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RECAP: The Great Australian Bake Off - Episode 8

RecapLeah Rocke

image - Foxtel

There are only five bakers left! Olivia can't believe she made it past week one, and Fiona wants to "rise with the dough." That or she's auditioning for a hosting job, which comes with this magnificent spread:

Signature Bake: Finger Buns

The signature bake this week is an Australian classic, the finger bun. The judges would like 24 identical iced finger buns. Unlike Bakers Delight finger buns which are baked at 28 a tray, these finger buns must also be filled.

Olivia is making blueberry and custard finger buns. They'll be filled with custard and a blueberry compote, and topped with a blueberry and lemon glaze. With half an hour to go, Olivia hasn't put her buns in for a second prove, so she could be in trouble. Maggie and Matt love the flavours, but since the dough isn't proved properly, it tastes more like a bread roll than a finger bun. 

Fiona is making Vietnamese coffee finger buns for her dad. The dough is made from Hokkaido milk bread, filled with condensed milk chantilly cream, and topped with coffee icing and tempered chocolate. Fiona didn't get to finish decorating her buns, so there are squares of tempered chocolate left on the bench. The judges like the flavours, but the milk bread is a bit too heavy for a finger bun.

After his success bread week, Antonio has once again decided to prove his dough only once. The finger buns will have vanilla and coffee filling and an almond praline. As Maggie and Matt visit his bench, they say his dough looks good, so he might get away with only one prove. He's making a milk glaze rather than an egg wash glaze because that's his preference, but we can see that Matt disagrees. The finger buns aren't identical because he ended up having to make a second batch of dough, but he has a way with flavours, and the judges love them.

Monica's finger buns have a citrus theme, with an orange cream filling and mandarin icing. Monica was the only person who didn't have any problems with the timing of this challenge, so her finger buns are beautifully presented. The judges are a little confused with some of the decorations. They taste great, and Maggie and Matt can't stop eating them. Mel applauds thie homage to Ed Sheeran's beard, and Maggie asks who Ed Sheeran is.

Liesel is making passionfruit finger buns, filled with passionfruit curd and chantilly cream, and topped with passionfruit icing. The dough is very good, but because Liesel struggled for time at the end, the passionfruit curd is inconsistent, and Matt's bun has more filling than Maggie's.

image - Foxtel

Technical Challenge: Bee Stings

Bee stings are traditional German sweet yeasted cakes topped with almonds and filled with honey cream. Monica says the most challenging thing about this bake is that she doesn't know what it's supposed to look like. Liesel has an advantage because her mum used to work at a German cake shop, although she's never made one herself. Everyone has their cakes out of the oven with ten minutes to go, but they need to cool down before they're filled.

From fifth to first, we have Monica, Fiona, Liesel, Antonio and Olivia. The judges are impressed with all the bee stings, and there's not much separating fifth from first. Liesel would have been first except that she dropped her tray as she put it into the oven, so the bottoms didn't cook properly. This end of the competition is tough.

image - Foxtel

Showstopper: Decorative Babka

A babka is a Polish celebration cake made from sweet yeasted dough, filled with cinnamon or chocolate swirls. Our bakers' babkas can either be made in a tin or freeform.

Olivia is making a three-tiered spiced babka with figs and spices for the filling. She's put szechuan pepper in her spiced filling, and Matt warns her that it could overpower the other flavours. It looks fantastic, and Maggie is happy that the spices haven't overpowered the figs. Matt says it's what a babka should be, so it looks like Olivia's safe for this week.

Antonio is making a pannetone with an orange and lemon flavoured dough, a custard filling and marzipan fruit decorations. After seeing everyone else's tiered babkas, Antonio's concerned that his pannetone isn't enough of a showstopper. Maggie and Matt say it's not a babka, but it tastes so good that Maggie asks Antonio to make her one for Christmas, which is almost as good as winning the show.

Fiona's East Meets West babka has two tiers, a matcha tea infused dough, and chocolate and coconut flavoured custards for the fillings. She's decorating her babka with tempered chocolate. She's working on more elements than usual, but it's a showstopper and she needs to do well in this challenge to stay in the competition. The dough is a bit more cakey than the judges would have liked, but they love the flavours, especially the white chocolate and matcha.

Liesel is making a free-form babka, which she will shape and stack to look like a tree. The tiers will have alternating layers of chocolate and hazelnut, and cinnamon and pecan. The decorations will be tuile biscuit leaves. She's a bit concerned that it's too small to be a showstopper, but she's the only person who has made her babka without a tin. The flavours of the fillings are great, but the dough is too thin and the babka is too dry.

Monica's baking a three-tiered babka with three different kinds of dough: one milk based, one water based, and one without butter. The top two layers will have a banana and caramel filling, and the bottom layer will be filled with chocolate and hazelnut. She's decorating the top with mini babkas soaked in rum. It's huge, and I was worried it was going to fall apart when she took it up to the judges' table, but it was okay. Matt says it's definitely a showstopper, and it tastes as good as it looks, so Monica's made up for her placing in the technical challenge.

Back in the potting shed, the judges discuss this week's bakes. Star Baker is between Monica and Olivia, and the judges have a tough decision to make over who goes home as Fiona, Liesel and Antonio all had bad bakes this week.

Monica wins Star Baker for the second week in a row, and Fiona is going home. Liesel and Antonio are shocked at the decision knowing that their names were also under discussion. Bye Fiona! It's been fun watching along with you on Twitter!

You can find all the recipes from this week’s episode on the show’s website.