• Girl Aloud’s Kimberley Walsh clinched Star Baker prize with mountainous Kilimanjaro-themed showstopper
• Ed Balls runner-up after superb ski jump cake, fine football muffins but soggy-bottomed pies
• Chris Kamara was have-a-go hero, while Victoria Coren was strong on savoury but weak on sweet
1. Ed Balls, the eternal bridesmaid
Last May, the jowly Shadow Chancellor lost his seat as Labour lost the election. He had to put a brave face on defeat again tonight, narrowly losing out to Kimberley in the race for that coveted Star Baker apron and slightly-less-coveted bouquet of flowers. But I’ll wager Mr Balls won some friends tonight. He was enthusiastic, likeable, football-mad (always a vote-winner, politicians seem to think) and full of family warmth. Most of all, he was an impressively accomplished baker, presumably thanks to lessons from his mother and that thrice-per-year practice of making his children’s birthday cakes. Even Mary Berry said she’d be taking tips from him. Baby-faced Balls didn’t quite match last week’s winner Samantha Cameron – Blues 1, Reds 0 – but it was a valiant effort.
2. Walsh was a worthy winner
She hogged the least camera time of the four celebrities but self-effacing Kimberley Walsh snuck up on the rails to be deservedly crowned Star Baker. She came joint second in the signature round, second in the technical and first in the showstopper, which all added up to a win. That official Orla Kiely-designed Sport Relief Star Baker’s apron was well-earned and will suit her.
3. Kammy rivals Balls in popularity contest
It wasn’t just the former Shadow Chancellor who won friends tonight but also player-turned-pundit Chris “Kammy” Kamara. With his blokey, splash-it-around, have-a-go pluck and phelgmatic humour, he was reminiscent of fellow footballer David James last week. His infectious laugh could be heard in the background even when he wasn’t on-screen. Kammy’s muffins might have tasted like paint (Farrow & Football, perhaps?) but his Victoria sponge was a jammy triumph. Unbelievable, Jeff. He didn’t even have to do his Lionel Ritchie impression or use his Sky Sports catchphrase “Unbelievable, Jeff”.
4. Squirrel starred – but not that squirrel
There were several knowing cutaway shots to a squirrel scampering around the grounds outside the tent during tonight’s show – but not the notoriously well-endowed one from the 2011 final. Well, I suppose we already had Balls in the tent.
5. Victoria was witty but too salty
Jason Manford provided laughs in the marquee last week. There was no out-and-out comedian to do the same this time but sardonic presenter and writer Victoria Coren did the job manfully, an eyebrow arched and a one-liner always ready. She looked a contender for Star Baker too, after her bold Bloody Mary muffins were admired and her pies won the technical challenge. Sadly, it took one look at the judges’ disgusted faces to realise that her salty sea dog showstopper had let her down. Perhaps it was like host Jennifer Saunders said: La Coren-Mitchell coudn’t bake anything which didn’t involve Worcestershire Sauce. Is a Lea & Perrin endorsement deal in the pipeline?
6. Mary the football and vodka virgin
Mary Berry confessed tonight that she’s an Everton fan who has never been to Goodison Park and never drunk a Bloody Mary. Please, somebody address both these oversights. Take the doyenne of dough to a Toffees home fixture and give her a half-time Bloody Mary as a matter of urgency. I’ll volunteer if she’s struggling for offers.
7. Jennifer made a low-key but lovely host
Guest presenter Jennifer Saunders didn’t try too hard but was a warmly witty presence: encouraging the bakers, gently teasing the judges and generally bumbling about the tent like a benign big sister. Last year’s Star Baker proved a star this year too.
8. Another tear-jerking VT
Athlete Denise Lewis visited lovely OAP couple Hughie and Linda, who’ve been together 51 years. Hughie was diagnosed with dementia aged 59, one of 850,000 sufferers in the UK, but is benefitting hugely from Sport Relief-funded weekly sessions for sufferers, their carers and local kids. It was sweet, sad and ultimately uplifting stuff – demonstrating how our donations really can help change lives.
It looks like it’s Kimberley vs Ed Balls. And the winner is… Kimberley Walsh! As the credits roll on-screen, stay with us for reaction and analysis…
Victoria Coren‘s is too salty and looks “a bit simplistic” (euphemism for messy). Kammy‘s little man’s legs have gone floppy and he looks like E.T. face down in the river – but his sponge is a triumph and he cries “You beauty!” in triumph.
Ed Balls‘ cake works well and Mary even says she might borrow his double cream trick. Blimey. Best until last? Kimberley Walsh‘s looks like “a proper showstopper” with a meticulously detailed, delicious mountain. Has she stolen it with her spraypaint and giraffes?
Salty seadogs finish early
The two aquatic cakes, by Kammy and Victoria, are both finished early. Ed Balls is still fiddling around with tiny spectators. Meanwhile, Kimberley Walsh is getting busy with a spraycan and it’s looking spectacular. Jennifer Saunders makes her a fondant Gary Barlow but his head falls off and she does a Cheryl Fernandez-Versini née Cole née Tweedy impression. Way-aye, pet.
Camaraderie in the marquee
Always nice to see, as Kimberley Walsh helps out Kammy – who chuckles that “she knows I’m not a threat”. Lots of fondant sculpting going on. Fondant Kammy’s legs keep falling off. Kimberley’s own Tanzanan wildlife is looking good. Sneaking up on the rails?
Ed Balls is poring over his ski jump scene: Kit Kat skis, jellybean spectators cordoned off by Curly Wurlies and Olympic rings from Fruit Polos. He’s got some flair with decoration and design, as he adds a Sport Relief logo too. Ballsy reveals that he’s previously made an iPad cake, pirate ship, Converse trainer and cheeseburger for his kids’ birthdays.
Victoria Coren‘s sailing cake looks like a salty toddler made it.
Time for the big one, the crunch round, and it’s a toughie. Our celebrity bakers must create tiered cakes representing an extreme sport. Three layers or more, sponge-based. Ed Balls is doing a Ski Jump cake, topped with fondant snow and Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards (another famous loser). He’s using double cream rather than butter and plenty of vanilla essence.
Victoria Coren has gone for yachting, with chocolate sea salt sponge, salted caramel and a chocolate sponge yacht. Chris Kamara is tackling a strawberry body-boarding cake, built from classic Victoria sponge, blue fondant waves and a fondant body-boarder. Kimberley Walsh? A lemon and blueberry yogurt cake, recreating her climb up Mount Kilimanjaro for Comic Relief in 2009.
Victoria Coren looks in the box seat, slightly ahead of the consistent Kimberley Walsh and creative-but-erratic Ed Balls. Kammy, bless him, is way back in fourth place.
Fourth place for soggy-bottomed Ed Balls, who might just have blown it with those soggy-bottomed pies, after his excellent muffins. Third place for Kammy, who’s just chuffed not to be bottom. Second place for Kimberley Walsh, while Victoria Coren – complete with sunglasses and forgotten egg-wash – miraculously wins.
Coren’s got egg on her face
She forgot the egg-wash, resulting in pale pies. But she remembered in the nick of time and added it at the last gasp. Good save. Meanwhile, Ed Balls and Chris Kamara are being boys and playing football in the marquee. Oh, you cheeky lads and your incorrigible banter. NB: they’re 48 and 58 respectively.
Victoria puts rivals in the shade
Ooh-la-la, trés chic. Victoria Coren is chopping her onions while wearing designer sunglasses. Jennifer Saunders’ Ab Fab characters would surely approve. Ed Balls is using his hands again, like Mama Balls taught him, but he’s going off-piste by being the only one to blind-bake his pastry cases. Cocky. Could it backfire? Meanwhile, Kammy doesn’t know what cling film or a rolling pin is. But he’s laughing a lot and we like him anyway.
The fiendish techinical round involves making football pies – that traditional, meaty, mincey half-time snack. Mary Berry confesses that she’s an Everton fan but has never been to Goodison Park. What’s going on, Mazza? Somebody take her to a match and give her a Bloody Mary asap. I’ll volunteer if she’s short of offers.
Chris Kamara‘s muffins taste like paint, which rather takes the gloss off the occasion. Hey, it’s been emulsional. Ed Balls, by contrast, has served up a “pretty good muffin” according to Paul Hollywood, who praises his “fruit distribution”. Bravo, Baron Von Balls.
Kimberley Walsh‘s have sunk, look “rustic” (euphemism for messy) but “the flavour is fantastic”. Victoria Coren‘s look uneven but do taste like a Bloody Mary. Mary Berry reveals that she’s never drunk one and Paul looks genuinely aghast. I think Ed Balls took that round, in MORI exit polls. And Mary exit polls too.
Time’s up and the bakers all do a shot of Victoria’s vodka to celebrate. Ed Balls splutters, the big lightweight.
Giggly Kammy makes a nice dig at our former Shadow Chancellor, saying he’s clearly done a lot of baking “while us working class people were busy grafting”. Ed does seem very proficient. He’s making a fondant football pitch for his Norwich vs Chelsea-themed muffins to be served upon, the big show-off.
We want muffin, but not Muffin The Mule. It’s 24 American-style muffins. We’re looking for a cracked dome, according to silvery man-gorilla Paul Hollywood. Chris Kamara is doing banana and sultana muffins – as, it turns out, is Ed Balls. What a cakey coincidence. Kimberley Walsh is calling everyone “guys” while doing strawberry cheesecake jobs. Victoria Coren‘s the sole savoury muffin-maker and hers are Bloody Mary-flavoured. Their namesake Ms Berry looks excited by this. She loves a boozy bake.
Victoria Coren‘s being smart and sardonic. Chris “Kammy” Kamara‘s excited about meeting Mary Queen Of Berry and looks faintly like Lionel Ritchie. Kimberley Walsh, the nice and smiley one from Girls Aloud, is being nice and smiley. Ed Balls breaks off from Tweeting his own name to be faux-modest, even though he’s got a steely glint in his eye.
Mel and Sue have “passed the Battenberg” (see what she did there?) to guest host Jennifer Saunders – who won Star Baker herself this time last year. She’s sporting a rather Mel and Sue-style outfit and uncombed bed hair that a proportion of the nation are probably wanting to give a good brush right now.
In terms of Ed’s competition, we’ve got Only Connect host and professional poker player Victoria Coren Mitchell – a fearsomely bright, head girl type who I imagine is good at everything. Equally multi-talented is Girl Aloud-turned-actress Kimberley Walsh, so don’t rule her out. And completing the line-up is likely whipping boy Chris “Kammy” Kamara. Who hell he? Well, here’s a handy primer…
Putting the dough into Balls
Who do we fancy for Star Baker tonight? Well, headline act Ed Balls is hotly tipped. The former Shadow Chancellor was taught to cook by his mum and bakes birthday cakes each year for his three children. He’s ferociously competitive and, let’s be honest, not terribly busy these days, so has probably been practising. He’s now on the board of Norwich City FC, too – as, of course, is Delia Smith, who’s bound to have given Ed a few tips.
Good evening and welcome…
… To our Great Sport Relief Bake Off liveblog. I’m Michael Hogan, the Telegraph’s Marzipan & Marquees Correspondent, and I have the soggy-bottomed honour of accompanying you through tonight’s special celebrity edition of our dearly beloved Bake Off.
You’re cordially invited to watch along with me for rolling (pin) coverage, self-raising reaction and tempered talking points. Join in too – you can email me on firstname.lastname@example.org, tweet me on @michaelhogan or leave comments at the bottom of this blog. I’ll keep an eye on them and report the highlights.
In the absence of our usual pun-slinging presenters Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins, comedian Jennifer Saunders (a former Star Baker herself) will be handling hostly duties this evening, while athlete Denise Lewis will be visiting a Sport Relief-funded project to see how the funds raised are put to use.
Tonight’s celebrity bakers
After Prime Minister’s wife Samantha Cameron won last week’s edition, there’s more Westminster interest tonight because former Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls will be showing off his spatula skills. He’ll be joined in the fabled tent by Only Connect presenter Victoria Coren Mitchell, Girls Aloud alumnus Kimberley Walsh and football pundit Chris Kamara.
So can Red Ed give Blue Sam a run for her money in the pastry-based exit polls? We’ll soon find out.
As always, judges Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry will be sampling the bakers’ offerings and they haven’t gone easy on the famous foursome, with three tricky challenges. First up, they must make a batch of American-style muffins. Then it’s half-time-at-a-football-match meat pies and finally, a showstopper of tiered sponge cakes on an extreme sport theme. Expect shortcrust shenanigans and fondant farragos.
It’s showtime at 8pm on BBC One but do stay with us for build-up. On your marks, get set… celebrity bake!
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