The charity version of The Great British Bake Off, The Great Sport Relief Bake Off, launched last night, pitting celebrities against cake.
The first episode, presented by Bake Off regular Mel Giedroyc, saw comedian Jason Manford, former England goalkeeper David James, Eastenders actress Maddy Hill and Samantha Cameron, wife of Prime Minister David Cameron, go before the dreaded judgement of Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry.
First, as always, was the Signature Challenge which this week was canapés – 24 made from rough puff pastry of the contestants’ own making. So, no pressure then!
Mary was, as ever, thinking practically, saying the canapés should be great to look at and, more importantly, be bite-size. Paul, meanwhile, mused that the celebrities had probably eaten many canapés over the years but never made one.
Jason, who pointed out that canapés were not exactly dinner-time staples for him while growing up, opted to produce a tray of ‘manapés’ made with scallops and black pudding, which Paul praised for their buttery pastry.
Meanwhile, Paul described the shape of Samantha’s Cornish crab and shrimp canapés as “absolutely perfect”. David’s jerk chicken, rice and peas canapés, alas, where undercooked and oversized.
Mary supplied the Technical Challenge this week – the classic French choux pastry confection, the Paris-Brest.
While Paul struggled not to get praline cream all over his face in tasting the professional samples, the bakers grappled with the challenge with Maddy Hill pondering that the choux pastry looked like mashed potato. Maddy and David both struggled with runny pastry, which refused to rise, with David also underbaking his and Maddy adding too much salt to her dessert. Jason’s had no such problems, with a good pastry rise and well-whipped cream propelling him to victory in this sector of the contest.
The Showstopper Challenge finished the event, with the celebrities tasked with creating a sporting trophy out of cake. Marry stipulated that it had to look good from all angles while Paul said the contestants would need to think carefully about the structure of their designs and how they would put it together.
Maddy’s achieved a good roll on her sponge with a golden yoga mat-inspired trophy, to the extent that Paul described it as “quite elegant”. Samantha went to town on the decoration of her surfing-inspired cake, producing a complex waves design on the sides with fondant icing while the inside comprised four layers of blue or yellow sponge set around a core of strawberries. Jason’s Ashes series-inspired Battenberg Cake suffered, however, with wet jam, dry sponge and a wonky presentation. Meanwhile, David had an even worse time, struggling to get all his cake baked and cooled in time and being forced to put it in the fridge to stop the icing melting. The result was a disastrously presented confection, which looked little like his aim of an American football helmet, though Paul did offer some consolation by complimenting the taste of the five sponge layers.
"genuinely really pleased"
In the end, though, there could only be one winner of this week’s Sport Relief Star Baker apron… and it went to Samantha Cameron, who described herself as “genuinely really pleased” to win. Paul said she “knocked everyone out of the park” with her showstopper, adding that it tasted as good as it looked.
In between the fun and frolics, Claire Balding visited Kenya to highlight the work Sport Relief does in the UK and abroad. She visited children living on the street and searching through rubbish to find food and highlighted the help Sport Relief gives to children like these by providing them with food, shelter and an education. She urged viewers to donate by texting Bake to either 70005 to give £5 or 70010 to give £10.