The Great British Bake Off’s Stacey said she was “relieved” not to be going through to the final as she was eliminated from the competition’s semi-final.
She was given the boot on Tuesday night’s patisserie-themed instalment of the Channel 4 series, clearing the way for Sophie, Steven and Kate to move through to the last leg of the contest.
Judge Paul Hollywood said it was the most difficult decision he had ever made on the show and admitted that he had to make the rare move of assessing her performance throughout the whole series, rather than the one episode, before making the choice.
After the result was announced, the Hertfordshire mum said: “I felt I had done so well to get so close to the final, but also sort of relieved that I would be leaving the tension of the competition.
“At the beginning of the episode I said that if this is the end of the road for me, then I am leaving happy.”
Her unfortunate exit came after she was named star baker last week, following a weak start with her signature offering of choux-moji and choux-nicorn buns which she struggled to complete in the given time.
Hollywood branded them “a mess” while co-judge Prue Leith said the emoji-inspired buns looked more like “curry” than a tempting dessert.
Even though she came second in the technical challenge – presenting an intricate Belgian Miserable cake that the judges described as the “most complicated” ever set on the show – and was praised for the flavours in her “flamingos in love” meringue-based showstopper, the victories were not enough to save her.
“Without a shadow of a doubt, my choux buns were my worst moment, I was just setting myself up for disaster,” she said.
But she continued: “For me it was the most unbelievable experience of my life to get to the semi-finals.
“I am a better baker now than I was before, and I learned that it’s good to push boundaries, and also that it’s not good to wear jeans in a hot tent.”
The show saw special success for Sophie, who was crowned star baker after winning the technical challenge and leaving the judges “highly impressed” with her ballet tutu showstopper.
Unlike her meringues, she refused to crack under pressure, cleverly using icing work to mask the damage to the meringue bodice, which she filled with a nine-layer opera cake.
Kate came back from a difficult previous week, delighting both judges with her cocktail-flavoured choux buns.
But her fruity rainbow showstopper divided opinion: Hollywood said the multi-flavoured, technicoloured masterpiece freaked him out, but Leith told him to loosen his mind and described it as “Kate on a plate”.
Meanwhile, it was a close call for Steven, who Hollywood said had not performed to “normal Steven standard”.
Though he has consistently impressed judges and viewers with his culinary skills, his choux buns looked “awful” and the heat in the tent caused the chocolate basket on his hot air balloon showstopper to melt away.
But he delighted presenter Sandi Toksvig with a second rainbow-inspired colour scheme, prompting her to joke that it was the “gayest” baking challenge of all time.
The Great British Bake Off series final will air at 8pm next Tuesday on Channel 4.