We’re closing into the final now as our contestants slowly whittle under the heat of the competition. Tonight, the final five will be baking a ‘sweet classic’.
This week is Dessert week- which is basically half of what the contestants have done so far anyway.
For today’s signature bake, they have to make a baked cheesecake. Not too big on baking myself, but I hear baked cheesecakes can be very difficult to bake. They have two and a half hours anyhow.
Maria is doing a ginger nut and cinnamon cheesecake. Brendan is doing a brownie-based cheesecake. Jonathan is the only person doing a pastry-based cheesecake.
Specifically with Brendan, he will be matching his brownie base with a white chocolate filling. These cheesecakes universally disappoint Dan. No pressure.
Monique is putting lemon zest in her base for her sour cream cheesecake with blueberries. Maria, the only Greek in the room, is doing a honey and orange blossom cheesecake.
Nancy is doing a lime and ginger cheesecake with a Bain-marie technique which the judges are wary of. They have one hour to go.
Nancy is struggling, as the judges predicted, and ends up dropping her base everywhere. The contestants put their cheesecakes in the oven, hoping for a wobble. Taking the cheesecake out, some cracks appear in the bases and tops. Contestants now work towards creating the toppings.
Maria soon finds out that her freezer was turned down and her cheesecake may not set in time. The rest of the contestants begin plating and preparing.
Soon, it’s time for judging.
Nancy’s cake is first. It’s dropped a little bit- however Kerry likes her humour as she plates it up in a discounted platter. It isn’t good on taste either. Monique’s bake is next. Dan says it feels beautifully cooked on the outside, but it isn’t cooked well on the inside. Dan is eating ‘humble pie’, saying she’s made a wise decision with her bake.
Brendan’s chocolate cheesecake is next. Kerry would have liked more layered flavour.
Jonathan has made a cottage cheesecake but Dan hates the presentation. Dan thinks it is near perfectly cooked. Kerry likes the flavour.
Now for the moment of truth- Maria’s. And it has set! Well done! The flavour is extraordinary too!
Monique, Maria and Jonathan did well there, leaving Brendan and Nancy on the bottom.
Now for the blind technical bake- the pavlova- the bane of the Kiwi-Australian inter-rivalry. Nice intro, Shane!
They will have to prepare a three-layered meringue tort with plenty of fruity presences. The tort component requires an almond milk crust. They also have to create a sugar-art topping.
The main problem that arises in this challenge seems to be that damn annoying sugar-art topping!
When time runs out, Brendan and Nancy are VERY worried with their effort.
Brendan’s is judged to be ‘not crispy’ with little sugar in the meringue. It’s grainy. Maria’s mint leaves art topping are judged to be childish and Kerry doesn’t like the texture.
Monique’s tort is crispy but leathery. Dan notices undissolved sugar on Nancy’s otherwise OK pav. Lastly, Jonathan’s almond meal was a bit overdone and his sugar art was overkill.
From worst to best, the contestants rank: Brendan, Maria, Jonathan, Nancy and Monique.
It’s now time for the showstopper!
Today, they have to make a two-tiered celebration cake! Brendan will be doing a ‘live, laugh, love’ 21st cake. Monique is doing a Swiss buttercup Ombre wedding cake. Maria is doing an engagement cake with red velvet.
Jonathan is doing a Wedding anniversary cake as he was unable to attend his anniversary due to partaking in LAST week’s showstopper! Lastly, Nancy is doing an orange blossom kokeshi doll cake.
It’s a huge challenge. Despite having 5 hours, they CAN’T fall behind. There are a few close calls!
Luckily, they all finish it and it all brings so many tears to Maria. Jonathan and Monique do not like their cakes due to all the flaws they encountered on the way.
Monique is first and the judges love her flavours. Kerry thinks she’s done better than some professionals.
Maria’s is next and it looks divine- it doesn’t look real! Kerry thinks it has good flavour and crumb.
Kerry likes Nancy’s doll presentation but doesn’t like the stacking. Dan almost completely loves the flavour except for the gritty icing.
They notice a bit of burning with Jonathan’s cake and some inconsistencies. The flavour is good.
Brendan is last and Dan has waited weeks for this cake. The flavour is not as good, but it isn’t a bad cake.
So, who will be star baker? Who will go home?
The star baker is… MONIQUE!
The contestant going home is… Brendan!
No surprises there!