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Great Kiwi Bake Off: The battle of the strugglers

Presented with the recipe for a gluten-free Orange and Lavender Tea cake, Joel admitted to not having much of a clue what that involved.

And then he confessed this has been pretty much the case with every Technical challenge so far.

Pause, as the viewer thinks: Is someone going to say it? Is someone going to say what we’ve all been thinking since the start of this series?

Each week Joel has somehow bumbled his way through every challenge apparently without much knowledge at all – and every week he’s scraped through unscathed.

Go on, someone say it.

Cue Madeleine Sami: "I don’t think Joel has done any baking at all before this competition."

Thank you, thank you.

Meanwhile, Larissa helpfully points out that she and Joel are the only ones not to have won star baker yet. Are we being led to a certain conclusion here, viewer? Stay tuned.

First back to the beginning where we discover that in "free-from week", Annabel, who can basically cook anything on earth, is gluten-free. So, just maybe she has an advantage making a, you know, gluten-free cake.

But wait, her cake has collapsed in the oven. She has to start again.

And then, guess what, she produces, according to Sue, a "very nice cake". Surprise.

But what about our favourites for the drop?

Joel’s cake: Not so great, in at number five.

Larissa’s cake: "Very delicious". And number one.

Oh dear, Joel, it’s not looking good and next up is a gluten-free cheesecake. Has he ever made one of those before we wonder.

Larissa’s talking herself down again despite her technical-round performance and is predicting a potential disaster. While revealing the rhubarb in her cake is homegrown. Mm, showing off.

Joel is on lemon and lime cheesecake – classic but is it enough, asks Sue.

Well, Joel reveals it’s the only type of cheesecake he’s done before so that’s what it’s going to be. Still that’s one time more than most other things he’s made during Bake Off so perhaps there’s hope.

Asked by Hayley how he’ll distinguish between the lemon and lime cakes, Joel’s helpful suggestion is to add spinach to the lime one to emphasise the green. OK then.

We interrupt coverage of Joel’s descent into madness to reveal Hannah says her cake smells so good in the oven that she wants to be in there with it. Health and safety rules in the tent prevent this so fortunately that’s nipped in the bud as an idea.

Anyway, back to Joel. He’s produced something he describes as "sloppy Joes". Which then splits in half as he tries to get it on a plate. We’re starting to think he’s definitely not going to be star baker this week.

Judging time.

Joel puts his "Sloppy Joes" cheesecake before the judges. Source: 1 NEWS

Hannah’s pumpkin effort is spicy and good, Annabel’s chai latte cheesecake is the usual triumph. As for Jeffrey, he’s in "well baked" territory says Dean, and Sue gave a little squeak – almost certainly a positive sign.

Joel’s needed more time in the oven, flavour gets a "nice", but Dean notes the lemon cake "doesn’t sing out I’m lemon" and that’s never a good thing. Not a total shocker though, and that’s as good as we can hope for at this stage, I think we can all agree.

Whatever happened to the other potential exiter, Larissa? A creamy, melt-in-the-mouth job on the raspberry, white chocolate and rhubarb number apparently.

Sue gives her a "biggest surprise" of the day rating. And, oh my gosh, she’s star baker. (There are tears.)

Sue, on the other hand, worries about Joel. We all do by now.

Hang on a mo though, Stacey didn’t do so well on the cheesecake – "seepage", ugh.

Could Joel scrape through again?

No, of course he couldn’t. He’s gone.

"Fair enough," he says. And with that the man who punched above his baking weight (measured in grams presumably) leaves the competition.

- By Paul Smith. (We hope there are no recap-equivalents of soggy bottoms this week while Bridget Jones is away.)

The Great Kiwi Bake Off is on TVNZ 2 on Tuesdays at 7.30pm and then on TVNZ OnDemand.

Larissa and Joel - still smiling. Source: TVNZ