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Home / Latest News / Cardiff baker flies the flag in latest BBC Bake Off series

Cardiff baker flies the flag in latest BBC Bake Off series

It is the prime-time show that  has captured the imagination  of foodies across the country –  and inspired a new generation  of bakers.

Now a Welsh baker has beaten off 14,000 rivals to take part in  BBC phenomenon The Great British Bake Off.

Beca Lyne-Perkis on the Great British Bake Off
Beca Lyne-Perkis on the Great British Bake Off

Beca Lyne-Perkis, from  Cardiff, will be flying the flag  for Welsh cakes and bara brith in the latest series of BBC Two’s popular competition.

The 31-year-old said: “I have baked ever since I was tall enough to stand on a stool next to the work top. My happy place is in the kitchen.”

She is one of 13 amateur bakers competing in the fourth series  of the show, which has an average of 6.5 million viewers  and is the channel’s second  highest rated show after Top  Gear.

The programme has been credited with spurring an interest in  home baking, with supermarkets and department stores reporting sharp rises in sales of  baking ingredients and accessories.

It is also thought to be responsible for reviving the  Women’s Institute, whose  membership has reached its  highest level since the 1970s.

Full-time mum Beca learned to  bake from her two grandmothers– and hopes to pass the skill  on to her own 18-month-old  daughter Mari.

Her grandmother in West  Wales taught her how to make  bread and tarts, while her other  grandmother in South Wales  taught her to bake scones and  Welsh cakes.

She said: “I used to stand next  to them in a little apron, helping to stir things. I have fond  memories of helping out in the  kitchen.

“Now, when I am baking, I put  my daughter in her highchair  next to me with a bowl and a  wooden spoon, and tell her  what I am making.”

Her baking is also popular with  her 33-year-old husband Matt,  who has worked as a medic in  the army for 14 years.

Beca, who is currently living in  Hampshire and is a member of  her local Military Wives’  Choir, said: “My husband and  his colleagues love chocolate  brownies, but they are not  fussy. His best friend will eat a  whole coffee and walnut cake  all to himself.”

Initially reluctant, Beca was  encouraged to apply for the  show by her husband and parents.

She said: “I was not sure I  wanted to have my baking criticised. If you bake for your  friends and family, they never  say if they don’t like it and I  thought the criticism would be  difficult.”

The first of 16 episodes in the  series, which is judged by  Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood and presented by Sue  Perkins and Mel Giedroyc, will  see the contestants produce  sandwich cakes, angel food  cake and chocolate creations.

Beca said: “It was  nerve-wracking meeting the  judges for the first time, but I  was busy concentrating on  what I was baking. I am a very  competitive person, but it did  not feel like a competition, because I was there doing  something I loved.”

In each episode, the contestants are asked to produce a  “signature bake” from a tried  and tested recipe, a “technical  challenge”, designed to test  their knowledge and a  “show-stopper” aiming to impress the judges.

She added: “My cooking certainly has Welsh influences,  but I have been fortunate  enough to travel and take in  broad influences from different countries and cultures.

“I describe myself as a traditional baker, who likes to put  a different spin on things.” 

The mother-of-one, who studied music at Cardiff University  and used to work for the British  Museum, is now hoping to use  her culinary skills to become a  professional baker.

She said: “Baking has always  been my hobby, but I would  love to make it my job. I have  dreamed about baking for a  living since I was a little girl.” 

The first episode of the  new series of The Great British Bake Off will be on BBC  Two at 8pm on August 20.

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