Portsmouth High School was delighted to host the second of two semi-finals of the Great British Bake Off-inspired competition run by the Girls’ Day School Trust.
Since making its television debut in 2010, The Great British Bake Off has taken the world by storm and girls travelled from nine different schools across the Trust to take part in the semi-final of the national competition, with only four of the fourteen bakers advancing to the final.
GDST schools taking part across the south were Howell’s, Brighton and Hove, Bromley, Notting Hill and Ealing, Oxford, Royal High School, Bath, Sutton, Wimbledon and Portsmouth.
The girls, from Year 6-13, were tasked with creating a Mary Berry-inspired lemon Victoria sandwich recipe and were judged on taste, texture and appearance. They also had a technical design challenge to create plans for cupcakes, which they will have to make in the final.
Mo Bosch, Head of Communications at GDST, said: ‘We ran the competition three years ago and Head’s voted for it again because it was really popular. ‘We decided on lemon cake because of the saying “When life hands you lemons, make lemonade” and most of the girls who are competing are already quite keen bakers. Portsmouth High has fantastic facilities on offer. I think the girls like the element of competition the most.’
Issie Davis, Year 10 from Oxford High School, and Clara Holmes, Year 10 from The Royal High School, Bath, were two of the girls selected for the final next month.
There was home success too as Ruby Newport Spiers and Grace Waring, both Year 9 from Portsmouth High School, impressed the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Councillor David Fuller, and Lady Mayoress Leza Tremorin, who judged on factors such as taste, appearance and effort.
Ruby, who started baking with her nan aged three, said: ‘When we were baking, it was a lot of fun and I was trying really hard to concentrate – I just forgot about the competition. ‘It was really nerve-racking when we were waiting for the judges and I can’t imagine how nervous they must be on the Bake Off.’
Grace added: ‘I still don’t know if it has really happened, it hasn’t sunk in yet. ‘It is a relief that it has happened though because I was really nervous.’
The pair will now be practising baking their cupcake designs at home in preparation for next month’s final at Sheffield High School GDST.
On his judging role, the Lord Mayor said: ‘It was really difficult to judge and the standard was excellent and the marking was very close. It has been a pleasure coming in and tasting the cakes.’