Northern Ireland

Great British Bake Off: Andrew's highs and lows

Andrew Smyth Image copyright Love Productions/BBC
Image caption Andrew is seen as the serious, clever baker but he also has a fun side

Like a perfectly-executed souffle, the excitement is rising in many households ahead of the final of the Great British Bake Off.

The last episode in the series will air this evening - and for devotees in this part of the world, there can only be one winner - Andrew Smyth.

Fans in Northern Ireland will be up to high dough (local lingo for anxious) as the 25-year-old from Holywood, County Down, attempts to become the seventh and last winner of the hit BBC One show.

For reasons of balance, the two other finalists are rosy-cheeked garden designer Jane and Candice, the PE teacher whose pout has become as famous as her peacock showstopper.

Here are a few tasty morsels, documenting Andrew's highs and lows.

Caramel jousting lows

Andrew has become known for his precision. The aerospace engineer brings his unique skill set to the tent, always measuring and calculating to keep his bakes consistent.

Image copyright Love Productions/BBC
Image caption Andrew's vast array of facial expressions have not gone unnoticed - they even made it on to a Buzzfeed listicle

But the amateur baker, who lives in Derby where he works for Rolls Royce, got off to a shaky start, coming last in the very first technical challenge with his Jaffa cakes.

They were, ahem, upside down.

A second low came in pastry week, when the man who designs jet engines for a living forgot to turn the oven on.

Image copyright Love Productions/BBC
Image caption The moment Andrew realised his oven wasn't on

He was still not very switched on in the next episode - botanical week, which was not his finest hour.

The Cambridge University graduate had a nightmare and it looked like he was heading for the door, or rather the tent flap.

His meringue's pastry was too thick, herby bread underdone and judge Paul Hollywood described his three-tiered elderflower cake as "dry as a bone". Mary Berry said the flavour was so subtle she couldn't find it.

While he was saved by another contestant's dodgy piping, it was all too much for Andrew, who melted GBBO hearts everywhere by having a wee cry.

Image copyright Love Productions/BBC
Image caption He described himself as a 'lucky duck' to survive botanical week

Another low point involved caramel jousting poles and his rather awkward placement of them.

Image copyright Love Productions/BBC
Image caption His marzipan cake was a Tudor feast for the eyes

The show is renowned for its innuendo but Andrew's marzipan showstopper on Tudor week took it to another level, sending Twitter into meltdown.

Several newspapers asked if it was "Great British Bake Off's rudest moment ever?"

Mechanised pies and other highs

Hailing from Holywood, it was only a matter of time before Andrew won star baker and it was dessert week which put him in the Bake Off hall of fame.

His tropical holiday roulade was, like many of his bakes, raided from the family cookbook - he has said he first got into baking thanks to his mother and grandmother.

Image copyright Love Productions/BBC
Image caption Andrew is rarely without his ruler

While one of his bakes in the Tudor episode raised a few eyebrows, he stepped it up a gear with his Leonardo da Vinci-inspired mechanised pies.

Image copyright Love Productions/BBC
Image caption These clockwork pies had the judges and fellow contestants a-cog

The Sullivan Upper former pupil hit another high note in the semi-final, where he was awarded star baker for a second time.

Andrew, who is a tenor in a choir, went all musical with his herby treble clefs and philharmonic fondants.

Image copyright Love Productions/BBC
Image caption Andrew's love of singing inspired this showstopper

As the final looms, Andrew's family, friends and fans - in Northern Ireland, Derby and further afield - will be hoping he can soar to new heights.

There has even been talk of a baguette Concorde.

As GBBO is pre-recorded, Andrew has been getting on with his day job at Rolls Royce while the programme airs.

And despite regularly baking for his colleagues, they have clearly not let him forget his new-found rising star status.

Image copyright @cakesmyth
Image copyright @cakesmyth

More on this story