An estimated eight million viewers tuned in last night (October 22nd) to catch the grand final of The Great British Bake Off on BBC 2. As the contestants battled with leaking pies, over-boiled pretzels and leaning wedding cakes, one finalist put their language skills to culinary use (contains spoilers).

Following a signature bake that saw finalists Frances Quinn, Ruby Tandoh and Kimberley Wilson making picnic pies, and a technical challenge that tasked them with making pretzels, the final test was to bake and decorate a show-stopping wedding cake. Of course, love was the theme – and Kimberley made sure the language of love was at the heart of her design.

The psychiatrist had a special stamp made which featured the word ‘love’ written in 28 different languages. Presenter Mel Giedroyc had a go at reading some of them, but apologised for her attempts at doing the correct accent. Kimberley’s choice was certainly romantic, particularly given she had previously admitted decoration was not her strongest skill. Mel observed that the amateur baker’s work station resembled a printing press, and the Telegraph‘s entertainment writer Alice Vincent commented that the resulting effect was “gorgeous”.

Unfortunately, Kimberley’s words of love wedding cake failed to win over the judges. As Ms Vincent said: “Disappointing result for Kimberley despite all of those translations.”

In the end, it was Frances who won with her three-tiered A Midsummer Night’s Dream wedding cake, featuring edible confetti petals made from mango, sweet potato and beetroot with marzipan bees. The children’s clothing designer was not the favourite to win, and had often been criticised by the judges for prioritising style over substance. However, her bakes were consistently unusual and always eye-catching – with the exception of her tower of biscuits, which collapsed.

Speaking afterwards of the moment she heard she had won, Frances said: “I don’t think I could speak for a little while. It was complete and utter shock. It was so close, such a close final.” She added: “I think it was the wedding cake at the end that really did swing it.”

While over the course of the first two rounds judges Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood hinted that student Ruby was in the lead, in the end it may have been Frances’s style – which she was earlier criticised for – that tipped the scales in her favour. Paul said she deserved to win because her wedding cake was the best, while Mary noted that Frances’s baking had consistently improved over the course of the competition with every fresh challenge she faced. “We’re very proud of her,” she said.

Lavish cakes are a popular part of the wedding tradition all over the world. It is believed the custom began in England during the medieval period, when cakes were stacked on top of each other and the bride and groom were challenged with kissing over the top of the edible tower. To do so was a sign they would enjoy a successful life together.

In France, the centrepiece of the wedding is a croquembouche. Rather than a cake, this is an elaborate tower of choux pastry profiteroles bound together with long strands of spun caramel. Meanwhile, in Scandinavia it is customary to tuck into a kransekake, which is a dessert constructed from rings of marzipan cake piled high to form a cone and filled with biscuits and chocolates.

Perhaps the oddest wedding cake tradition comes from Peru. Here, long ribbons are caught between the layers of cake and each unmarried female wedding guest is asked to choose a ribbon and pull. One ribbon is attached to a fake ring baked into the cake, and the woman who finds it is said to be the next to marry.