Season 3 of The Great South African Bake Off has become one of the most popular shows on the BBC channels this year so far.
The success of the hit global format on Tuesdays at 8pm has seen the BBC Lifestyle channel grow its weekday slot average by 140 per cent over the year*.
It’s been a whirlwind of flour, eggs and a lot of sugar, but series three has so far had its fair share of baking highs and lows. Now after eight weeks of non-stop challenges, it comes down to three bakers battling it out to be crowned South Africa’s best amateur baker 2017. It really is bake or break time.
Desmond Solomon, Johannesburg
As the oldest contestant in series three, Desmond really does prove that experience pays off when it comes to skills in the kitchen. Forever cool and calm, unless mixing a bit of his Lebanese spices into the recipe, Desmond has won audiences over with his funny charm and delicious baking capabilities.
Desmond, if described as a bake, in his opinion would be described more like bread –more specifically a brioche, which he says is enriched with life experiences, but tender to the crumb.
Best bake: Lebanese croquembouche with chocolate, orange & halva (week 8 showstopper)
Star baker: Once – Pie and Tart week (week 3)
Baking fail: A raw six strand braided honey bread (week 5 technical challenge)
Simmi Ramnarian, Durban
Simmi has proved that she is the perfect blend of South African and Indian cooking styles and cuisines. Packed full with baking knowledge and a master connoisseur when it comes to big, bold and tantalising flavours, Simmi has treated Zola and Tjaart to a vast array of baked treats throughout the series so far. Simmi has become everyone’s best friend as the competition has progressed with her warm heart and self-assured manner in the Bake Off tent.
Simmi, if she were a cake, would describe herself as a honey drizzled vanilla cake as it is sweet and simple.
Best bake: Cumin bread pot filled with plaited dinner rolls (week 5 Showstopper)
Star baker: Once – Semi-final (week 8)
Baking fail: ‘Little baby’ uncooked custard slices (week 4 technical challenge)
Bianca Breytenbach, Cape Town
Bianca is perhaps the underdog going into the final this week. With a couple of close calls in the Bake Off tent this series, and funny facial expressions which could rival presenter Lentswe Bhengu’s – Bianca has captivated audiences with her unorthodox baking style. From mastering all things retro and ‘kitch’ to her falling short with her madeleine’s in chocolate week and getting everyone worried when white chocolate started being flung around the plate in a ‘decorative’ style. Bianca has kept a smile on everyone’s face with her panicked but hilarious baking this series.
If described as a cake, Bianca says she would have lots of different jewel coloured layers on the inside, be covered in a dark chocolate ganache and decorated with loads of gold sequins.
Best bake: Ndebele swiss roll with marula cream (week 7 signature bake)
Star baker: Once -Retro week (week 7)
Baking fail: Her flooding apple pie with probably the soggiest bottom in Bake Off history (week 3 showstopper)
Catch the finale of The Great South African Bake Off on Tuesday, December 12 on BBC Lifestyle