Val Stones has admitted she is “not a tent baker” after becoming the fifth contestant to exit The Great British Bake Off.
Eccentric 66-year-old retired headteacher Stones was a huge hit with viewers, inspiring headlines including “7 reasons why dancing Val who ‘listens’ to her cakes needs to win Bake Off”, “Who is Val from Bake Off? Probably the greatest person that’s ever been on your TV”, and “9 reasons that Val Stones is our spirit animal”.
Candice Brown was named star baker in Wednesday night’s episode, but it was Val who failed to master pastry week.
Speaking after her defeat, she said: “I am a reasonably good baker, but not a tent baker.”
Val won the public’s support with her habit of “listening” to her cakes, her love of mid-baking aerobics and her “informal” heartfelt bakes including a Noah’s ark bread creation which was so deformed that Paul Hollywood mistook a giraffe for a chicken.
The grandmother from Somerset said: “I always exercise even when I am making jam, you know you can get 4,000 steps done while making apricot jam.”
She added: “I have been called eccentric but I feel that I have reached the age in my life when I can say what I like, and get away with it – nannas can get away with it. The bakers call me nanna Val.”
She presented judges Mary Berry and Paul with the first “soggy bottom” of the series, coming second-last in the technical challenge with her Bakewell tart.
“We had to wait a while for it, didn’t we?” Mary joked.
The amateur baker also had a difference of opinion with the judges over her breakfast pastries after presenting pecan and maple syrup pin-wheels and apple and sultana topped cinnamon swirls which were labelled “underdone”.
“I actually like them a little bit soft in the middle,” the grandmother protested. “It’s how our family like them.”
Her fate was sealed when she did not get to the end of the showstopper challenge, leaving 12 amuse-bouches still in the oven as she ran out of time.
She was philosophical, explaining: “Of course I was disappointed but you have to just go with it. Somebody has got to have a soggy bottom, so it might as well be me.”
She also admitted to enjoying her time in the tent with Paul.
“I had some lovely times with Paul as I was always a bit cheeky with him,” she said.
Candice, a 31-year-old PE teacher from Bedford, created “delicious” Danish breakfast pastries in the signature challenge and came second in the technical.
But it was her showstopper which really blew the judges away, as she presented the judges with sausage meat, black pudding and apple amuse-bouches.
Paul gave her “10 out of 10″ for presentation and called her flavours “spot on”.
Val Stones will join Jo Brand on The Great British Bake Off: An Extra Slice on Friday September 23 at 9.30pm on BBC Two.