovely wasn’t it? I imagine I’d make a similar noise if he did that to me.

They’re being very critical for a bake with four elements, made in 90 minutes. I’d like to see the judges try this challenge in the same time with a camera in their face.

Giuseppe’s expression when he learns that his is underbaked is historic.

Maggie's sticky toffee puddings... #GBBO

— Antoine ⚡ (@hos_ri) October 12, 2021

It’s the technical judging.

Spoiler alert – Maggie will be last, but we love her anyway.

Maggie has handled this brilliantly, though. Other bakers would have burst into tears at such a simple mistake.

OH MY GOD MAG! They do look a little like something you’d find in a nappy, don’t they – though they’re surprisingly less runny than I was expecting.

Maggie forgot to add flour into her bake! And realised only five minutes before the end of the technical! And she doesn’t care!

So it appears Dame Maggie of Dorset colloquially refers to herself as Mag. The more you know.

This reminds me of the time someone accidentally flung their dough into the air and uttered this iconic line:

"I'm not serving Mary Berry green carpet..." #GBBO

— British Bake Off (@BritishBakeOff) September 20, 2012

Freya is popping her biscuits into the oven via throwing them on the carpet: “Oh no, she died!” she moans. Are carpets vegan?

The recipe is “brief and complicated”, according to George. Which makes no sense, if you think about it.

I make a mean sticky toffee pudding. The trick is popping some cardamom and chopped apples into the mixture. My mouth is WATERING.

I love how Crystelle says “oh my mum” whenever she’s stressed. She’s coined her own catchphrase.

The technical challenge is … four individual sticky toffee puddings.

Hilarious that Lizzie said earlier that she prefers sticky toffee pudding to pavlova. Be careful what you wish for ...

That was a bit of a stealthy handshake wasn’t it? It came from nowhere! Feels like George, Maggie and Freya might be in trouble after that one.

That’s two handshakes so far this series. Chigs has one. Giuseppe has one. Jürgen left reeling.


Chigs’s cheeky pav looks pretty incredible, as does his razor-sharp side parting (as usual).

“I think you could have baked it a bit longer,” says Paul. I imagine they’d have loved to, if they’d given them a bit more bloody time.

“George, I think it looks awful.” Awful! From Prue! I always find it harsh when Prue says things look awful, especially when his bake actually tastes delicious.

Fun fact: I was 26 when I learned to pronounce rosemary properly. I used to think it was “roe-zum-rie”. I still have to sound it out now.

The green on Lizzie’s pavlova is very … green isn’t it?

I hate to say it, but … I don’t think I’m into Jürgen’s pyramid-glue pav.

Judging by how many cracks you counted during that challenge ... it’s you, Michael.

It’s the Signature judging.

Who’s going to crack?

Anything is better than Japanese Week ...

It's German week next time and it was Italian Bread week last time.

When's Scouser week?

Never forget, the most iconic Dessert Week of all time. Never before (or since) has a bin been served to the Gingham Altar.

Dessert week did produce the most iconic bake off moment in history #GBBO

— Georgia (@GeorgiaEH17) October 12, 2021

Time is up. It’s Pav-OVER. I’ll see myself out.

“I think the colour is lovely” says Lizzie, as she squirts lime green cream on to her 70s rug/pavlova.

Feels a bit mean making George make his own Biscoff spread from scratch when it’s less than £1 a jar and other bakers are just throwing some fruit in and calling it a day.

“I’m just trying to find a bit that doesn’t look fragile”: me, trying to impress my therapist.

Not only that, but the cracks are coming thick and fast. I’ve given up counting – probably safe to imagine there’s one every few seconds.

In case you have been missing the action ... Maggie has got hers out and George’s is hard.

Yet again, Lizzie’s thinking about dead animals. That said, rosemary is criminally underused in bakes. It works well with so many flavours! Thrilled to see it getting some well-deserved airtime.

Lizzie is such a natural storyteller. Her explanation for a rosemary Easter pavlova? “When you think of Easter you think of baby lambs. You put rosemary on lambs.” Give her a slot on CBeebies Storytime already!

Sigh. Will we ever be free of the mango?

That’s it. Mango is next week’s forbidden ingredient.

Three more cracks! That makes five across the first 10 minutes of the show by my count. One crack every two minutes.

Please, Jürgen. No kippers and eggs in your pavlova. Please.

I didn’t like Matthew Lucas referring to a “tongue party” there. Gave me the ick. Why haven’t we seen our Happy Little Jürgen yet?

The fear is rising ...

Dessert week - high chance of mango forecast

Meringues made from aquafaba (chickpea water) are actually surprisingly delicious – I reckon we’re getting a misdirect here with Freya. She won me over immediately with her flavours, which sound incredible.

Fine, you’ve twisted my arm. I will keep a log of every Amanda pun, but only for you. Also, the HEAT has been mentioned by Freya! The curse of Dessert Week lives on!

Not to be outdone by Crystelle, Amanda is continuing her punny titles by creating a heart-shaped “Pav-love”. Classic. I imagine Scott will start building a pun graph or something soon.

Bingo! Paul’s doing the awkward staring thing at Maggie, who doesn’t seem remotely bothered. Elsewhere, Giuseppe is muttering something about being “thick and glossy”, like a Head & Shoulders advert.

But she wouldn’t share the recipe?! In the words of Pam(lova) “It’s all the drama Mick, I just love it.”

Oh my Christ, Crystelle (of the rhyming siblings) calls her godmother Pam-lova due to her dessert-based devotion. Incredible.

Second crack so far. And Prue, like many of us, wants a “firm bottom”.

“I don’t really eat pavlovas” says Lizzie, before comparing it to a sticky toffee pudding, which is a completely different dessert.

The signatures are nice and simple this year, giving the bakers time to actually show off their skills. In my year we had “12 identical chocolate biscuit bars consisting of one baked element and two other elements coated in chocolate to be made while continuously doing the can-can on stilts”, which was a bit harder.

The signature this week is ...

… a pavlova! I fear there’s going to be lots of “chantilly cream”. I stand by my comments on that awful phrase.


— michael chakraverty (@mschakraverty) September 28, 2021

This reminds me of when Victoria Coren Mitchell made vodka jelly shots on Celebrity Bake Off and, for coincidental reasons of course, did the challenge the following day wearing sunglasses.

Amanda entering the tent in sunglasses is very Tuesday-after-the-Bank-Holiday isn’t it?

someone had a good bank holiday weekend #GBBO

— michael chakraverty (@mschakraverty) October 12, 2021

I’m still not used to the aerial shots of the tent not being in lovely Welford Park. Hopefully they’ll be able to film it like normal next year and it can be back in its proper home.

I don’t know why, but over the weekend I made a video of George being continuously stressed in the tent. You’re welcome.

I made a supercut video of every time George has quietly lost it on Bake Off because it feels deeply relatable #GBBO

— Scott Bryan (@scottygb) October 12, 2021

Well, that’s the first mention of cracks and we’ve not even had the credits yet. Drink!

For some reason, I’d never really considered that Matt’s full name is Matthew and I’m finding myself looking at him differently.

They clearly ran out of a budget for props by episode four.

Just an alert for the advert haters among us (that’s everybody). Bake Off is 15 minutes shorter than last week. We’re going to be in bed by 9.15!

On that note, let’s crack on with our Bake Off Bingo:

  • Prue’s eyebrows wiggling at a hint of booze
  • Jürgen unnecessarily adding fish to a bake
  • Paul staring at someone rather than answering a question
  • Maggie baking something inspired by the seaside
  • Lizzie telling a story involving the death of an animal
  • Cracks of any kind

This week’s forbidden ingredient (which earns immediate expulsion from our collective hearts) is olives.

In case you want a recap of last week’s Bake Off, here you go:

  • Jürgen cooked a baby.
  • Paul complained bakes were “a bit bready” during Bread Week.
  • Lizzie told a moving story: “I had a pig called Susie. She died. Didn’t eat it.”
  • And Giuseppe accidentally called Noel, Neil.

Last week featured the sad departure of Rochica, while Maggie unexpectedly hung in there. Can she make it to a fifth week? Place a bet on whether she does a beach-related Showstopper for the fourth consecutive week now!

Do we have a weather forecast for this episode Michael, because historically this is the one where it is 43 degrees in the tent and #AirConditioning trends highly on Twitter. Although, did we even have a day over 17 degrees this summer? (BRB: checking the entire Met Office archive.)

Not to be confused with Desert Week, which sounds like something from Squid Game.

It’s Dessert Week – one of my favourites, as we start seeing bakers experiment a bit more with ideas and flavours (and hopefully there’ll be no more olives).

Hello, it’s us again. Why yes, I have had a haircut, thanks for asking. I love your top, is it new? Joining us for the blog? Let’s get on with it then.


Scott Bryan and Michael Chakraverty

The GuardianTramp

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