Great British Bake Off – Recap – Week 4 – Chocolate

This is going to be a quickie recap. Since Friday evening, I haven’t felt well. But before the sickness took over, I was able to watch Chocolate Week on Friday morning. (Updated now that my strength is back.)

Here are our bakers:

  • Dave, 30, Armoured Guard
  • Hermine, 39, Accountant
  • Laura, 31, Digital Manager
  • Linda, 61, Retirement Living Team Manager
  • Loriea, 27, Diagnostic Radiographer (eliminated Week 1)
  • Lottie, 31, Pantomime Producer
  • Makbul, 51, Accountant (eliminated Week 2)
  • Marc (a.k.a. Hammish, his dog’s name), 51, Bronze Resin Sculptor
  • Mark, 32, Project Manager
  • Peter, 20, Accounting and Finance Student
  • Rowan, 55, Music Teacher (eliminated Week 3)
  • Sura, 31, Pharmacy Dispenser

My favorite line of this week was Prue to Lottie: “You just have to be “not” the worst”. Reminds me of the old adage when running from a bear you just have to be faster than your friend.

Signature bake: 90 minutes to bake 18 chocolate brownies. The judges expect a fudgy texture and a crackly, crisp top.

The bakers worked so hard on their brownies to be met with brutal judging. I almost pulled the covers over my head. Too sweet, too sponge-like, overbaked were just a few of the negative comments flowing from the mouths of the judges. I am a good brownie baker (or so I’ve been told) and I felt that either the bakers were not experienced enough in the brownie arena or the judges were in an awful mood.


Technical challenge: 2 1/2 hours to bake a chocolate babka, an enriched dough with nuts and chocolate, rolled split, and twisted.

Prue stepped on the pride of many a New Yorker with her comment to Paul. She stated that the babkas she had eaten in New York were not as nice as Paul’s loaf they shared in the judge’s tent after the technical announcement was made.

Many bakers didn’t know what a babka was but three ended up with great results. Linda came in first, Laura second and Mark third. I’m not sure why a babka is a technical challenge during chocolate week in a British bake-off but who am I?


I couldn’t locate a Paul Hollywood chocolate babka online. There is a recipe for a chocolate babka in The Great British Bake Off: Celebrations cookbook and Paul has a regular babka recipe on the Cooking Channel website.

Showstopper: 4 hours to make a spectacular white chocolate cake with at least two layers and decorated with white chocolate.

Hermine’s lemon and white chocolate cake didn’t look perfect but did produce a “Prue-gasm”. Sura’s offering was not edible as it was raw. Again, “too sweet” was bandied about and I kept thinking: 1) it’s dessert 2) it’s white chocolate and 3) I give up.


Wrapping up – Mark L was crowned star baker and no surprise Sura was sent home. She had a really rough week.

Updates: Darcie shared a piece from the Eater this week and I have a few things to add. I have tried not to be too snarky because I missed the GBBO so much and I still look forward to it, but…

If I were not sick, I would have written something along the lines of this piece. My version would be a kinder, gentler manifesto. I love GBBO but I do not understand the whole build a bread sculpture that represents the meaning of life. I do not understand the plundering of the bagel. I don’t think cake should be in the shape of someone’s head. White chocolate – just NO.

I also agree with some of the tweets from fans where they state that there is favoritism being shown to the attractive baker this year, Lottie. One fan wrote, “Lottie could just lob the raw ingredients on the counter and survive.”

I miss the love of Sue and Mel. Noel and Matt are okay but they are just about the jokes – I see no compassion for the bakers. It is all about the ill-timed joke or sexual innuendo. Lastly, I miss Mary Berry. Prue is great but I miss Mary’s sweetness.

Let’s make The Great British Bake Off – British again and not try to Americanize the jokes and the feel of the show – let’s do British bakes, technicals that British bakers are at least remotely familiar with and stop with the bad comedy routines.

The bakers are still kind and caring but the overall feel of the show is off, way off.

Post a comment


  • dwager  on  October 21, 2020

    All the “too sweet” comments reminded me of the time the challenge was for an American pie, but Paul said “I hope they’re not sweet like an actual American pie” or words to that effect. And not a single one was made in a pie pan and all the contestants said how much they hate American pies. So, why include it?
    I hope you feel better soon!

  • averythingcooks  on  October 21, 2020

    Everything I’ve heard judges say on ANY baking contest show about the use of white chocolate as a main ingredient includes the words “too sweet”.

    This also reminds me of a specific episode of one of the baking championships where the challenge was a themed gingerbread house. As tasting began 1 of the judges announced that he in fact did NOT like gingerbread AT ALL and so the only contestant’s cookies that he actually thought were okay were the ones that the other judges said were completely under spiced. Maybe DON’T set that challenge with that judge?

  • laureljean  on  October 22, 2020

    First off, Jenny, thank you for sharing the review. I would have missed it. Secondly, I agree totally with your recap. I never would have thought about the Americanization of the show, but you’re right. And it’s not working. They need to go back to the more serious and professional format and cut out some of the camp. Like you, I still look forward to each episode, but also find myself grimacing at least once or twice during each one. Some of the challenges border on the ridiculous. Thanks for the excellent recap and I hope you return to feeling totally healthy soon.

  • rchesser  on  October 22, 2020

    I have been underwhelmed by this season of GBBO, that being said, I still look forward to it anyway just so I can be snarky in the privacy of my home. This year we have yet another pouty attractive snarky ( Lottie ) baker, that as usual irks me because she seems to be a clone of the two Rubys who formerly competed as the PAS’s ( pouty attractive snarky ) bakers in previous seasons. The new host also rubs me in the wrong way ( he has a certain creep factor ) I am sure he’s a lovely person outside of his hosting duties but he just doesn’t work for me. Do any of my opinions matter? Nope, but I will continue to watch and learn while I snark away wishing I had half the baking acumen and courage to bake on camera every season’s bakers have.

  • Vanessa  on  October 23, 2020

    Re the Brownies. The challenge was to produce a brownie with a crackly top. But every baker produced a brownie loaded with toppings. (Whaaat? Nobody fulfilled that brief! No wonder they were all judged to be “too sweet”, too.)

    • Jenny  on  October 23, 2020

      Vanessa – I thought that too – if they would have made a simple brownie with all the requirements but no toppings – they would have not completed the brief.

  • Micklin  on  October 23, 2020

    Wow, I must not be watching the same season. I am quite entertained, learn so much from the baking dialogue and am thrilled you include some recipes along with the recap. I do agree the comedy routine is an unnecessary distraction but perhaps I’m being too American?? Wish you well.

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