So musician Stu has already left the Bake Off tent, taking his experimental beetroot gateau and slightly circa-2006 trilby with him. But which of the other bakers competing against him are going to stay the course?
Here are our week-on-week predictions for the Great British Bake Off 2015.
Week 2: Ian
Even Ian was surprised he got through the first episode. Although he seemed to be getting into his stride with his maccaron and Black Forest gateau hybrid showstopper, his Madeira cake was compared to ”chewing on wallpaper paste” by Paul Hollywood. Not good.
Week 3: Dorret
With her gloopy chocolate mousse disaster in the first showstopper, tearful Dorret clearly thought she was already a goner. Her Madeira cake showed she’s got the goods, but if emotions have gotten to her already then we reckon Dorret’s on borrowed time.
Week 4: Mat
We’re concerned the fireman’s laddy concoctions (seven shots of gin in a glaze?) will ultimately let him down. Still, Mary Berry might keep him in to ensure a constant supply of booze in the Bake Off tent.
Week 5: Paul
There’s a steely mystique about Paul – not least because he looks a lot like his namesake Mr Hollywood. But his signature was over-baked and he came 10th in the walnut cake technical challenge. Unless he pulls out more bakes like his impressive showstopper, the prison officer will get an early release from the contest.
Week 6: Sandy
We’ve got a lot of time for Sandy’s unflappable attitude. But after Paul seemed nonplussed by her very “Seventies” Black Forest gateau piping (isn’t that the point, Paul?) we can see him ditching her at some point.
Week 7: Ugne
Ugne’s going to get fairly far on sheer verve and determination alone by the look of things. But the body-building Lithuanian has had as many triumphs as failures so far…
Week 8: Nadiya
So what if Nadiya came rock bottom in her first technical challenge? We all know Bake Off is won and lost on the signatures and showstoppers. And in these Nadiya had something pretty special, passing Mary’s inaugural “candy drop test” with flying colours and turning out a “really smart” gooey gateau. Plus, we like her attitude.
Week 9: Flora
The contest’s youngest baker, at 19, and she should do pretty well on that basis alone if Bake Off history is anything to go by. But Flora also seems to know her way around an oven, and Mary described her showstopping cherry sponge as “brave” (and she wasn’t being condescending).
Runner up: Tamal
The trainee anaesthetist has already shown he can execute some bold ideas. Those roses on his rosewater Madeira cake were just gorgeous. And Mary was VERY impressed with his chocolate collar. Fourth in the technical, too. Definitely one to watch.
Runner up: Marie
The first week’s Star Baker will clearly be a strong contender. In fact early success is a proven prelude to winning the whole show, as Nancy did last year. Mary thought Marie’s Madeira cake was “perfect”, and Paul “loved” her Black Forest gateau. She’s an obvious choice for champion, but instead we’re going to stick our necks out and say…
Alvin’s debut in the tent was not without its struggles, but he dealt with them like a champion. First, he didn’t chop up his figs enough, despite Paul’s grave warnings. Important lesson learned: do whatever the grumpy judge tells you to do. Then in the Technical challenge he produced a slanted sponge (disaster!) but managed to rectify it without the judges even noticing. Very clever.
Based on this adaptability and his clear baking prowess, Alvin’s our tip to come from the outside and claim the Bake Off title this year.
The Great British Bake Off continues on BBC1, Wednesday, August 12, 8.00pm.