Comedian James Acaster hits rock bottom in the latest episode of Celebrity Bake Off, taking one look at his flapjack mixture and announcing: “I wish I were dead.”
And so begins an hour of existential crises and accidentally abstract artistry from a man who has never baked before in his life.
Acaster, who is known for his quirky stand-up and has four comedy specials on Netflix, may not be the biggest name on this series of The Great Celebrity Bake Off for Stand Up to Cancer – which has already seen Oscar nominee John Lithgow enter the tent – but he is certainly the most entertaining so far.
First, the signature challenge. The bakers (which this week includes Acaster, Michelle Keegan, Russell Tovey and Rylan-Clarke Neal) are asked to make flapjacks, a biscuit which Paul Hollywood is keen to emphasise is one of the most basic things you could possibly bake.
But for Acaster, it is actually “the worst experience” of his life. His flapjacks are the consistency of soup, he spends most of the challenge with his head in his hands, and when the judges arrive to taste his biscuits, the comic simply says: “Started making it, had a break down, bon appétit.”
Given Acaster’s mastery of the French language there, you’d have thought he’d be right at home when it comes to the French-inspired technical challenge. Alas, Acaster somehow manages to get actual scrambled egg into the supposedly sweet dessert. Possibly the worst kind of savoury surprise.
He eventually serves up his creation as a ‘deconstructed’ dessert and, despite the hipster appeal, it’s not a spoiler to say the judges aren’t impressed.
And finally, the showstopper. Considering he wanted to die at the start of the hour, Acaster has high hopes for this round, in which the bakers are tasked with creating a meringue scene. Acaster decides to bake a theme park made out of meringue which he passes off as “abstract art”.
“People like abstract art because it makes them feel clever,” he muses.
Will Acaster’s new-found confidence in his baking ability earn him a surprise Star Baker victory and a coveted Stand Up To Cancer apron? Tune in to find out…
The Great Celebrity Bake Off for Stand Up to Cancer airs at 8pm on Channel 4