GREAT British Bake Off star Paul Hollywood praised the work of police staff who took part in a charity baking contest.
The Wallasey baker told the ECHO the standard of pies, puddings and cakes served up at Merseyside police’s city centre HQ was exceptional.
Paul dropped in to judge the bakes blind as part of fundraising efforts for Macmillan Cancer Support which was organised by Superintendent Louise Harrison and project officer Danielle Hollywood. They are raising money ahead of running the London Marathon on April 13 for the charity.
The BBC star said 17,000 people had applied to take part in the Bake Off this year, 4,000 more than last year and believed to be the highest ever.
Yesterday’s charity event included 14 cakes and the winner was an opera cake made by detective Amy Wilcox.
An opera cake is an almond-flavoured sponge cake made with seven layers including chocolate ganache.
Amy said: “I can't believe it, it's the first time I've made that cake. I never heard of it until the Great British Bake Off.
“I made the cake on Sunday night and went to sleep at quarter to three (on Tuesday).
“I've only had three hours of sleep. I'm just thankful that it turned out OK.”
Amy, who has applied for this year's series of the Bake Off, added: “I was really pleased with Paul's comments.”
Before choosing the winner, Paul said Amy's cake was worthy of being in a hotel. Later, he said: “If that cake was in the Great British Bake Off when it was a challenge, it would have been right up there.”
The TV star lavished praise on the baker’s dozen of police staff who took part in the event.
He said: “The standard was excellent and the bakes were exceptional, much better than I thought it was going to be.”
But, true to his image as a tough judge, he added: “A couple needed work on them.”
Paul told the ECHO he actually preferred savoury bakes such as pies and croissants.
He also praised Macmillan Cancer Support for the fantastic job the team did and said bake sales were a great way to raise money for charity.