Every year, the new

GBBO winner receives the iconic glass cake plate from Paul and Prue. This year, it was wild-card finalist Matty Edgell. As one of the season’s biggest underdogs, the 28-year-old gym teacher from Cambridge spent the entire season laughing at his own mistakes and commenting on his relatively limited baking ability and knowledge. Besides the other two baker finalists, the devastatingly precise Josh and ever competent Dan, Matty seemed to be the least likely winner. Was his victory just a lucky break? Or was he destined to pull through the whole time?

“In the Beginning…”

Matty didn’t get off to a brilliant start. His first signature bake, a tiramisu-inspired vertical layer cake, was not exactly a thing of beauty. He curdled his buttercream twice and ended up using his mascarpone cream filling to coat the outside of his cake, leading to a messy finish. Nevertheless, Paul pronounced the coffee flavor “perfect” and Prue declared it “very nice.”


While he did earn 5th place in the technical, his show-stopper cocker spaniel cake was a strange gray color and, according to Paul, it “look(ed) like it’d been run over.” Prue told him that she liked the flavor of the cake filling but that she’d “never seen a spaniel that color.”

At this point, I—and probably most GBBO fans—filed Matty away in the “mediocre” category. You know, that middle group of bakers that’s eliminated in weeks 3-7? But in week 4, chocolate week, Matty had his first breakthrough, producing a hazelnut and chocolate torte that Paul called “lovely.” He won 2nd place in the cheesecake technical and created a “beautifully engineered” chocolate box with “perfectly tempered” bonbons that Prue said she’d pay “a lot of money” for. He was crowned star baker, and for the first time we started to consider him an actual contender.

In the next five weeks leading up to the final, Matty remained steadily in the middle. He was never a shining stand-out, but he also never had complete disasters. You might say he was quietly competent. Whenever the camera turned on him, he was always ruefully laughing at something he had messed up or making self-deprecating comments about his lack of experience. At the same time, he won star baker in week 8, and Paul gave him a handshake for his sausage roll, proclaiming, “it’s delicious.” If we were surprised when he reached the final, maybe it was only because he had been flying under the radar of Dan, Josh, and Tasha’s brilliant baking week after week.

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Then There Were Three

In the final, Matty had produced crisp, firm eclairs in the signature. He came 3rd in the technical, but, according to Paul and Prue, was still in second place going into the final round. In the show-stopper, he turned out a colorful, brilliantly decorated three-tiered cake that leaned slightly but, according to Prue, was “really perfect” in every other way. Paul declared the chocolate layer to be “one of the best chocolate cakes I’ve had for a long time.” Set against Josh’s merely “adequate” Victoria sponge and Dan’s “flawed” lemon cake with underbaked macarons, the cake was more than enough to give him the win.

“I don’t know what to say,” Matty said after being declared the winner. He stood there smiling, speechless with the cake plate in his hand. “Never really thought I would be on this, let alone win this.”

Matty may have been stunned viewers by his win, but his fellow contestants weren’t. Dan declared he “had a feeling Matty was gonna win,” adding that “he’s done it on the day it counted.” The judges agreed: “He’s just got better and better and better,” Paul said. “And if you’re gonna smash it, you do it in the last challenge.” Matty’s win is an important reminder that it’s not about how many star bakers you win or how brilliant you were in the first nine weeks; it’s just about making it to the final and then winning that episode.

Now he can finally display his cake stand, but the 28-year-old champion has no time to rest on his victory. His next project? “A special commission” from his fiancee, Lara: baking and decorating a cake for his own wedding, set for June 2024. Maybe those roses he learned to pipe for Botanicals week will be put to good use.