Junior Bake Off viewers brand the show 'pure sunshine' as 14-year-old Reece is named first Star …

Junior Bake Off viewers brand the show ‘pure sunshine’ as 14-year-old Reece is named first Star …

Junior Bake Off fans embraced the show’s return last night, with one branding it ‘the most wholesome thing we all need right now’. The spin-off to the Great British Bake Off sees 16 aspiring cooks aged nine to 15 enter the famous tent to try to impress judges Liam Charles, a former contestant himself, and pastry chef Ravneet Gill. It’s presented by comedian Harry Hill, who delighted viewers with his eccentric gags and typically off the wall humour. On ‘Cake Day’, eight of the junior bakers – Fyn, 10, Fern, 10, Sophia, 10, Cece, 14, Reece, 14, Robbie, 15, Charlie, 10, and Erin, 13 – took part in the first heat which saw them make jelly and ‘fantasy’ cakes. Star baker went to Reece, from Leicestershire, who impressed in the showstopper with his ‘Rainbowsplosion’ creation which featured six layers of colourful vanilla sponge and strawberry jam.  ‘When I heard the word fantasy I think of dreams and rainbows and that sort of thing, so I kind of went for that in this cake,’ he explained. Visibly wowed, Liam replied: You weren’t playing no games – hip, trendy, a bit of me… fabulous,’ while Ravneet declared it looked ‘almost shop bought’. ‘The drip detail and the chocolate decoration, it’s pretty amazing,’ she said, adding that the sponge was ‘light as a feather’.  Viewers at home were equally agog at Reece’s talent, with one remarking: ‘Brilliant effort Reece. A worthy recipient of Star Baker.’ Another tweeted: ‘That was superb – looked really artistic, and very professional! The layers were stunning!’ And one admitted: ‘I would die for Reece already #juniorbakeoff.’ Reece said he grew up watching his mother bake both Indian and English desserts, which has inspired him to do the same. He enjoys fusing spices into his bakes and topping them with homemade Indian sweets. He got into baking at a time when his mother became ill and believes that baking is ‘a way of showing someone you’re there for them’.  Reece has since taught himself a range of baking skills from videos online, with choux pastry now his signature.  While the regular GBBO features three challenges per episode, Junior Bake Off only includes the technical and showstopper rounds. This series was filmed in the summer, and some viewers at home remarked on how well the youngsters coped with the warm temperature in the tent – especially after it caused GBBO contestants such a headache. One tweeted: ‘Every Adult Baker in the tent ever: Cake melting, crying, chaos. Literal Child: It’s hot in here so I’m gonna use this big cold cupboard to sort my cake out. They are the future.’ Others said the show brought them joy during this difficult time; one commented: ‘Great moves @LiamcBakes in the BakeOffDance and great programme – pure sunshine and much needed.’ Another wrote: ‘All the kids on Junior @BritishBakeOff are great this year. What an uplifting slice of joy to be watching at such a difficult time in our lives. Love them all but Robbie has stolen my heart. What a lovely chap.’  Junior Bake Off continues tonight on Channel 4 at 5pm. 
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