Screen grab from BBC News
Nadiya Hussain has been crowned the winner of this year’s Great British Bake Off, beating fellow contestants Ian Cumming, who wavered when he failed to add sugar to the dough of his spiced buns for the signature bake, and Tamal Ray, who scrambled when the creme patissiere for his toffee and marmalade iced buns did not set in time.
Hussain’s victory is not without some criticism, as some reporters claim that her identity as a British Muslim of Bangladeshi heritage played a very large role in her win.
Daily Mail columnist Amanda Platell claimed that if white contestant Flora Shedden “made a chocolate mosque, she’d have stood a better chance,” in reference to the chocolate carousel Shedden created in the semi-finals.
When the show’s judges, Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry, announced Hussain as their winner, The Sun’s TV columnist Ally Ross claimed BBC executives “no doubt did a multi-cultural jig of politically-correct joy.”
According to overnight figures, the final became the most-viewed television program of the year, clocking in with an audience of 13.4 million people. At its peak, 14.5 million viewers tuned in to witness Hussain’s victory. These stats beat last year’s final — Nancy Birtwhistle taking the win and pulling in an average overnight audience of 12.3 million.
Its online presence holds strong as well, with 300,000 tweets sent about the final alone. Many fans voiced their support for Hussain, while some showed pride as fellow Muslims.
Others stated Hussain’s identity as a Muslim held no influence over her victory, saying she won for her baking skills and not for any other reason.
For the final, Hussain chose to create a lemon drizzle cake — her husband’s favorite — as a wedding cake, as she was married in Bangladesh and never had an actual wedding cake of her own. The cake’s stand was embellished in red, white, and blue sari material.
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