By Rosie Conroy
Just when you thought Bake Off on the BBC was over for good, news has delighted fans that there will be two Christmas specials before the end of the year. Little is known about what the two shows will entail but Mary, Paul, Sue and Mel will all be present before they go their separate ways. The BBC kept the secret up its sleeve until after Wednesdays final, making the exciting announcement on their Twitter page. We can't wait for more soggy bottoms, more baking themed innuendos and our final moments with the irreplaceable Bake Off team.
The Great British Bake Off's 2016 winner has been announced, and we couldn't be happier!
Candice bravely battled the eleven other bakers, and her two fellow Bake Off finalists Jane and Andrew, to be crowned the most coveted star baker of all, being announced as the winner of the seventh Great British Bake Off. The signs were there from before the big reveal was made however, with Candice having won star baker three times throughout the series with her elaborate creations consistently impressing.
In the BBC's final Great British Bake Off (before it moves to Channel 4 next year, *SOB*) Candice was faced with the standard three rounds of cooking tests from judges Mary and Paul. However their level wasn't standard. This time they were described as "the most complex yet". And the theme? Why, royalty of course.
For the signature challenge meringues were on the menu with the contestants being asked to create a three-tiered version of this classic dessert. The judges wanted something resembling a crown and nothing less than dazzling decoration would do.
Of course with her previously perfect run when it comes to whipping up treats we knew that Candice would breeze this one. And breeze it she did. When Mel and Sue called for Coronation time Candice stepped up to present a fabulous strawberry and mango four tiered pavlova topped with a miniature crown in honour of Queen Victoria. It impressed the judges so much that Mary told her that it "looked great" as well as complimenting her on her intricate piping work for her crown.
Next up was the technical challenge, which must have carried the briefest brief to date, reading just one line and instructing the final three to bake a Victoria sandwich with jam and buttercream, dusted with icing sugar.
Candice actually didn't top the pile this time with Andrew coming striding out in front thanks to a nice even bake, smooth buttercream and a light golden colour. Candice was up next howver with the judges saying her buttercream was slightly grainy but with a good flavour. In third place was Jane whose Victoria sponge was a little bit larger than the judges were looking for, which resulted in a dense bake.
Finally, the challenge we were all waiting for was up. The show stopper for 2016 is said to have been the most complex ever ask from Mary and Paul, with the most bakes ever requested from the bakers. Mary described the quantities needed from each baker as an "unbelievable amount", and we agreed. The contestants were asked to create not one showstopper, but five. Mary and Paul wanted a spread fit for a royal picnic, asking for 1 chocolate celebration cake, 12 puff pastry sausage roll, 12 mini quiches, 12 savoury scones and 12 mini fruit tarts. That's 49 items in total. Phew. Candice, Andrew and Jane were given five hours to perfect their party spread.
Bunting, baskets and picnic rugs were everywhere with gorgeous bakes from each one of the contestants. However it was Candice who impressed the judges the most with her salmon and asparagus quiches, little piggy sausage rolls (complete with crispy tails) and chocolate orange celebration cake among other tasty treats.
After the announcement was made in front of all the 2016 contestants, as well as the final three's family and friends, Candice explained how shocked she felt, saying: "never ever, ever did I think I'd even ever get on this let alone win it. This means more to me than I think anyone will ever realise".
On hers and Paul's decision Mary added that they chose Candice because of "her determination and passion".
And just like that Bake Off is done for another year. We're already excited to see what Channel 4 have in store for us all next year, but there's no two ways about it - we'll miss all the cheeky antics from Mary, Sue and Mel!
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