'Bake Off' contestants beaten by 'simple' chocolate brownie challenge

Ep4.  Matt, Prue, Paul and Mark.
Ep4. Matt, Prue, Paul and Mark.

The Great British Bake Off stars some of the most accomplished amateur bakers in the UK - but every single one of them was defeated by a basic brownie challenge in chocolate week.

Even the least experienced bakers among us have probably managed to whip up a passable tray of chocolate brownies at some point, but despite judge Paul Hollywood labelling it a “back to basics” task, not a single contestant produced a triumph.

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Ominously, Hollywood introduced the brownie round by saying: “This, for me, is going back to basics.

“If you can’t produce a decent chocolate brownie, there’s going to be problems.”

With the show’s previous amazing bakes having included a gingerbread colosseum, a bread lion, and celebrity busts sculpted from cake, it was fair to say this should have been an easy start to the episode.

Judge Prue Leith thought it should be a simple enough ask: “The perfect brownie has a gooey centre and a crispy top - and that’s it.”

However, complaints ranged from the brownies being raw, to them having been overbaked, tasting horrible, looking a mess, and being covered in too many sweet toppings.

Most of the bakers knew they’d done a terrible job even before the tasting, particularly Lottie who had run out of time for her cheesecake topping to bake, Laura whose uncooked brownie middle was leaking out, and Sura who dropped one of her tins in the oven.

Hollywood told sculptor Marc: “It does look a mess and that’s a problem for me because brownies are one of the most basic things to bake, so if you can’t get that right...”

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Lottie realised where it had all gone wrong a little too late: “If any of us had presented just a standard chocolate brownie I think we would have been away, but none of us have, we’ve all just made it harder than it needed to be.”

Sura agreed: “We’ve all done a botched job of our brownies.”

But it was project manager Mark who summed up what the show’s fans were thinking, as he wondered: “If we can’t make brownies, what are people watching this going to think of us?

“We’re meant to be the best amateur bakers in the country, but we can’t even make brownies to please Paul and Prue.”

The Great British Bake Off continues on Tuesdays at 8pm on Channel 4.