The Great British Bake Off’s dashed hopeful James said he was still “haunted” by his disastrous millionaire’s shortbread as his time on the show came to an end.
The father-of-two, 46, became the fifth baker to be booted from the Channel 4 contest on Tuesday night’s pudding special – but it was last week’s caramel horror that will stick with him.
Speaking after his exit from the show, which saw him fail to impress on all three challenges, he said: “I knew what I was doing was wrong but I carried on.
“I poured the hot caramel onto the hot biscuit bake and, of course, it went soggy. That will always haunt me.”
Judges Prue Leith and Paul Hollywood deemed his pudding performance equally unfortunate, labelling his sunken orange and ginger steamed pudding as “dense” and his uneven attempt at six peanut butter and chocolate puddings as “raw” and, ultimately, “a failure”.
When it came to the showstopper challenge of an ornamental trifle terrine, Hollywood said there was something wrong with almost every layer of his silver jubilee-inspired ornament – except the fruity prosecco on the top.
There were no hard feelings as the self-proclaimed “bald, baking banker” showered praise on Hollywood and hinted the critical chef had a softer side.
“I think deep down he is a little bit shy,” James said.
“One day he gave Liam a big hug when he was a bit down and all the bakers thought that was very endearing.
“You can see sometimes he is itching to help but can’t do that until the judging is over.
“When the cameras are off, he will come round and say ‘this is how you should have done it’.”
Meanwhile, former army officer and trainee stuntwoman Sophie baked her way to success with her adventurous ingredients earning her the coveted title of star baker.
The judges described her fig, ginger and honey signature with a tonka bean mascarpone as “extraordinary” and her technical challenge passed the taste and texture tests with flying colours.
Hollywood also praised her raspberry, yuzu and white chocolate buche as “pretty high-class”.
In a dramatic episode that saw Hollywood give out three of his famous handshakes and teenager Liam reduced to tears by his unset showstopper jelly, scientist Yan also impressed as she brought her chemistry skills into the tent.
She used her chemistry know-how to create a non-stodgy sponge and a syringe to create a jelly interpretation of a human heart, inspired by her “hero” father.