Star baker Grace, 14, rises to the occasion with conquering cakes

A Prestonpans schoolgirl has been crowned Scotland’s finest home baker. Grace Warnock, 14, was given the prized accolade by The Scottish Cafe & ­Restaurant at the Scottish National Gallery following a nationwide search earlier this year.

Friday, 22nd November 2019, 6:00 am

Amateur bakers from John O’Groats to Jedburgh were encouraged to slip on their aprons and show off their culinary creations for a chance to be featured on The Scottish Cafe’s afternoon tea menu.

From classic cream cakes to indulgent gateaux and cupcakes, the country’s most talented young bakers submitted a variety of mouthwatering entries.

However, they were all beaten by Grace, who attends Preston Lodge High School, who came out on top as the first Contini Bake Off champion, ­having impressed the judges with her ­trifle, banoffee, apple pie and lemon meringue cupcakes. Grace has been baking with her mum since she was three and really enjoys making cakes, biscuits and bread in the kitchen with her family.

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Head Contini Bake Off judge and Scottish Cafe owner Carina Contini was joined by the venue’s specialist pastry chefs to select the overall star baker.

They were on the lookout for technical ability, creative flair, originality and use of local ingredients, but ultimately a delicious and eye-catching addition to The Scottish Cafe’s signature afternoon tea menu. The judges were unanimous in their decision to choose Grace for the top accolade.

As part of her prize, Grace recently joined Carina Contini for an afternoon tea masterclass before recreating her own recipe, which will be showcased on the afternoon tea menu throughout November.

Grace said: “I’m so excited to be the first Contini Bake Off champion.

“My trifle cupcake is my favourite and I think it’s the perfect choice for Christmas too. My recipe combines vanilla cake, custard filling, a jelly centre made from my own homemade jam and whipped cream icing. I bake mainly cakes and biscuits at home, but I’m trying to practise other things like pastry and bread too.”

Carina added: “We’re absolutely thrilled that Grace has become the winner of our first ever Contini Bake Off competition and we can’t wait to showcase her delicious cupcakes on The Scottish Cafe afternoon tea menu this month.

“With the home baking trend continuing to grip the nation, we wanted to encourage talented amateur cooks of all ages to put their culinary skills in the limelight. Grace really did rise to the challenge and dazzled us with her creative flair.”

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