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Holly and Mary-Anne finish runners-up…

Despite eight weeks of largely impressive baking, the precision of Holly and experimentations of Mary-Anne were not enough to surpass Jo in the Great British Bake Off Final.

Mary-Anne, who boasts a collection of 700 recipe books, endured a couple of piping catastrophes. Her attempts to decorate her lemon and ginger mille feuille were hampered by an incident in which her piping nozzle burst from the bag and the contents splodged onto the immaculately contoured icing.

The Technical Challenge of making a Sachertorte involved the need to pipe the word ‘Sacher’ in chocolate onto the top of the cake. Unfortunately, Mary-Anne’s dish was served up with ‘Sacha’ emblazoned upon it. To make matters worse, the judges felt that the cake was undercooked. Her fruity petits-fours mostly managed to impress in the final Challenge, with the presentation gaining rave reviews.

However, the strong alcohol filling in the syllabub caused a rare disagreement between the judges, as Mary Berry’s adoration starkly contrasted with Paul Hollywood’s revulsion. Summing her overall efforts up, Paul branded Mary-Anne a “rough diamond”.

Going into the Final Challenge, Holly was neck and neck with Jo in the battle to be crowned the Best Amateur Baker. Earlier, a bold move to use vinegar in her ‘Banoffee-inspired’ mille feuille appeared to have worked and she even overcame the perils of her oven being switched off at a pivotal moment. A second place finish behind Jo in the Sachertorte Technical Challenge kept her within striking distance.

Alas, despite their immaculate presentation, Holly’s petits-fours failed to send the judges’ taste-buds spiralling into the ecstasy that Jo’s offering managed to do. Assessing Holly’s strengths and weaknesses throughout the competition, Paul said that she “sometimes lacks that depth of flavour” but is “so precise” and hugely commendable in a technical capacity.

Both runners-up were highly gracious and proud of their efforts after Jo was awarded the trophy – and so they should be!