As Victoria Wood wins the final flour-flinging episode of the charity Bake Off, she will take on Jennifer Saunders (OK – and Sheen and Wan, but they don’t really count) in what promises to be a battle of the comedy legends on Red Nose Day. We. Can’t. Wait
We’ve been spoilt: the first batch of celebrity bakers to enter the Comic Relief tent included Dame Edna Everage, who was comedy gold, and an Ab Fab reunion that left us looking for the gin bottle (in a good way). Then it all went, well, a bit stale – apart from Michael Sheen’s last minute victory over Sarah Brown.
In the last baking battle, the only shimmer of comedy genius came in the form of writing and acting legend Victoria Wood (who, as it happens, likes to cook. Hallelujah) and Mary’s reaction to quinoa flour (we don’t think she’s a fan). That said, Alexa “I keep shoes in my oven” Chung’s lesson in how to rock a pinny was also pretty strong (note to self: buy a jumpsuit).
Ed Byrne had locked up Mel and Sue last night to put Wood, Chung, former Radio 1 DJ Chris Moyles and Fonejacker’s Kayvan Novak through their cake-making paces, but the atmosphere was still like a rather flat sponge.
The signature bake
First up, a tray bake cut into 12 identical pieces and Chung, who claims she hasn’t turned her oven on in three years (how does she eat, really?), constantly said her bakes were “really bad”. It was like former finalist Ruby Tandoh all over again. Utter rubbish.
Chung went for salted caramel brownies and she aced it, whilst Wood whipped up a coconut and lime traybake that reminded her of a holiday in Zanzibar. And if Zanaibar is anything like that bake, we definitely want to go.
Everyone suffered from that age-old problem, the "turning out" bit. Those beautiful cakes quickly went from “potentially amazing” to “big pile of crumbs on a bread board”. Novak bordered on cocky with his Persian pistachio traybake but Bezza seemed baffled by the quinoa flour and old blue eyes was gurning with displeasure at the strong use of cardamom. The lighter-looking Moyles brought up the rear with a chocolate bake which broke when he turned it out. We’ll leave it there.
For the technical challenge, it was once again Paul who turned all Dr Evil as he tasked the bakers with 12 crumpets, those edible sea sponges spread with jam. It was no surprise that there were mixed results.
Wonderful Wood, ever the helpful auntie, earned 10 brownie points (well, from us) for nudging the other towards the proving drawer, while the rest of the celeb bakers had some interesting cooking techniques: Moyles used his teeth to pit strawberries and Novak believes "you can beat things with a whisk … like your own head.” Public health announcement: this is not a Bezza-approved method.
In the end, Chung took top spot.
On to the showstopper and, let’s face it, it’s the only one we really wanted to see: a vegetable cake masquerading as a self-portrait.
Novak made an impressive bake in the form of his Fonejacker balaclava-clad prankster, complete with caramel sunglasses, but he used so much oil that is was dripping like a leaking tap. Moyle’s carrot cake skull used obscene quantities of butter and eggs and was all very Damian Hirst. Front-runner Chung remade her courgette cake after over-cooking the first one but a lack of cooling meant her icing slid off (it made Mary wrinkle her nose). That left Wood and her beautiful beetroot bake with an insane amount of fondant icing and macaroon eyes to swoop in and take the star baker title.
Well, Wood does write, act, sing, play the piano, is funny and, it turns out, knows what and where the proving drawer is. No-one else stood a chance.
It's been short and sweet - much like one of Mary's bakes.
See which star baker will take the Great Comic Relief crown on Red Nose Day on 13 March.