Despite it being just four months since student Peter Hawkins was crowned as the winner of the main series, Bake off is back as an early spring treat and boy has it been missed. Each episode brings four celebrities into the tent, all of them donning an apron and taking on three challenges set by Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith to be crowned star baker. This year’s lineup is arguably the best one ever including actor James McAvoy, documentary maker Stacey Dooley and Little Mix singer Jade Thirwall. Kicking off the first episode was singer-songwriter Alexandra Burke, Star Wars actress Daisy Ridley, comedian Rob Beckett, and Bake Off: The Professionals presenter and comedian Tom Allen.
Presenting duty was left to Matt Lucas as Noel Fielding was on paternity leave when filming started. The opening skit was a memorable one as Lucas became starstruck over Daisy Ridley, fangirling over her 2013 appearance in Casualty rather than the blockbuster SciFi films she has appeared in. It was great to see that despite her Hollywood star status, Ridley was more than happy to take part in the show’s jokes including showing off her lightsaber skills.
The show kicked off with a signature challenge of millionaire shortbread, with flavours ranging from Alexandra Burke’s “hot mess” rum and raisin to Tom Allen’s white chocolate, ginger and orange shortbread. Daisy Ridley attempted a vegan banoffee bake but it was Rob Beckett’s chocolate and hazelnut (aka his “knobbly hazelnut balls”) that won the challenge and a Hollywood handshake. The technical challenge was a difficult one as Prue Leith asked for vegan chocolate and raspberry tarts, which surprisingly left resident vegan Daisy Ridley with a soggy bottom whilst Alexandra Burke baked her way to victory. Last but not least was the showstopper where the celebrities had to create their biggest bugbear in 3D form. Cakes ranged from car horns to toilets, but it was Alexandra Burke’s bed cake that particularly impressed the judges and won her the crown of star baker. It was a great episode made even more enjoyable knowing it’s in aid of an important cause.
The Great Celebrity Bake Off for Stand Up to Cancer continues at 8pm Tuesdays on Channel 4.