'The Great British Bake Off': Who made it to the final?

Katie Archer
(Channel 4/Love Productions)

We’re down to the final three for The Great British Bake Off as we said au revoir to Briony in the French-themed semi-final.

Ruby, Rahul and Kim-Joy are 2018’s top three bakers and will battle it out for the crown of series winner – but first of all, let’s take a look at all the thrills and spills that got them there.

In a cruel twist of fate, the semi-final was also French week – which Manon would have obviously excelled at, had she not been jettisoned in favour of Rahul’s disasters last week.

Onwards and upwards for the final four, who looked terrified as the semi-final got under way.

Bonne chance, bakers!

The Signature Bake

If you’ve ever wondered how the perfect madeleine should look, Prue Leith has the answer.

Paul Hollywood managed one of his trademark psyche-outs early on by pointedly asking Ruby whether she was planning on freezing the raspberries for her madeleines, leaving her stewing on the question for the rest of the challenge.

He added: “Just to pre-warn you, judging is going to be quite brutal.”

Meanwhile, Rahul tried to explain why one of his cakes had the hump and the other one didn’t, blissfully unaware of any pun. Noel seemed to have given up on any attempt at banter with him this week, resignedly telling him “he’s joking” as Paul tried to engage him in some wordplay.

Briony made a new BFF in Sandi by going for a cocktail theme again, whilst Noel had some high praise for Kim-Joy’s artiness as she explained her bunny rabbit madeleine concept.

After this surreal interlude…

…the tension really picked up, with Rahul and Ruby despairing over their lack of humps, as Briony told Kim-Joy “you’ve got a good hump on you, Kim-Joy.”

Come on, it’s week nine – we all know by now that Rahul did brilliantly but looked like he’d been told to go home immediately, and Kim-Joy produced the cake of dreams for small children everywhere.

But judging aside, Rahul still had one question for the camera crew…

Who won the Technical Challenge?

Sacre bleu! Semi-finals featured the longest-ever technical challenge in the Bake Off tent, prolonging the agony for the already tortured contestants.

Prue’s advice was to use the freezer for the three-and-a-half-hour bake, where they were expected to produce a seven-layer cake each.

As the weeks progress, Kim-Joy has gone the way of Rahul by losing her nerve in the Technical and looking near tears each time.

The chocolatey challenge brought her to the point of absolute meltdown as she threw up her hands and declared it was time for her to go home.

Get it together, Kim-Joy, you can’t be beaten by a chocolate mousse in the semi-final!

However, Ruby, despite admitting to having no idea what a bavarois was (a key part of the cake) at least stayed cheerful by finding her perfect band name were she ever to team up with Sandi – Bavarois People.

We can see them now, playing Wembley with some of these classic hits…

Kim-Joy won our hearts this week by deciding that no, she would not lose against a seven-layer cake, and had another go at the mousse eventually managing a hard-won second place, while Ruby’s incredible cake was pretty much perfect and came in first.

Paul wasn’t exactly complimentary about Briony’s mirror glaze.

In possibly the most Rahul quote we’ve heard all series, he said of coming last in the challenge: “As soon as something good happens, something bad just comes behind it.”

Viewers started to get a little annoyed with Rahul’s constant negativity, especially after he was saved over Manon.

The Showstoppers

Sandi started the final round with a very astute observation – that it was likely to be down to personality for who would make the final, as Kim-Joy is prone to wobbles and Rahul doesn’t believe in himself but Briony and Ruby are much more feisty.

The bakers certainly had to hold their nerve for this challenge – a Parisian window featuring 36 patisseries and three types of pastry, made over five hours.

Briony rightly described it as a pastry marathon, and Kim-Joy admitted she was the most likely to crack under pressure.

Ruby has run an actual marathon, so she looked better set up to cope with the pastry version than Rahul, who was out of breath from making choux.

Rahul’s research into French patisserie was confined to the high streets of Sheffield, which didn’t fill us with confidence, nor him as when Noel asked how he was he could only reply “I’m alive”.

He also introduced us to a brand-new verb, “dooming”, which surely has a place in Bake Off forever more, so perfectly does it describe the tension of the Showstopper.

It looked as though Briony could have bitten off more than she could chew with her ambitious full-puff pastry, chocolate domes and red choux as the clock ticked and her pastry refused to bake.

Paul ramped up the harsh-o-meter in tonight’s judging, telling off everyone for baking too-big patisseries, but particularly laying into Rahul for not glazing his fruit and making the same mistake as Briony – too much salt in the pastry.

Yes, Briony, we saw you laughing behind your tissue.

Ruby was the only one who did especially well in the task, but Rahul did manage to make the most delicious of all the pastries.

Who went home?

It’s the end of the road for Briony, who came so close but fell at the final hurdle in the semi-final.

As soon as Sandi started welling up, we knew it would be Briony as the pair have become good mates over the series.

Briony has so much to be proud of and we’ll really miss her sunny outlook, but she did have a total disaster tonight.

Who won Star Baker?

It’s two weeks in a row for Ruby, who’s going into the final in a very strong position.

She’s really come into her own in the last few episodes and has one huge advantage over the other two finalists – she can keep her cool at all times.

We can’t wait to see what she comes up with in next week’s final.

Tonight’s highlight

It’s a classic highlight tonight that’s all about the baking for once – Ruby’s Technical Challenge offering.

Prue pointed out that even the most accomplished professional patissier would have trouble executing the seven-layer giant of a bake, and yet Ruby pulled it off barely even breaking a sweat.

Her cake looked good enough to grace any Paris baker’s window and her quiet, steely determination has made us think that she could be this year’s winner.

The Great British Bake Off final airs on Tuesday, October 30 at 8pm on Channel 4.

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