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Mar30

And the winner of the Cambridge Bake Off 2014 is…

…Rachel Stonehouse, last year’s Bake Off runner-up and the youngest baker in the competition. Last year I very narrowly beat Rachel in the Cambridge Bake Off and have to admit to feeling a little bad about it ever since. She is supremely talented and creates the most innovative designs and wonderful flavours in her bakes. I was really pleased to see her re-enter this year and even more pleased that she pulled off a spectacular showpiece in the Easter-themed finals to deservedly be crowned Cambridgeshire’s best amateur (though she’d give many professionals a run for their money) baker.

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Rachel is crowned winner 2014!

 

For the finals the bakers had to assemble and decorate a tiered celebration cake along an Easter theme in just 2.5 hours, being allowed to bake the cakes at home.

 

mosaic finals

Sarah, Laura and Rachel busy at work

 

Whilst Rachel certainly has oodles of creativity and natural flair for exquisite flavour combinations that’s not to say that her victory came easy; both her competitors Laura and Sarah put up a strong fight throughout the competition, each earning star baker on one of the previous rounds, so the finals were wide open.

 

Sarah's traditional Easter-themed cake

Sarah’s traditional Easter-themed cake

 

Laura's Cambridge scene for her Easter-egg hunt theme (sadly. I somehow failed to get a picture of the finished cake!)

Laura’s Cambridge scene for her Easter-egg hunt theme (sadly, I somehow failed to get a good picture of the finished cake but click on the picture above to go to the Cambridge Bake Off facebook page)

 

But in the end it was Rachel who pulled out all the stops with her nature-inspired cake, entitled “First signs of Spring”, delivering on all levels: taste, texture and presentation, for which she was awarded an exceptional score of 21 out of 20 – it was that good!

 

Rachel's "First signs of Spring" cake

Rachel’s “First signs of Spring” cake

 

We (the judges) all agreed that it looked spectacular, yet it tasted even better than it looked! Rachel had developed her own recipes to create a delicious hot-cross-bun-flavoured light fruit cake for the top tier, and an equally delicious, fantastically moist, melt-in-the-mouth, spiced chocolate cake for the other two tiers. The whole thing was incredible!
Understandably so, but oh-so-tantalising, Rachel is keeping her recipes close to her chest…oh, if only I had sneaked a second piece into my handbag! D’oh!

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter!

 

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