BLOG: Kate Henry reviews Week 8 of the Great British Bake Off, and she's determined not to make any cream horn-related innuendos

I can’t believe we’re at the quarter finals already!

Last week our lovely fireman Mat went down in a blaze of glory amidst clouds of radioactive fondant. This week, the tent has an air of extreme competitiveness about it. Gone are the heady days of baking frivolity, we have entered a new era of get-down-and-dirty-baking. The gloves are off.

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First up, the signature challenge. 24 Cream Horns and ‘there is absolutely nothing funny about that’ says Sue. I have decided that this week’s smut-ometer could go off the scale, so I am going to attempt a degree of decorum and not allow any intimation of filth. One can but try.

Extensive discussions follow as to whether you should add strong bread flour to the pastry for or not. Paul Hollywood thinks you should, but he also thinks everyone should be doing full puff pastry – which will be tricky under the time limit. I would have opted for rough puff myself as it is quicker and when you don’t have much time, it is often the best way to go. Tamal and Flora are going full, though – this is very brave.

Nadiya doesn’t like cream horns and I have to say, they wouldn’t be my ‘go-to’ pastry, but as she pulls her perfectly delicious looking horns from the oven, I am beginning to think I might have been a little hasty.

Ian has already jinxed himself by telling us that this challenge is easy. I met him a couple of weeks ago at a do and he was absolutely delightful. Incidentally, I also met Stu – remember him? He went out in week one after putting beetroot in his Black Forest Gateau. He was completely charming too, still wearing his hat but he had beautiful teeth…

I digress. Flora is making everything but the actual horns and the contents of her horns are dribbling out profusely. Freezer panic ensues as she chaotically pulls all the contents out of several freezers onto the floor and slides her horns inside. (No, I won’t be swayed.)

In the end, she disappoints, as does Ian – his bravado hasn’t paid off this time. Nadiya delivers perfect horns and is praised profusely.

Next up the technical: Mary’s Mokatines. Little squares of Genoise sponge in the style of the late great Fanny Craddock – if you don’t know who this is, Google her now!

Paul is the only one who doesn’t know the technique to make a Genoise sponge – a cake with no raising agent – and is whipping up his egg whites separately. His sponge turns out like warm rubber and he comes last. Nadiya has seen these little fancies in Mary Berry’s book and produces perfectly iced cakes and tops the class again.

So on to the showstopper challenge. A religieuse a l’ancienne. A sort of tower of eclairs made to look like a nun apparently. Flora and Paul are at the back of the pack so it is important for them to do well.

There are thousands of eclairs on benches for most of the challenge and none of the bakers seem to want to begin making the tower. The problem is that the nuns have to stay upright for at least two hours before they are judged. Squidgy fillings and choux pastry don’t make for sturdy towers.

What most people don’t know is that there is always a long gap between finishing your bakes and judging time. You leave your bakes in the tent, trusting that a naughty squirrel won’t decide to have a little nibble before you’ve finished your somewhat panic-filled lunch.

Paul is doing banana again. He’s going all out to make sure Paul Hollywood can taste the banana this time and unwisely opts for some added banana essence. This is bound to be a mistake.

Nadiya has lost her mind too and is doing bubblegum and peppermint flavoured eclairs. I don’t like this idea one bit and it transpires that neither do the judges. Nadiya falls from her pedestal.

Flora’s Nun has begun to collapse and Mary and Paul can’t taste any of her flavours. Tamal – Oh hello Tamal – does well with his appropriately flavoured passion fruit eclairs and his tower has stayed up, tall and proud. Absolutely no sleaze there what-so-ever.

Paul has a total disaster and his nun is a messy éclair graveyard, reeking of synthetic banana essence. Poor Paul. Nadiya still manages star baker even though the judges didn’t enjoy her bubblegum creations and Paul leaves the tent for the final time. But we will never forget the bread lion Paul. Hear him roar!