GBBO: Why I’m team Martha

"Passing your A levels is hard enough without a weekly trip to a tent to have your cake baking skills scrutinised by Hollywood’s icy stare"

We may have only seen one episode of this year’s Great British Bake Off but I’ve chosen my winner. 


I’m serious about this. I don’t need to watch any more (though obviously I will). I know how this is going to play out. Martha is going to win.  

The smiley, happy, brilliant-at-baking Martha who is just 17-years-old – and the tent’s youngest ever baker.

There’s a reason why she’s the bookie’s favourite. If she’s already honed her skills so successfully before she’s legally allowed to vote, she’s the one to contend with. The others have more years and more experience than her, but that didn’t stop the sparky student from creating some pretty perfect baked goods. 

This week saw her serve up a nearly flawless Tiramisu Swiss roll. She came second place in the technical with “a very nice cherry cake” and then topped off a successful week with “beautifully soft” and “very good” mini lemon and thyme drizzle cakes.

Yes, she put thyme in cake. How did she know that’d be nice aged 17? At that age I’m fairly sure I considered a cheese string and a packet of mini cheddars a satisfying, nutritionally balanced lunch.

Even Mary Berry was impressed by her clout in the kitchen. “How do you get those skills at that age?” she pondered. And if that doesn’t mean Martha’s headed for the dizzying heights of star baker I don’t know what does. Berry might be all grandmotherly and welcoming with her pretty jackets and kindly eyes, but we all know she’s a tough (and evenly baked) cookie underneath.

Really, though, I can’t help but be left open-mouthed by anyone who has achieved greatness by the age of 17 (let’s not kid ourselves, getting on GBBO definitely counts as greatness). Passing your A levels is hard enough without a weekly trip to a tent to have your cake baking skills scrutinised by Hollywood’s icy stare. 

Plus, plenty of 17-year-olds have never pre-heated an oven. And a lot of people I know still struggle to make edible-looking scrambled eggs, let alone anything more sophisticated. They probably don’t even know what a macadamia nut brittle looks like. The only reason I do is because I saw Martha make one and balance it on top of a Swiss roll on the Bake Off this week. 

In a world where – sorry, I’m going to make a sweeping judgement here – a lot of teenagers are consumed with thigh gaps, twerking and taking selfies of their dinner, we should champion Martha for putting her time and effort into developing a skill. And having the drive, ambition and courage to step into the limelight, spatula in hand. 

We’ve got another chance to prove we can be nice to young and successful women, Twitter. 


The Great British Bake Off continues on Wednesdays at 8:00pm on BBC1