'Great British Bake Off' Cake Week: Hollywood Handshakes all-round, but is it too many?

Katie Archer
(Channel 4)
(Channel 4)

The Great British Bake Off‘s Cake Week made TV history tonight, as judge Paul Hollywood gave out his first-ever Hollywood Handshake in a Showstopper challenge… closely followed by his second.

Notoriously hard-to-please judge Paul has become known for his rare handshakes which he grudgingly offers for truly exceptional bakes, but he’d never seen fit to use one over a Showstopper bake before.

However, despite battling extreme heat during a chocolate tempering challenge, two bakers managed to make Paul shake their hands – read on to find out who the talented contestants were, as well as all of the gossip from episode 2.

Fans have been getting excited about Bake Off’s cake week all day, sharing some of their favourite cake song puns on Twitter.

But before we get stuck into the cakes, there’s one thing that we can’t let pass without comment and of course that’s presenter Noel Fielding’s look for episode two. And no, we don’t mean the Marie Antoinette outfit.

Last week’s series launch set tongues wagging over Noel’s new, shorter hair do and extravagant sideburns, but even he seems to have decided that they were a little too much as it looks like he’s growing them out. The new style is every bit as out there, though.

The Signature Bake

First up: the good old traybake. What could possibly go wrong?

Well, first of all, Ruby and Dan weren’t too happy about committing the ultimate tent faux pas – having the same recipe idea.

Paul Hollywood complained that Kim-Joy’s unusual agreement pandan smelled like he’d just cut his lawn, while Noel likened it to frog spawn and even Kim-Joy admitted it was a love-it-or-hate-it flavour. Risky.

However, the effect was stunning and although Paul used the word “perfect” twice about the traybake, he unfortunately really disliked the pandan.

Luke’s offering was branded “tough as old boots” by Paul, while Prue Leith called it sloppy.

Briony’s traybake was a right old mess, but apparently tasted delicious, making her so happy she cried.

As an aside, usually, we like to spend the first ad break cracking open the Mr Kipling, but tonight we were rooted to the sofa by an “advertising exclusive” – an elaborate school play about spaceships and robots that turned out to be for John Lewis, and had all the hallmarks of one of their Christmas ads. Is it really that time of year already?

Who won the Technical Challenge?

You know you’re in trouble when the challenge is to make Monet’s favourite cake gateaux vert and even the French baker looks confused.

Poor old Luke had a shocker with his cake layers proving too flimsy and ending up with huge holes in the middle. He had the classic nightmare of having to start the bake again.

But there were some truly beautiful creations, including Kim-Joy’s incredibly precise work, and some gorgeous edible flower arrangements.

It’s at times like this that we really miss Mary Berry.

John was victorious with well-defined layers, gorgeous decoration and subtle flavours, but Karen was in the unenviable last position and vowed to bounce back with the Showstopper.

The Showstoppers

This week, the bakers had to make a “chocolate collar”, which we’d never heard of but are definitely interested in investigating further.

Only problem was, this series was filmed during the heatwave, and as we all know, chocolate no likey heat.

Jon threw himself into the summery weather with another trademark Hawaiian shirt and a pina colada bake “because I like pina colada, and getting caught in the rain”.

Noel, undaunted by the rising temperature, was back in his Marie Antoinette costume to distract the bakers.

Kim-Joy chose a yuzu flavouring, which Prue has already shared is one of the biggest trends this series.

Manon had a mountain to climb after a poor first two rounds, and decided her best bet was to represent Noel Fielding and Sandi Toksvig in cake – although Sandi looked distinctly unimpressed by her sweary description of the design.

Terry looked set to excel himself again, this time with a chocolate Eiffel Tower – could it live up to previous winner John Whaite’s gingerbread colosseum?

Bake Off disaster! Chocolate tempering, buttercream icing, and hot weather of course did not mix, and many of the contestants were unable to finish their bakes. Terry’s tower was topless, Luke’s sea of buttercream was sliding all over the place, and Manon was in tears.

So nearly a triumph, Terry…

Karen pulled it back though, with Prue telling her “I can’t fault it”, so she made good on her promise to bounce back from the technical.

Luke, however, was regretting his choice to go for white chocolate in the heat.

Manon’s cake was much better received than she had expected, despite failing to take the acetate sheet off the outside of it.

Rahul pulled off a Great British Bake Off first – the only Hollywood Handshake ever given for a Showstopper, thanks to an intricate, tiered construction that didn’t give an inch in the heat.

But he was closely followed by Ruby, who picked up the second Showstopper Hollywood Handshake, although she admitted to – gasp! – being not that fussed, and much more interested in impressing Prue.

Who went out?

Let’s hear it then, whose time in the Bake Off tent is already at an end?

Manon, Karen and Luke were all looking dicey going into the final round, but we’d already seen that Luke was the only one to have continued his poor run with the Showstoppers.

Briony was also on shaky ground, though, and had spent much of the episode in tears. Could her time be up?

It came as no surprise, although still sad news, that Luke was the one asked to hang up his apron in week two. There was just no recovering from a collarless cake in a chocolate collar task.

Who won Star Baker?

Where there’s bad news, there’s always good news too, though, in the form of Star Baker.

Surely, it had to be between Rahul and Ruby after their incredible Showstoppers?

Of course, there would be no justice in the tent otherwise, so Sandi had the delightful task of telling Rahul that he was Star Baker.

A nervous Rahul said: “I just hope I didn’t peak too early?”

We’ll see next time in bread week, Rahul.

Tonight’s highlight

Episode two’s crowning moment just has to be the pair of Hollywood Handshakes in the Showstopper.

It’s the first time that Paul has ever given that recognition even once during the round, let alone twice, so it looks as though we have two exceptional bakers on our hands in Rahul and Ruby.

Paul is rarely generous with his praise, though, and in the judging tent admitted to being quite cross with himself for having to dole out the compliments so early on.

Special mention also goes to guest star The Heatwave, which provided an extra level of drama in the final round and was the key to Luke’s undoing as his cake collapsed in a big melty mess.

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

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