IMPRESSIVE amateur baker Sophie Faldo has officially been crowned winner of The Great British Bake Off 2017 after a tense final showdown.
The former Army officer, 34, was named top baker on Tuesday night’s last episode of the Channel 4 contest, but the news did not come as a surprise to many fans after new judge Prue Leith mistakenly tweeted the result earlier in the day.
Leith later said she was in “too much of a state” to talk about her misjudgment, putting it down to confusion over the time difference between UK viewers and her location at the time in Bhutan.
But her slip did not overshadow Faldo’s success, and she beat co-finalists Steven Carter-Bailey and Kate Lyon to the top spot after stunning the judges for a tenth week with her myriad culinary skills.
While bread has previously caused her problems on the show, she impressed with her offering of three different varieties for the signature challenge and came second on the ginger biscuit technical.
Her showstopper, a honey bee-themed version of a traditional entremet cake, saw her pull out all the stops as she created set lemon curd, white chocolate and lavender mousse, set honey custard and hazelnut feuilletine from scratch, as well as edible bees and a gorgeous marbled mirror glaze.
Leith described it as “stunning”, “beautiful” and “original”, while co-judge Paul Hollywood said that he “loved it”.
Presenter Sandi Toksvig held back tears as she announced Faldo’s win during a pre-recorded garden party attended by the season’s previous contestants and their families.
Commenting on her time in the tent, Faldo said: “It was very surreal, and I hadn’t allowed myself to think that I could win it up to that moment in time when they said my name and then the enormity of it hit me.
“I do keep my emotions under control, so there wasn’t really a point in the tent that I would burst into tears. It wasn’t going to happen at the end of the final either, because if anything it was a relief.
“I think I am pretty cool, calm and collected. I don’t mind working under pressure, so being in the tent working under time restraints and the hot weather made me more focused and better organised.
— British Bake Off (@BritishBakeOff) October 25, 2017
“I am a girl who is pretty unfazed by most things, and I really enjoy throwing myself into the deep end in anything, so the challenges in Bake Off were something I enjoyed, not feared.”
Throughout the 30 bakes she has presented on the show, Faldo was twice named star baker and has received the coveted Hollywood handshake.
As well as enjoying the “brotherhood” of the Bake Off family, which she said reminded her of her time in the forces, she said her favourite part of the show was patisserie week.
She said: “I am not sure where I will go from here. It would be wonderful to write a patisserie book, but let’s see what comes my way. I would like to try travelling the world for inspiration for starters.”
Faldo’s victory concludes the first Bake Off series since the programme moved from the BBC to Channel 4 after last year’s run, replacing former judge Mary Berry with Leith and presenters Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc with Toksvig and Noel Fielding.
Leith’s early result reveal came moments after she announced that she has signed up for another series of the show next year.
Faldo and all the bakers will join Jo Brand on Bake Off spin-off show An Extra Slice at 10pm on Thursday on Channel 4.