SINCE making its TV debut in 2010, The Great British Bake Off has taken the world by storm.
And pupils from across England and Wales flocked to Portsmouth High School to take part in a Great British Bake Off-inspired competition run by the Girls’ Day School Trust.
‘It was really nerve racking when we were waiting for the judges and I can’t imagine how nervous they must be on the Bake Off.Ruby Newport Spiers
Girls travelled from as far away as Cardiff, London and Brighton yesterday to take part in the semi-final of the national competition – and only four of the 14 avid bakers could advance to the final.
They were tasked with creating a Mary Berry-inspired lemon Victoria sandwich recipe and were judged on taste, texture and appearance.
The girls also had a technical design challenge to create plans for cupcakes, which they will have to make in the final.
Mo Bosch, head of communications at GDST, said: ‘We ran the competition three years ago and head teachers voted for it again because it was really popular.
‘We decided on lemon cake because of the saying “When life hands you lemons, make lemonade” and most of the girls who are competing are already quite keen bakers.
‘Portsmouth High has fantastic facilities on offer. I think the girls like the element of competition the most.’
There was home success as Ruby Newport Spiers, 13, and Grace Waring, 14, both of Portsmouth High School, impressed the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Councillor David Fuller, and Lady Mayoress Leza Tremorin, who judged on factors such as taste, appearance and effort.
Ruby, who started baking with her nan aged three, said: ‘When we were baking, it was a lot of fun and I was trying really hard to concentrate – I just forgot about the competition.
‘It was really nerve-racking when we were waiting for the judges and I can’t imagine how nervous they must be on the Bake Off.’
Grace said: ‘I still don’t know if it has really happened – it hasn’t sunk in yet.
‘It is a relief that it has happened though because I was really nervous.’
The pair will now be practising baking their cupcake designs at home in preparation for next month’s final in Sheffield.
On his judging role, Cllr Fuller said: ‘It was really difficult to judge and the standard was excellent and the marking was very close. It has been a pleasure coming in and tasting the cakes.’