Less than a minute into the second episode of The Great Celebrity Bake Off for Stand Up To Cancer, I was already disturbed. Seriously, I don’t need to think about Paul Hollywood in a leotard. Ever.
Moving swiftly on, and this week’s first challenge – to create 24 scones – couldn’t be more perfectly timed given the controversy stirred up by the National Trust this week.
For those of you not in the know, a Cornwall-based branch of the National Trust advertised afternoon tea on Facebook, but accompanied it with a photo of scones with cream THEN jam (that’s the Devon way of doing things).
The locals were outraged and a national debate ensued.
Regardless of whether you’re team Devon or team Cornwall (Devon all the way – although this comment probably just got me fired), purists would likely turn their nose up at the creations of Stacey Solomon, Nick Hewer, Perri Kiely and Ricky Wilson.
For starters, Loose Women’s Stacey’s scones were cut into triangles. And they were flavoured with blueberries and lemonade. Despite a minor setback with the oven, the judges were impressed. Kaiser Chiefs lead singer Ricky Wilson went savoury, with seaweed and wholemeal scones that wowed the judges thanks to their umami flavours.
But it was Perri Kiely, from dance group Diversity, who nailed the challenge with his white chocolate and raspberry scones, receiving a Hollywood handshake. He promptly did a backflip in celebration. Notably, his scones were topped with lemon Chantilly cream then raspberry jam (yay, team Devon).
Countdown’s Nick Hewer whipped up a batch of cheese and chive scones, which differed vastly in size and were proclaimed overbaked by the judges. Yet this was only a taste of things to come.
The technical challenge saw the stars tasked with creating a Devil’s Food Cake – a super chocolatey cake with chocolate ganache.
Nick looked terrified by the recipe alone, proclaiming ‘there are 13 moves’ and had barely got his cakes in the oven as the other three were taking theirs out. This led to him frosting a hot cake, resulting in what Prue dubbed a ‘cowpat’. As expected, Nick received the wooden spoon for his efforts in this round.
Ricky came third with a respectable cake despite it trying to slide off the plate as he frosted it, followed by Stacey. Perri’s nice and soft, beautifully baked cake secured him first place.
After all the laughing and frolicking of the first two challenges, viewers were hit with the heart-breaking story of Eve, an 11-year-old girl who suffered from a rare form of bone cancer. She passed away last year, and to watch her story was truly gut-wrenching.
For me, it put the whole thing into perspective; this show is glorious to watch and it’s hilarious to see celebrities fail at baking… but they’re doing everything for a cause.
A short ad break allowed viewers to think this over before being transported back to the light-hearted goings-on in the tent. It was time for more of poor Nick’s shenanigans.
The bakers were challenged with creating a self-portrait croquembouche (for me, the challenge was simply spelling it, a task which took more attempts than I’d like to admit).
Perri produced a wondrous ‘Get a Haircut’ croquembouche, depicting him in a barber’s chair, complete with spun-sugar hair. It was impressive, even more so for a novice baker, although Paul and Prue said his choux buns needed more filling.
Stacey, possibly the most upbeat and endearing person on this planet, made a unicorn croquembouche covered in glitter and rainbows and everything that is pure in this world. Why? “If you cut me open you would see a spillage of unicorns and glitter,” she beamed.
Ricky produced a croquembouche in the shape of a microphone. It was genuinely impressive, and the judges complimented it for its looks, but also taste as it featured a maple and pecan buttercream (which he slathered on the base with his bare hands).
Despite five attempts at choux buns, help from Paul Hollywood and two different recipes, Nick’s Ode to Countdown could only be described as a disaster. The flat little pancake choux buns barely stuck on, the filling on the outside and a few numbers and letters splodged on for good measure.
He did try his hardest to sell it, though. “It’s the new choux,” he said. “It’s all the rage in Milan, it’s sweeping Italy and you’re the first to see it here.”
Paul, unconvinced, said they’d go nicely with his Sunday dinner as a Yorkshire pudding replacement.
As expected, Perri received the much-deserved accolade of star baker, but it was Nick who stole the show. Seriously, this entire blog could have been composed of the funny things Nick Hewer said or did. I’m still not over the fact he did the entire thing in a suit. Anyway, here’s a few of my favourite quotes:
“You trying filling a biscuit!”
“I know it’s for charity and somebody has to look like an idiot, but not an absolute idiot.”
“I urge you not to eat that.”
“If you go into the kitchen for the first time at 74 years old, you can’t expect to come out with a gold cup.”