The latest series of GBBO has been embroiled in drama from the outset – not least because Prue Leith accidentally revealed the winner on Twitter just hours before the final.
But for fans who managed to escape the massive spoiler, the grand finale of the hugely popular show, which controversially moved from the BBC to Channel 4 this year, still proved an emotional rollercoaster for viewers.
Tuesday night’s dramatic finale saw Steven Carter-Bailey, Kate Lyon and Sophie Faldo competing to scoop the top prize in this year’s baking competition.
And it was former soldier Sophie Faldo, 34, from Surrey, who came away as champion after impressing judges with her showstopping entremet cake.
However, many viewers were left bitter that fan favourite Liam Charles, who was eliminated in the quarter finals, did not take the crown.
Emotional: Prue Leith and Paul Hollywood with Sophie Faldo, who has been crowned the winner of The Great British Bake Off 2017. The former Army officer and track cyclist admitted the win hadn’t quite sunk in yet
They were delighted when he made a brief appearance at the end of tonight’s show, along with other contestants, with viewers quipping that he was back to take the title.
One wrote ‘It’s Liam who should have been the winner’, while another joked: ‘I think Liam’s got this.’ Another fan of the student added: ‘Liam, come back Liam!’
And despite Sophie’s impressive victory, many viewers said the final had been spoiled for them by Prue’s gaffe earlier in the day – that saw her prematurely congratulate Sophie as the winner on Twitter.
One Twitter user commented: ‘Is there any point in watching #GGBO since the winner has been spoilt now?’
Another joked: ‘As Prue has supposedly given away tonight’s winner, can we expect C4 to show the alternative ending?’
Meanwhile one viewer tweeted: ‘Knowing the winner is like finding out Father Christmas doesn’t exist #ruined’.
The people’s champion? Viewers went wild when Liam appeared on the show towards the end of the grand finale – with many insisting he should have taken the crown
Robbed? Despite Sophie’s impressive victory, many viewers claimed that fan favourite Liam had been ‘robbed’
Big fan base: Many were delighted when he appeared at the end of the show, with some quipping that he was the ‘actual winner’
After lifting the coveted trophy, Sophie admitted her incredible win hadn’t quite sunk in yet as she gushed: ‘The idea of winning was such a minute possibility. I don’t think I will forget this day for as long as I live.
‘I have met some brilliant people and I got to the final. It is beyond anything I have dreamed of. What a privilege.’
Paul admitted to feeling ’emotional’ as Sophie was crowned winner, explaining: ‘Can I be honest? I got a little bit emotional there because Sandi [Toksvig] got a bit emotional so I walked off quite quickly and said it’s the wind in my eye.
‘It’s been a real learning curve for Sophie. To come up with that entremet for the final – I was really shocked at the standard.’
Prue added: ‘Sophie seems very calm but she’s not that confident, possibly because she knows everybody else has more experience than her. I am so proud of her. I am really proud of all of them.’
Despite Sophie’s sensational victory, it was closely-fought final – with Prue and Paul Hollywood describing it as one of the closest decisions in the history of the show.
Support: Hollywood (second right) admitted to feeling ’emotional’ as Sophie was crowned winner, explaining: ‘Can I be honest? I got a little bit emotional there because Sandi [Toksvig] got a bit emotional so I walked off quite quickly and said it’s the wind in my eye’
Ruined? Despite the dramatic grand finale, many viewers said it had been ruined by Prue Leith’s gaffe earlier in the day
The finalists were tested with small breads, iced biscuits, and the precarious Entremet, which was described as ‘the most unforgiving showstopper in Bake off History’.
Stephen, 34, from Hertfordshire, was an early favourite on the show, having won the title of Star Baker three times during the course of the competition.
But the momentum appeared to be with consistent baker Sophie going into the final, having been named Star Baker the week before.
At first, it did not appear the the signature bakes would suit Sophie, who admitted that bread wasn’t a strong point for her. She decided to make boules, ciabatta and brioche.
Sophie is supported by friend’s after learning of her win. Despite Sophie’s sensational victory, it was closely-fought final – with Prue and Paul Hollywood describing it as one of the closest decisions in the history of the show
However, the eventual winner impressed with her orange brioche plaits and wild mushroom ciabatta – although her spelt boules were ‘slightly underbaked’.
Kate appeared to be level-pegging with Sophie with her signature breads, with the judges gushing over her ‘neat’ smelt loaves, the texture of her flower breads, and her ‘divine’ filled curry bread.
Steven, however, was left ‘frustrated’ after he disappointed with his ‘inconsistent’ roasted garlic fontina and ‘doughy’ rye bread, although redeeming himself with his chocolate knots.
The final technical challenge was iced ginger biscuits – which Prue declared was ‘all about the bake’.
Kate had a minor drama after she realised her baking tray would not fit in the freezer for the dough to set, meaning she had to cut it in half.
And all three bakers desperately tried to get the intricate piping on their ginger biscuits finished in the allotted time – with Kate leaving half of hers un-iced.
Close call: The finalists were tested with small breads, iced biscuits, and the precarious Entremet showstopper, which was described as ‘the most unforgiving showstopper in bake off history’
What’s next for Bake Off winner Sophie?
Other past winners have gone on to sign lucrative book deals and even present their own television shows.
And following her dramatic victory on Tuesday night, Sophie says she plans to travel the world, before releasing her own cook book.
However, she stressed that she was keeping her options open – adding that she ‘never dreamed’ she would win the show.
Speaking after her win, Sophie gushed: ‘I never ever dreamed I would get to the final, let alone winning, so I am not sure where I will go from here.
‘It would be wonderful to write a patisserie book, but let’s see what comes my way. I would like to try travelling the world for inspiration for starters!’
Unsurprisingly, it was Kate who came bottom with her ginger biscuits, after running out of time. Sophie followed in second place, but it was Steven who took first place with his efforts, described as Prue as a ‘decent crack’ at a ginger biscuit.
Going into the final challenge, it was a level-playing field, with judges admitting that whoever won the showstopper was likely to take the crown.
The showstopper was the entremet – a ‘light, delicate, multi-layered cake that was originally served as a dessert between courses’.
The finished creation had to contain five layers, including sponge, and be covered with a ganache or a glaze.
Champion: For fans who managed to escape the massive spoiler, the grand finale of the hugely popular show, which controversially moved from the BBC to Channel 4 this year, still proved to be a rollercoaster ride for viewers
Mastering bread: Despite admitting that bread wasn’t a strength, Sophie impressed judges with her orange brioche plaits and wild mushroom ciabatta
Competitors: Judges were also impressed with Kate’s breads, but Steven’s efforts unfortunately left judges disappointed
Judges were blown away by Sophie’s ‘Ode To The Honey Bee’ entremet which contained seven layers, including honey custard, blackberry jelly, orange blossom sponge, lemon curd, and a lavender mousse.
Prue described the finished showstopper as ‘original’ and ‘absolutely beautiful’, describing the taste as ‘amazing’ after taking a bite into the entremet.
Paul, meanwhile, said he ‘loved it’ – expressing his surprise at the unusual lavender and lemon flavour combination.
Moving on to Kate’s Japanese-inspired white chocolate, yuzu and lychee entremet, Prue described it as ‘tremendously unusual’ and ‘beautifully done’.
Paul was impressed by the defined layers of the entremet, before going on to describe the taste as ‘sublime’ – adding that he would ‘eat it all day’.
How did she do it? Judges were blown away by Sophie’s ‘Ode To The Honey Bee’ entremet which contained seven layers, including honey custard, blackberry jelly, orange blossom sponge, lemon curd, and a lavender mousse
Difficult task: Sophie just about managed to get her icing finished on time, taking second place in the technical challenge
Steven (left) took first place in the technical bake with his intricately iced biscuits, while Kate (right) only managed to finish about half her batch
Written in the stars? This momentum appeared to already be with consistent baker Sophie going into the final, having been named Star Baker the week before
The judges less bowled over by Steven’s ambitious ‘Yin Yang’ entremet, which suffered due to timing issues.
The distinctive layers that the judges were looking were not there, while Paul said the texture didn’t impress him. Meanwhile, Prue said the overall effect was ‘too rich and sweet’.
Paul and Prue were left with a difficult choice between the two female contestants, with Sophie eventually just pipping Kate to the trophy.
This year’s competition has not been without its controversies, following the uproar over the popular show moving from the BBC to Channel 4.
Fan favourites, including Liam and Yan, were booted off the show prior to the semi-final, while Stacey – who left at the final hurdle – was vilified by fans on social media.
‘I f***ed up’: Prue Leith’s grovelling apology before final
Bake Off judge Prue Leith accidentally gave away this year’s winner hours before the show aired – blaming the time difference in Bhutan for her unfortunate gaffe.
The tweet posted at 10.37am read: ‘No one told me judging a GBBO final would be so emotional. I wanted them all to win. Bravo Sophie.’
A ‘mortified’ Prue, 77, quickly deleted the tweet and apologised for her gaffe, saying ‘I f****d up.’
She blamed her confusion on the time difference between the UK and her current location, Bhutan, which is six hours ahead.
New judge Prue Leith accidentally gave away the fact that Sophie was the winner in a tweet sent a 10.37am this morning, UK time
But her mea culpa didn’t stop Bake Off fans venting their fury via an explosion of memes on social media – many of which predictably featured Prue’s revered predecessor, national treasure Mary Berry.
Prue has expressed regret for her blunder, initially saying she was in ‘too much of a state to talk about it’.
When she first broke her silence following the slip-up, the upset-sounding judge said: ‘I’m in Bhutan. The time difference is massive. I thought that they got it six hours ago. I’m in too much of a state to talk about it. I f***** up.’
She has since tweeted to fans: ‘I am so sorry to the fans of the show for my mistake this morning, I am in a different time zone and mortified by my error.’
Contestants who narrowly missed out on the top spot
KATE LYON: FINALIST
Kate, a 29-year-old health and safety inspector from Merseyside, is a food historian and amateur blacksmith, who was crowned Star Baker in Caramel Week for a Sticky Toffee Apple Caramel Cake which impressed judge Prue so much, she even asked for the recipe
STEVEN CARTER-BAILEY: FINALIST
Steven, a 34-year-old marketer with a hat-trick of Star Baker titles, for masterpieces including a 100-piece biscuit chess set and BLT sandwich. Despite making it through to the semi-final, last week was a close call for Steven, who Hollywood said had not performed to ‘normal Steven standard’
STACEY HART: ELIMINATED IN WEEK SEVEN
Fans went wild after former teacher Stacey Hart, 42, was booted off the show at the final hurdle. Many believed that the wife of the millionaire ASOS co-founder should have been eliminated weeks earlier. Stacey, who lives in a £6 million house in Hertfordshire, had been irritating fans on social media for weeks – so much so that her name trended on Twitter at the start of every episode
LIAM CHARLES: ELIMINATED IN WEEK SIX
Student Liam Charles, 19, was a firm fan favourite, with viewers distraught after he was kicked off the show in the quarter-finals. Many took to Twitter to cry for ‘justice for Liam’ and express their sorrow through memes as they stated that fellow contestant Kate Lyon should have left the tent for her inconsistent bakes
CHEUN-YAN ‘YAN’: ELIMINATED IN WEEK FIVE
Popular Chuen-Yan ‘Yan’ left the Channel 4 show after failing to impress judges Prue Leith and Paul Hollywood during Italian Week. Yan had struggled under the intense 40C heat in the tent, which was filmed on one of the hottest days of the year. Her Sicilian cannoli fell apart in judge Prue’s hands, and her batch of sfogliatella didn’t have any lamination