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Whilst TV viewers all around the country watched BBC2’s highly popular finale of the Great British Bake Off, Belfast Royal Academy students gave the would-be celebrity bakers a run for their money in their own special version of the competition.

Over the last few months, students have been battling it out in a flurry of flour and a deluge of dough to win a chance to compete in the B.R.A. Bake Off Final, which was adjudicated by B.R.A. resident judges, Mrs Morrison and Mr Creighton.

Commenting on the efforts of the students, Mr Creighton said:

“I am very impressed by the standard of baking. The students have worked extremely hard and we are delighted by the range of talent. Every bake has its own strength.”

The finalists worked hard to meet their baking brief – prepare six cupcakes of their own design. Heat one winner, Lucy McMahon-Beattie, opted for a highly creative interpretation of the task, presenting the judges with a ‘Pool Table’ of cupcakes. The judges were delighted that her bake had both style, and substance.

Heat two winner, Rachael Blaney, tried a different approach, using the theme of ‘the movies’ as inspiration. Her toffee and fudge popcorn cupcakes were nestled in a bed of popcorn and decorated with movie tickets. The judges were extremely impressed by Rachael’s effort and originality.

Cameron Carter, who won a place in the final with his impressive chocolate hedgehog cake, decided upon pure decadence with his contribution, six delicious chocolate cupcakes. The judges were impressed by their taste and texture.

Eva Hayward, joint first heat three winner, presented a fresh selection of chocolate buns with a buttercream filling. Eva’s presentation was delightful and the judges particularly enjoyed the combination of icing and chocolate.

After hours of pouring, mixing, beating, baking and icing, all four finalists provided the judges with a beautiful array of professionally finished cupcakes, which left mouths watering and stomachs rumbling.

After careful deliberation and an agonising decision, all three judges announced the winner – Rachael Blaney. Rachael’s sumptuous cupcakes were light and airy, and well complemented by a toffee fudge icing which had a decidedly delightful effect on the judge’s taste buds. As well as taste, Rachael’s meticulous attention to detail and imaginative presentation were awarded with First Place and placed Rachael as B.R.A’s ‘Star Baker 2014’.

The sale of the bakes during the heats leading up to the Bake Off raised over £300 for charity.

Congratulations to all who participated.

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