Frances Quinn’s Midsummer Night’s Dream Wedding Cake
For the 2013 final of GBBO, Frances, Kimberley and Ruby were given the challenge of designing and baking a show-stopping wedding cake. It proved to be one of the most difficult tasks ever, but Frances managed to keep calm and collected while her rivals crumbled, meaning she won the entire show with her spectacular ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream’ three-tiered cake, featuring pineapple flowers, bees and confetti. Don’t miss Frances’ latest book – Quinntessential Baking – for more showstopping recipes.
Victoria Chester’s Blackbird Pie Cake
It wasn’t just the blackbirds in Victoria’s show-stopping pie that were chirping in 2012 – the judges were also dazzled by her hidden-design concoction. For the first week, the challenge involved creating the perfect sponge, but also assembling the various layers to do the ‘big reveal’. Inspired by ‘Sing a Song of Sixpence’, Victoria’s cake was meticulously executed and well deserving of the Star Baker title.
Nancy Birtwhistle’s Moulin Rouge cake
2014’s winner Nancy Birtwhistle was dubbed by some as ‘Gadget Gran’ due to her penchant for utilising homemade implements to give her bakes the edge. And last year, they did her justice as she won GBBO with her windmill cake, designed to look like Paris’ Moulin Rouge; of course, she used a hand-crafted ‘drainpipe tool’ to help shape her brandy snaps.
Jennifer Saunder’s Ab Fab tribute
During 2015’s GBBO Comic Relief special, the celeb bakers were given the challenge of producing a show-stopping chocolate tiered cake. Jennifer decided to recreate a scene from her hit sitcom ‘Absolutely Fabulous’ – a “soggy-bottomed bed cake”, featuring a drunk Edina surrounded by miniature bottles of booze and made with vodka buttercream. It was mad, but it was a total win with the judges who went on to crown her Star Baker.
John Whaite’s Heaven & Hell Chiffon Cake
Law student John Whaite is not just remembered for nearly losing his finger in the food processor; he also won the first ever all-male GBBO final in 2012 with his ‘Heaven and Hell’ showstopper cake. It was one impressive pudding, with its collection of coconut and lemon mini meringue cakes on a dark chocolate orange base cake. The finished piece won high praise indeed from the judges but, just as we thought we might try and recreate it at home, we realised how extensive the creation of it was; the recipe spanned over three A4 pages and contained 27 different steps. John has released two books since Bake Off – John Whaite Bakes and John Whaite Bakes at Home.
James Morton’s Gingerbread Barn
In the same 2012 series of GBBO, James Morton wowed the judges (and us) with his “oak-framed Gingerbread Barn.” James was known for his daring ideas, but when the barn started to collapse, he had to change his concept so that the creation became a ruined barn with caramel cobwebs. He seemed sure the judges would ridicule him – what was supposed to be an idyllic Scottish barn had to be transformed into a rustic shack – but they loved how it tasted, deeming the “ramshackle” look to be a showstopper and naming him Star Baker. Everything happens for a reason! James has also released two cookbooks – Brilliant Bread and How Baking Works: …And What To Do If It Doesn’t.
Have we missed any? When you think of GBBO showstoppers, which masterpieces spring to mind? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments box below.