The 2018 Bolton School Bake Off was bigger than ever. As so many pupils took part in previous years, the school decided to hold not one but two competitions: one for Year 7 pupils and one for girls in Years 8 and 9, running on alternate weeks.
Since the beginning of March, pupils have been whipping up an impressive array of baked goods in just 45 minutes over lunchtime. Natalie James, Bolton School Girls’ Division Coordinator of Food and Nutrition, and a series of guest judges had the difficult task of choosing a Star Baker each week. Over the course of four rounds, pupils were to create holiday-themed cupcakes, savoury crackers and biscuits, savoury pastries with a regional influence, and for the semi-final traditional desserts with a twist. Slowly the numbers were whittled down from eight girls in the Year 8 and 9 competition and fourteen in the Year 7 competition to just three finalists in each category.
The finalists were asked to create their ‘showstopper’ bake, and every one of them came up with something different and spectacular. The Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle provided inspiration for one cake in each competition.
In the Year 7 competition, Alaina Jiva created a spectacular wedding cake with delicate elderflower flavouring and buttercream filling: the actual flavours which will be in the Royal couple’s cake. It was surrounded by an amazing edible diorama of the The Mall, complete with hand-made icing trees and flowers and cupcake bushes, and even featuring a jigsaw Buckingham Palace. The cake was finished with a dusting of icing and sugar balls in the Union Flag colours, and topped with a sprig of traditional myrtle.
Jemima Stubbs made a rich, triple-layered Salted Caramel Drip Cake, smothered in a layer of buttercream and with delicious caramel dripping artistically down the sides onto the cake stand. The top was decorated with more piped buttercream and Rolos.
Fatimah Ahmed baked a tangy Raspberry Mojito Cake, which took its inspiration from the famous cocktail. The cake was iced in bright raspberry-pink and topped with raspberries, lemon wedges and hand-made sugar flowers. The sides were decorated with more piped icing in two shades.
In the Year 8 and 9 competition, Millie Price created a Summer Fruits Fairytale Cake, also inspired by the Royal wedding and using the red, white and blue colours from the US and UK flags. It was presented on a tea tray with pennants, romantic roses in vases and a card with an explanation of her design.
Hamna Shafiq baked a Fig and Lemon Tart. She wanted to use figs for their great health benefits and also because, in Islam, figs have special significance as the food of ‘Sunnah’, meaning the food of paradise. The sweet and sticky tart was topped with a layer of sliced figs.
Khadijah Ahmed made a Chocolate Orange Cake, decorated with piped icing around the sides, topped with more piping garnished with candied orange segments, and finished off with a bouquet of roses.
The judges’ task of choosing winners was harder than ever. However, after lengthy deliberations, the results were announced. The Year 7 Bake Off winner was Fatimah with her Raspberry Mojito Cake. The Year 8 and 9 Bake Off winner was Millie with her Summer Fruits Fairytale Cake.
Natalie congratulated the winners and all of the finalists on the hard work that they put in over the course of the competition to make it this far, and emphasised that she and the other judges were incredibly impressed with all of the showstopper creations. All six finalists received goodie bags containing cookery books, notebooks for recipes, and a variety of foodie treats such as edible glitter to be used on future projects. The two winners also received Amazon vouchers, which they will hopefully spend on something related to baking.