Bake Off: No cherry on top for DfE official

Tricky cake-making challenges knock Department for Education employee Luke Thompson out of Great British Bake Off

Roger Baird

Great British Bake Off contestant Luke Thompson, who is a DfE official

A tough sponge base was enough to see Department for Education civil servant Luke Thompson knocked out of the Great British Bake Off in its second week.

The 30-year-old amateur baker from Sheffield was the second person to leave the show after hitting trouble during "Cake Week".

Thompson attempted a white chocolate and raspberry cake in the show’s final "Showstopper" challenge this week, but it melted in the heat of the kitchen, while the sponge was considered to be too hard by judges Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith.

Earlier on the Channel 4 show, the civil servant struggled to make a lemon and poppy seed traybake followed by a gateau vert in the show’s technical challenge.

Thompson, who is also a part-time techno DJ, told the show: “By the last challenge, I was nearly in tears. It all started to go wrong from the first signature, when they said my sponge was tough as old boots, and when I had to start the technical challenge all over again, that didn’t seem to get any better either.”

He added: "My worst moment was the Showstopper. It looked lovely when I put it into the fridge, but when I took it out it was like the leaning tower of Pisa, and just sliding down. I started to slide as well then. That knocked my confidence and I didn’t recover after that.”

'Devastated to leave' Great British Bake Off

But the civil servant had few regrets about appearing on the hit TV series, which attracted 5.7 million viewers this week.

He said:  “Even though it was just two weeks, it was an amazing two weeks. I was absolutely devastated to leave. There is no getting away from that.

"But on reflection now, it was one of the best experiences of my life. I have made 11 new friends for life as well."

Thompson’s only disappointment is that he did not make it to "Bread Week" later in the competition, because he sees baking bread as one of his strengths.

He said: “My fiancée always asks me to make a bread pinwheel of goat’s cheese, pesto, olives and sundried tomatoes – a bit of a Mediterranean theme in there.”

Thompson leaves 10 remaining hopefuls to contest the rest of the show, after the competition started with 12 last month.

Department for Education officials have become a regular fixture on reality TV in recent months.

In June, a 21-year-old DfE policy adviser from Essex, Zara McDermott, joined Love Island, but she only lasted two weeks on the ITV show.

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Roger Baird

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