Rahul Mandal has won this year’s Great British Bake Off, triumphing over fellow finalists Kim-Joy Hewlett and Ruby Bhogal.
Rahul was crowned 2018’s winner after a near-disaster in the show stopper.
He said: “I don’t know whether to laugh or to cry. I just feel I need to talk with my mum.”
The final three contestants were evenly matched, having each been named star baker twice during the course of this year’s series.
For the first time in the show’s history, one of the bakers’ three tasks took place outside the marquee.
The latest series has been a ratings success for Channel 4, who took over the show last year following its move from the BBC.
And there was no repeat of last year’s embarrassing gaffe that saw judge Prue Leith accidentally tweet the winner before the programme aired.
The three challenges
In the signature challenge, the bakers were called upon to make two batches of iced doughnuts – one set filled and one set rings.
Indian-born Rahul was complimented for his decorations, with Leith saying: “The colours are absolutely amazing and have such personality.”
Kim-Joy, who lives in Leeds, impressed with her amaretto creme diplomat doughnuts. Said Leith: “I might come back and eat that”.
And Hollywood praised London-based Ruby’s doughnuts adorned with chocolate rainbows: “They have great designs on the top and the decoration is very clever”.
Let’s go outside…
In a Bake Off first, the three finalists were then asked to take their cooking tools outside for a tough technical challenge.
Hollywood tasked the trio with making six pita breads and three dips in 90 minutes, using campfires for all the cooking.
Kim-Joy, a mental health specialist, won the technical for the first time.
Research scientist Rahul came in second and project manager Ruby took third.
But it all came down to the show stopper to see who would take the crown.
The finalists were given four-and-a-half hours to make a landscape dessert, painting a picture with cake, pastry and biscuits.
Drama ensued as Rahul created a rock garden, inspired by Victorian explorers bringing back exciting plants from around the world.
One of his storage containers smashed due to the 32C heat in the tent, meaning producers had to run in and remove all the pots and pans that might have contained broken glass, leaving him to start again – with an extra 15 minutes to make up for the time loss.
Kim-Joy’s Lost city of Atlantis was also applauded for being “original and colourful”.
But there were some questions on the amount of ginger she used in her biscuits and cakes – recipes that won her star baker in spice week.
Ruby’s magical landscape, with unicorns and mushrooms, was praised for its theme.
The choux pastry mountain impressed with its height, despite being overcooked, whilst both judges praised the delicious flavours, beautiful sponge and buttery biscuits.
But despite the grey colouring giving his bake a “rocky” but unappetising effect, Hollywood and Leith were blown away by the taste and complexity of Rahul’s final bake and he came back from the brink of disaster to win the final.
Rahul, who received the most handshakes from Paul Hollywood – the sign of an excellent bake – throughout the series, said: “This is probably the first time that I have got something like this, like a trophy.”
Leith said: “I think the amazing thing about Rahul and why I am so proud of him is that he came in unconfident, but he just kept going.
“He never reined in his ambition, he always tried to do a bit more than everybody else, and it paid off.”
Hollywood added: “He is one of those characters that you will miss when you are not with him.
“I don’t think he realises still how good he actually is and I think that’s what’s magic about Rahul.”