Great British Bake Off recap: Find out what happened in the grand finale

Emmy Griffiths


That's all folks! The Great British Bake Off aired its final ever episode on the BBC (and with Mel, Sue and Mary Berry, sob) before it moves to Channel 4 in 2017, and while viewers spent the episode hopelessly pondering a future of GBBO with ad breaks, the finalists Jane, Andrew and Candice spent the episode with their own baking related stress. 

While Candice was crowned 2016's winner, here's how she made it to the top with the help of some crisp meringues, pig-themed sausage rolls and one delightful chocolate cake.



Stage one – meringues

With a royal theme, the bakers were tasked with making meringues fit for the Queen, and all three took to the challenge with gusto while mostly ignoring Mel and Sue's efforts to add humour to the situation by peering over their creations with their usual witty quips (yep, it was THAT stressful).

Andrew, for one, was out to win. Speaking about how he never expected to reach this point in the competition, he said: "Now I'm here I'm going to damn well try," and clearly a huge portion of the nation was behind him as '#TeamAndrew' trended on Twitter.

Andrew made a crunchy caramel casis crown, and even had time to, ahem, crack a joke, as he claimed to be on "crack watch" while staring at his delicate meringues through the oven. However, his meringue didn't receive the best reception from Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry, with Mary saying it was "slightly overpowering," while Paul said "[it] has a lot of flavour…I don't like the praline but I love the effect."


Andrew balancing his crown

Meanwhile, Jane and Candice did considerably better with their meringue creations. Candice went for a Queen Victoria's mango and strawberry crown which went down wonders with the judges, earning her a handshake from Paul while Mary said: "It looks impressive and I love the way you have so many flavours there."

Jane's red, white and blue meringue crown also went down a treat, earning her YET ANOTHER handshake from Paul (and as of yet unheard of feat in one challenge alone) as he ate up her raspberry, strawberry and blueberry compote creation. "It's beautiful – it's heaven," he told a delighted Jane.

Naturally viewers on the Twittersphere had their own take on Paul's two time handshake, with one writing: "Only in Britain could a handshake cause so much discussion," while another wrote: "MEL&SUE: jane got a double handshake! a roman clasp! we've never seen it! does this mean anything? PAUL: no ENGLISH TEACHER: yes." 

Even Bake Off's official account had something to say about Andrew's lack of a handshake, writing: "SOMEONE PLEASE GIVE ANDREW A HANDSHAKE! LOOK AT HIS POOR FACE!" 

Stage two – Technical – Victoria sponge

When Mel and Sue announced the bakers would be making a Victoria Sponge, it seemed that the whole nation laughed in relief as one. Anyone can make a Victoria Sponge! Our bakers are going to ace it! But WAIT. The trio quickly realised they had to make their bakes entirely from memory as they were left with no instructions, leading the three to try similar methods (while keeping an eye on each other's cakes) in the hopes of just about getting the recipe right.


Jane making her showstopper

Andrew regained some ground in the challenge after coming out in first by aa mile with his "good" jam and flavours, while Jane and Candice were almost tied at bottom after both slightly fudging the task by overbaking their sponges. However, Candice just scraped second place while Jane landed in third.

Stage three – the showstopper

The bakers were given five hours to create an incredible chocolate celebration cake, 12 mini quiches, 12 mini sausage rolls, 12 savoury scones and 12 fruit tarts, and so had their work cut out for them (to the point where Andrew had made an extremely specific spreadsheet to perfectly map his baking progress.) Meanwhile, Jane appeared to try out the tried and true 'hope for the best' technique as she lost track of what her timers were for and left her cake for just a little too long in the fridge, ruining her beautiful decorations around the cake.

In between watching the bakers at work we met their families, and it brought a tear to many-a viewer's eyes as Candice's dad, Andrew's mum and Jane's two children praised their family member, and spoke about how proud they were of their baking family member.

Finishing the challenge was such a relief to the final three that Jane began to cry, joking to the camera: "I'm just going to wipe my eyes now" before the judges tried to finalist's last ever tent creations.

Speaking of Jane's feast, Mary's commented "it tastes delicious, it's very, very good…you couldn't resist picking these up," and, speaking of her stunning chocolate cake finale: "that's a lovely surprise in the middle there."

Paul agreed, saying: "Great chocolate cake – taste beautiful it's light, soft, beautiful. Its a shame about the collar," referencing her earlier fridge disaster.

Andrew was up next to display his creation, with Mary praising how it looked, saying: "It is beautifully displayed, very meticulous...beautifully presented."


The trio's relief at finishing their last ever challenge

Paul especially liked the sausage rolls, saying: "Nice colour, nice and neat...crispy the flavour of that is delicious," however, Andrew's tarts let him down as the filling went into the pastry, creating a dreaded soggy bottom.

The pair both adored his chocolate cake, with Paul saying: "That's a great cake...that's a very nice cake," while Mary agreed, saying: "It's a very very good chocolate cake."

The two judges could not fault Candice's stunning display of treats, praising her puff pastry, her cake and her quiches. Paul called her chocolate creation "lovely," while Mary said "You've got the right amount of ganache and I liked the finish as well."

Calling it a "humbinger" of a show stopper between the contestants, Mary and Paul praised the three as they went to join their families and the past Bake Off contestants in the garden, where we finally got to see all the contestants back together, much to the delight of Twitter, particularly when it emerged that fan favourite Val would be taking a baking trip to Aiya Napa. One fan wrote: "we're emotional but i think we can all agree we immediately need a tv series of val's mad weekend in ayia napa," while another hilariously photoshopped a snap of Val enjoying her holiday: 

After winning the competition and being unable to stop her tears of joy, Candice said: "I saw and I wished and I hoped it was okay but you never know - Jane and Andrew were so good, so good! I did it I'm good, I'm good enough! I honestly I don't know what to say - thank you! What an opportunity. Amazing, I don't know what else to say!"

Congratulations Candice – winner of 2016's The Great British Bake Off! 

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