Sophie Faldo has beat Kate Lyon and Steven Carter-Bailey to be crowned the winner of The Great British Bake Off 2017 in tonight’s nailbiting grand final.
After nine weeks of in-tents competition, the top three contestants went head-to-head in the hope of becoming the baking contest’s first Channel 4 champion.
Steven had been the hot favourite heading in to the finale, with three Star Baker titles under his belt. Sophie had won the accolade twice, while Kate earned it once.
They had three last challenges to convince judges Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith that they deserved victory, and they were some of the most tricky yet.
Great British Bake Off final challenges
For the Signature round, hosts Sandi Toksvig and Noel Fielding asked the trio to create twelve small loaves of bread each.
Four had to be shaped (e.g. plaited), four had to be flavoured, and four had to be made with an alternative grain (e.g. spelt).
Kate impressed with her “great” structures, “lovely” textures and “divine” tastes. “Overall, you’ve done very well,” said bread expert Paul.
Sophie’s loaves were called “underproved” and “underbaked”, while Steven was criticised for his “awful” consistency and split dough.
The Technical challenge, set by Prue, involved ginger biscuits with a powerful snap.
While it seemed like a simple task, the devil was in the detail. The finalists had to ice their five oval and five square biscuits with delicate pre-determined designs.
Despite a “beautiful” texture, Kate failure to complete the icing meant she lost her early lead, finishing last in the judges’ ranking.
Sophie came second with her slightly misshapen biscuits, while Steven’s “intricate” icing put him in first place.
With all three having had mixed results in the first two challenges, Prue claimed: “Whoever wins the Showstopper is going to be the winner.”
Branded “the most unforgiving Showstopper in Bake Off history”, the final round saw each baker create an entremet cake.
The light, multi-layered cakes had to have at least five elements, including sponge, with all layers clearly visible when sliced.
Sophie’s ‘Ode to the Honey Bee’ cake won rave reviews, with the judges describing it as “original” and “exceptional”.
Prue said Kate’s cake was “tremendously unusual and beautifully done”, while Paul loved its flavours, saying: “I’d eat that all day.”
However, Steven suffered a disaster when the layers of his ‘yin and yang’ cake ran in to each other. “I think you’ve missed a trick,” mused Paul.
Great British Bake Off 2017 winner revealed
As usual, the series ended with the finalists presenting their last bakes at the traditional Bake Off garden party.
Their friends and family were in attendance, as well as all of the previously eliminated bakers.
Eventually, it was announced that Prue and Paul had named Sophie the winner of Bake Off’s eighth series.
“The idea of winning is such a minute possibility. I don’t think I’ll forget this as long as I live,” she reacted.
“Baking, I thought it was almost like a bit of a calling. To go from that initial inspiration… I never dared think about it until we were here. It is beyond anything I’ve dreamed of.”
Paul commented: “It’s been a real learning curve for Sophie. That entremet in the final bake… I was really shocked about the standard.”
There was controversy earlier today after Prue mistakenly revealed the result on Twitter, over nine hours before it aired on TV.
Jo Brand will interview Sophie on panel show An Extra Slice this Thursday at 10.00pm on Channel 4.
The Great British Bake Off returns to C4 for its ninth run next Autumn, with contestant applications now open.
Before then, the broadcaster is expected to air a number of celebrity specials, as well as a third series of professional spin-off Creme De La Creme.