Inside the tent, the gingerbread witch pauses molding toads out of green choux pastry as Paul and Prue approach.
Paul rubs his hands together. “Alright, Kat, tell us what you’re doing for your signature.”
“I’m originally from medieval Germany, so a lot of my flavor inspiration comes from there,” the witch explains. “Today, I’m making a black forest gateau. I’m using boiled tarantula embryo, just the yolks, to give my cake a richer texture.”
Over a drawing, Noel continues: “Kat’s choux au craquelin toads will sit atop a bed of dark chocolate biscuit soil, held aloft by three devil’s food sponges, which will be sandwiched with blood red jam from her own fruit bat cave.”
Outside a gingerbread house in the woods, a boy and girl run by, giggling and dropping cookie crumbs.
“Katharina Schraderin is a gingerbread witch from Enfield,” Noel narrates. “While her own children have long flown the coven, she frequently entertains her two young neighbors, Hansel and Gretel.”
The witch beckons the children over to her stoop. The children, on a sugar high, eyes glazed over, accept more cookies from her.
“Aren’t they’re so cute? They’re so cute I could just eat them up!” the witch gushes.
“This is the Cauldron edition of the Witchen Aid stand mixer. It’s the latest and greatest,” the witch shares proudly. “One hundred percent dragon-welded steel, sturdy as a–” She taps it with her wand, and the mixer suddenly whirs to life, spraying flour all over her long black robes. “Oh, sod it.”
“I’m feeling good today. Woke up early, read my tea leaves, danced with the devil, released some endorphins. I’m ready to bake,” the witch smiles.
She raises her cleaver high and slams it down on a pile of shiny green dung beetles.
“No hex pie is complete without a little minced beetle toe. I also tossed in some love charms for Paul,” the witch winks as she sprinkles the toes in.
Later, the witch sits in front of her oven, staring in. “I swear, baking the perfect pie crust is harder than remaking your image after allegedly fattening children for your own personal feast.”
The other contestants are hard at work. The witch is at her station, doing some kind of ritual.
“For a good bake, I always pray to Hestia first,” she nods.
“Bakers, 10 minutes left!”
“Eye of newt, eye of newt,” the witch mutters as she frantically searches through a fridge. “Where is my eye of newt?? It was just here.”
Another contestant sheepishly pipes up. “Sorry Ginger… ma’am… I needed to make room for my buttercream,” he quivers.
“But now the newt eyes will be all mealy! Everyone knows eye of newt needs to be chilled at exactly zero degrees centigrade!” She looks around the room: shrugs all around.
“To heaven with you millennials! No one forages natural ingredients anymore,” the witch says through tears. In frustration, she dumps her bake into the trash, then takes off on her broomstick.
Later, the witch walks calmly back into the tent and addresses the other bakers. “I’d like to apologize to the lot of you for wishing you to heaven. That was unkind. Please accept this magical protection amulet.”
The witch places sugar crystals on each baker’s table. The other bakers, suspicious, surreptitiously slide them in the trash.
“Now that is a showstopper,” says Prue as she examines the witch’s creation. “I could just live in that gingerbread house.”
“It’s glorious,” says Paul. “And what are the window shutters made of?”
“Homemade licorice, flavored with root from my forest. Really scrummy. Excellent ingredient if you want to mind control others…” the witch trails off.
Later, outside the tent, the witch explains, “I came to baking late in life. I was 300 when I started baking. But that hasn’t stopped me, has it?”
The witch speaks to a Ouija board, “Mum? Guess what? I got Star Baker!” The board belatedly begins to spell out a sequence: W-H-A-T H-O-N-E-Y? S-P-E-A-K U-P!
The witch shouts this time, and the board responds: I-M S-O P-R-O-U-D O-F Y-O-U. The witch wipes tears from her eyes.
A producer asks Kat a question.
“The final? I’d be right chuffed! Honestly, I’d make another deal with Lucifer if that meant I was getting through to the final.”
The witch is being interviewed at her home. Her sisters literally float in and out.
“My sisters and I are strong, independent women. That’s intimidating to a lot of people, so they call us ‘witches.’ That’s Enfield cheek for ya!”
“Kat’s been practicing all day and all night,” adds her sister. “If anyone deserves to win, it’s her.”
“My sisters have put up with a lot of mess. Once I , I’ll redo our home, this time in sturdier biscotti and caramel. And maybe open a bakery. We’ll call it Scones by Crones.”
Since the bake-off, the gingerbread witch has been hosting dinner parties for the other bakers. “The gang’s all here,” the witch exclaims. “I’m not at all disappointed that I didn’t win. The real win was the friends I made along the way.”
She serves bubbling witch’s brew to the voodoo dolls, one for each contestant, arrayed around her dining table.