RECAP: Samantha Cameron rises to the occasion on The Great Sport Relief Bake Off
What a coup for the Bake Off team! The Prime Minister’s wife, no less, joined three other celebrities on Great Sport Relief Bake Off last night. It is a brave move for someone in the public eye to willingly expose their dreaded soggy bottom for scrutiny by steely-eyed (and steely-haired) Paul and Mary. The brave ones last night were David Cameron’s wife, Samantha, EastEnder Maddy Hill, former England goalkeeper David James, and comedian Jason Manford.
We wonder what Downing Street domestic secrets will be spilled under pressure in the tent? We still remember the infamous Michelle Obama nugget that the most powerful man in the world had bad breath in the morning. No such personal hygiene revelation from this side of the pond, except that David is a good and ‘enthusiastic’ cook in the kitchen, but has not mastered clearing up as he went went along. Never mind if he runs the country during the day, David must pull his finger out in the kitchen!
The signature challenge was canapés, requiring rough puff pastry made from scratch. Paul observed that the celebrities would have been to lots of parties and eaten lots of canapés. Of course Sue’s tip in the narration that ‘the key thing is to keep the butter cool or the pastry will not rise in the oven’ was matched by the cheeky camera cut to David James’ goalkeeper hands squishing the butter and flour relentlessly. No, no, no! We shake our heads.
Jason’s scallop and black pudding topped with apple sauce canapé was declared a ‘decent job’ by Paul, to which the comedian heaved a huge sigh of relief as he collapsed into his chair. Samantha’s vol-au-vents were ‘absolutely perfect’ and ‘beautifully baked’ right through to the bottom. The filling was a Prime Ministerial family favourite of crab and shrimp curry combo.
David’s canapés were neither bite-sized nor dainty, not to mention they were RAW. We were not surprised. Maddy’s mini pizza canapés were ‘tasty, beautiful and flaky’, and she was thrilled with the comments.
The technical challenge was Mary’s recipe for Paris-Brest, made primarily with choux pastry, for those not familiar with this rich and sweet wonder. Maddy’s came fourth as her choux Paris-Brest were flat and more like biscuits, and very salty due to adding far too much salt when the recipe called for just a pinch. David came third, an improvement from the first challenge. Samantha took second and the winner was Jason, which excited him greatly. David actually asked if it would be worth him coming back the following day. We wondered the same thing too.
During the Showstopper round which called for a trophy cake, Samantha revealed her creative credential of a fine art degree and also told us she was a designer by trade. Her competitive streak came to the fore when she was ‘annoyed’ that Jason was using the same technique for construction on his cake. Her surprise element of fresh strawberries in the middle of the cake created its desired effect when the judges cut into the cake and went ‘Ooo’. Her surf trophy cake decorated with waves was ‘well executed’ and ‘well baked’. Samantha was so pleased that she gave a very small curtsy. Her cake was clean and efficient looking, much like the woman herself.
At the back of the tent, David had the ingenious idea of sticking a metal fork into the middle of his cake to conduct the heat to where it was needed when his cake just would not set in the middle. Mel was very taken by the idea as were we all.
His American football trophy cake was an overly ambitious affair of a five layered and flavoured sponge cake shaped into a helmet. The cake unfortunately collapsed. Mary likened it to a ‘dropped helmet’, but praised the bronzed colour effect on the helmet and the taste of the sponge inside.
Jason made his own jam and Battenberg sponge for an Ashes cake. His Ashes trophy was wonky on the top and it fell short on the taste stakes too, as the sponge was dry. Maddy’s yoga trophy cake was delicious and tasty, and her rolled up yoga mat effect looked realistic.
The Bake Off Apron went to Samantha in the end, earning pride of place in the Downing Street kitchen.
We look forward to next week’s instalment, which will see politician Ed Balls doing his bit for Labour against writer/presenter Victoria Coren Mitchell, sports commentator Chris Kamara, and singer/actress Kimberley Walsh. Tune into BBC One at 8:00PM next Wednesday (03.02.16).