The Great Kiwi Bake Off final recap: After a delightful 10 weeks a winner is crowned

Four bakers, three challenges, two judges (and hosts), and one magical winner.

And just like that, The Great Kiwi Bake Off is over. Cooked like a carrot cake. Gobbled up like a Christmas trifle.

There were no losers – this is the sweetest show on telly, remember – but right now, our winner Annabel is probably sitting pretty in Timaru, glass cake stand trophy in-hand, looking very much like the sparkly Star Baker who got the cream (or at least had the best idea of how to use it).

It's been less of a roller-coaster of a series, and more a gentle Lime scooter ride taken by sensible people who follow the road rules. Those of us following along at home really haven’t had to do too much work, and while it could have ended badly, there have only been a couple of near-terrifying moments that could have thrown us off course.

Oh, and there’s been no screaming in terror as we realise there’s absolutely no suspension on this thing...

Great Kiwi Bake Off winner Annabel.
Great Kiwi Bake Off winner Annabel. Source: TVNZ

In the wonderfully not-breaking-copyright words of Mr Jeffery Poole, "Let’s get this party hot, let’s get it started in here,"TVNZ’s legal department thanks you for that sensible tweak, sir.

The first big grand finale difference was more baking! That’s right Bake Off purists - and I know there are a lot of you out there. The bakers did a Signature, Technical AND a Showstopper bake to prove just who should win the crown.

First cab off the rank was a sausage roll Signature Challenge. And like West Side Story, it was a war of two gangs: The Rough Puffs vs The Flaky Pastries. After 10 weeks, I still don’t really know what the difference is, but that’s what I'm not in the tent, I guess.

There were 'Southern Man" rolls from Southern Woman Stacey (I don’t know what gender's a sausage roll, so don’t bother asking), teacher and Cool Mum Hannah jammed hers full of hidden veggies, Jeff plaited his so delicately despite the approximately seven types of meat inside, while Annabel spiced hers up with a bit of herb in the crust.

They all looked delicious, the judges played a coy long-game, giving very little away, and I was left questioning why pies get all the glory, when the humble saussie roll really is the true star of any bakery.

Things got technical next, with Dean putting in a formal request for 12 Chelsea buns. Was it a sponsor thing? Did he just want to stock up on more bakery-esque goods for the car ride home? Either is possible, because let’s be honest, neither sausage rolls nor some iced buns are entirely final-worthy, right? It’s no croquembouche tower.

And yet somehow, it wasn’t smooth sailing for our heroic final four.

Milk wasn’t quite spilt, but it did require some serious math when confusion over the recipe hit the tent like a thunderbolt. Then there was the fight between Hannah and Jeff over whose were more burnt.

It didn’t matter much in the end, because the vague judges just seemed to be placing all their bets on the final Showstopper Challenge - a Kiwi picnic-themed, illusion cake.

A cake that looked like something is wasn’t.

That tricked the eye.

And they had 5 hours to do it.

"I want to be impressed," Dean said, channelling The Terminator.

And to be honest, the results were very impressive.

Stacey had a flippin’ mustard bottle suspended in mid-air over her super cool burger and fries cake (that did look like a very larger burger – and fries!) and I want that in my life beyond this show.

Hannah’s floral picnic basket was inspired by her kids and might have been the cutest thing on the show since Sonali’s adorable sea creatures from week one.

Meanwhile Jeff, decided he wouldn’t practice his final ever bake and seemed to only decide to make a cake after the challenge had begun. That meant a nervous wait while his wife screamed across Auckland, special baking tin in hand, to save the day.

"Sometimes Jeff nails it, and sometimes he’s not too sure…" Sue, it is you who has nailed it, mate.

Eventually, he had an utterly clever Heston Blumenthal-like bread and butter cake, and a very unromantic reunion with his wife.

But in the end, there could be only one. And perhaps in the least surprising decision of any show ever, the judges crowned Annabel our winner.

Her impressive fish and chip illusion cake was as delightful as you could imagine, and she has proven herself time and time again throughout the series – despite being the youngest baker.

Uncle Jeff called her such a sweet young girl, and Hannah beamed with pride as she referred to Annabel as her little sister. And with a bunch of flowers that were bigger than her, surrounded by pals, family and other contestants and huddled under umbrellas in the glorious Auckland weather, the Timaru teen looked genuinely surprised.

And that is the reason this has been the most delightful 10 weeks of television: nice people, nice food and genuinely nice moments.

Angel Annabel has her winner fairy wings - and a rather fetching glass cake stand - everyone is full of cake, and still best friends.

Bring on season two, I say!

The Great Kiwi Bake Off is available on TVNZ OnDemand.

Bridget Jones is a TVNZ publicist and former entertainment reporter.

The Great Kiwi Bake Off, Episode 10.
The Great Kiwi Bake Off, Episode 10. Source: TVNZ