With the new series nowhere in sight, last night saw the return of Stand Up To Cancer Celebrity Bake Off, which for most Bake Off fans (like me) will definitely do, while we’re waiting for the real thing.
Who knew that geeky Rob Beckett would be good at doing something other than flashing his giant toothy cheshire cat grin and corny jokes? Rob bragged during the opening titles that he’d passed his GCSE Food Tech exam in school. He then made a promising start on last night’s first episode when attempting the requested millionaire’s shortbread, with his own personal twist – trying to create a similar style to his favourite Ferrero Rocher. Surprisingly, it worked amazingly well and earned him favourable praise from both Prue and Paul. Sadly, after this first triumph Rob’s second stab at the technical of vegan chocolate and raspberry tarts didn’t go nearly as well – no chance of any soggy bottoms here, just overbaked and rock hard, and his ganache was anything but silky and shiny. More reminiscent of a cow-pat – his own words!
The ubiquitous Tom Allen also made an appearance but faired less well than he’d hoped, blatantly implying he had an advantage, as co-presenter of the Extra Slice program with Jo Brand, under his belt. Unfortunately, this did nothing at all to assist in his own attempts at baking – although not inedible, all three of his bakes most certainly looked as if they’d been made by a very small child, left alone with a multitude of modelling clay to create havoc with.
Star War’s Daisy Ridley should definitely stick to acting and looking slightly weird, instead of going anywhere near an oven, as her baking proved to be even weirder still – I guess that’s vegan baking for you.
And finally the delectable Alexandra Burke took the Star Baker pinny with unashamed delight, as she won the technical challenge for her vegan chocolate raspberry tarts, and then her perfect ‘between the sheets’ showstopper cake, which both Prue and Paul loved.
One thing sadly missing from the show was the quirky and now, obviously, quite compulsory addition of Noel Fielding. Having just become a dad for the second time, he was at home doing more important things than playing in the kitchen and making people laugh. So Matt Lucas was left to go it alone, leaving his jokes to fall flat on the floor, reminding me vaguely of one hand clapping.
Nevertheless, it’s lovely to see the luscious Bake Off back for now. Everyone get baking and sharing – whether you manage to produce a triumph or a disaster, you just can’t beat having your cake – and eating it!