For a variety of reasons we missed the first episode of the Great Sport Relief Bake Off. Nothing, however, was going to stop us from watching this episode, mainly because of our giant girl-crushes on Victoria Coren-Mitchell (VCM) and Kimberley Walsh. We love Kimberley, and still feel aggrieved on her behalf for being ROBBED of the Strictly trophy two years ago. ROBBED.
Anyhoo, moving on. Signature challenge? Bake 24 muffins which must be identical. Jennifer Saunders was very keen that the bakers understood this. We’d have preferred Jen to appear as AbFab’s Edina, but you can’t have everything.
Blokes were Chris Camara (sports commentator, apparently) and Ed Balls (#edballs). Chris was making sultana (bleurgh) and banana muffins, with a touch of cinnamon. Ed was making the same, but his had yoghurt in it. Kimberley made strawberry cheesecake muffins because she is a goddess, and VCM made Bloody Mary muffins, involving celery (meh) and vodka (get in). VCM is ace, and should be our best friend and teach us how to play poker.
VCM spent a great deal of time staring worriedly into her oven. Perhaps she should have ditched the muffins altogether offered Paul and Bezza several shots of vodka instead? Everyone knows Bezza likes a drop of the hard stuff.
Judging time. “The muffins should be well-risen, beautifully flavoured, and neither tough nor soggy,” intoned Jen. Chris presented his muffins (no innuendo). Paul looked unimpressed. “They taste like paint.” Ed’s were more successful. “A pretty good muffin.” Meanwhile, Kimbers’ efforts had sunk, but nil desperandum. “The flavour is FANTASTIC,” Paul announced, ignoring the muffin and looking adoringly at Kimberley’s false eyelashes. VCM was told her muffins did, actually, taste like a Bloody Mary.
The technical challenge was football pies. Er, football who the what now? Double crust, filled with mincemeat, onions and peas, with a football “design” on the top, apparently. Everyone looked taken aback, but carried on gamely whilst Bezza and Paul discussed supporting Liverpool (Paul) and Everton (Bezza). Nobody had any idea how to make pastry well, apart from Ed, who looked smug. Kimbers read out the instructions. “Add two egg yolks, and small splash of water.” This didn’t help Chris, however. “How much is small splash?” Which, when you think about it, is a perfectly reasonable question.
VCM said her eyes watered when she chopped onions, so she put on a huge pair of sunglasses, looking like Roy Orbison in a blonde wig. Ed pratted about with hexagon-shaped bits of pastry that looked like flowers, not footballs, but we like Ed so we’ll say no more. VCM’s pies looked as pale as a Jane Austen heroine with consumption, because she’d forgotten to glaze them. Chris’s pies looked like roadkill, several days after a rogue Ford Fiesta had flattened the carcass.
Kimberley’s pies had what she described as a “sort of” football on the top, with nice and thin pastry, Chris’s effort was under-seasoned, VCM’s were described as “a nice bake” and poor old Ed’s were under-baked, collapsed, and lacked seasoning. He looked as disappointed as the other Ed just after David Dimbleby announced the winner of the General Election. Still, a man who gives rise to his own annual hashtag (#edballs) doesn’t care about that kind of footling detail.
He came fourth, Chris third, Kimberley second and VCM in first place. Who would win the whole thing overall? It was all down to the show-stopper, a three-layered cake representing an extreme sport. Chris started making an “extreme bodyboarding” cake, becauase riding shallow waves is the most extreme of all the water-based sports. His boarder looked like a corpse on a banana and caused Bezza to giggle uncontrollably. Kimberley recreated Mount Kilimanjaro in cake form, in memory of her Sport Relief climb a few years ago. It looked sensational. Ed made a complicated ski jump cake, complete with a fondant Eddie The Eagle and VCM went for a “round the world sailing” cake with, she explained, “the taste of the sea”. This turned out to be nothing more sophisticated than insane quantities of salt in a blue mess. “I’ve done a slightly rubbish cake,” she said, ruefully. Stick to vodka and cards, Vic. That’s a winning combination in anyone’s book.
Lovely Mary was on hand with a smile and just the right amount of praise. “All of them have been baked beautifully.” In the end, Kimberley won and everyone applauded heartily. You know why Bake Off is such a success? Because nobody is mean, or needlessly cruel. Everyone has a laugh, helps each other, and treats it as the good fun it is. We love it.