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24 October 2014

Cupcakes and chemistry

Cupcakes and chemistry

Martha Collison was one of the stars of this year's Great British Bake Off. During the show Danny Webster caught up with her to find out about the experience and the impact it had on her.

idea: What's it been like taking part on the Bake Off?
I didn't tell my parents until I'd submitted the application form because I never thought I'd get onto the programme –it was all a bit scary. The best part of it had to be meeting the other 12 bakers. You get really close and it becomes like a family. The hardest part has definitely been trying to juggle practising with my exams. At the beginning I was practising quite a lot, because you don't want to be rubbish on the telly! It was just crazy trying to balance it, I don't really know how I did it because it was really difficult to find time to practise and to revise, to be at school and on the show.

What goes through your head when you're told to make a Swedish Princess cake?
My first reaction to the Swedish Princess Cake was that two hours is really not a very long time to make any cake, let alone one that has 14 steps. But I did like the technical a lot more than the others did because nobody could practice and do it beforehand, so everyone was in the same boat.

What experience did you have of baking before the show?
The first thing I baked was with my mum. We had a kids' cookbook and we would work through it and make simple things like tomato pasta, rock cakes and pancakes. I love doing it to relax. When I was 16 I did a wedding cake. That was quite nerve wracking and I'm very thankful to the lovely couple that allowed me to do that –not many couples would be relaxed enough to let a 16-year-old bake their wedding cake.

Did your faith help you to cope with the stress of the competition?
It was really tricky to manage, but to have a quiet time when you're reading the Bible and praying takes your mind off it and helps you to be a bit at ease. In between two weeks (of filming) I went to the Big Church Day Out to volunteer for a weekend while the others were practising their socks off. Because it's a big competition you want to do well, but I was at a festival with my friends volunteering, so (the other contestants) asked a few questions about that and my faith. But mostly we just talked about baking.

Tell me about what you're getting up to with Tearfund and their No Child Taken Campaign
It's very exciting; at the same time as I was getting involved in baking on the telly, theTearfund Big Bake was also planned. I've always had a passion to stop child trafficking because it's something that makes me really upset. For the campaign to involve baking and my most hated thing in the world, at the time I had a voice to say these things, felt like such a God coincidence. I decided to get involved as soon as I could. I phoned up and I've done a couple of videos for them.

"Having my faith in God definitely helped out with the stress because there was so much on my plate to juggle: being at school, being picked for head girl, doing Bake Off and going to church."

What difference has being on the Bake Off made to your life?
I never thought that I would have my picture taken by people or autographs and stuff, but it happens all the time now. It's so funny, I'm still me – just a normal 17-year-old. I went shopping yesterday and I think five people stopped me and took pictures. It's really strange. Being on the Bake Off has made me grow up. I've been put into the adult world of TV and radio and having to speak in front of people. I'd love to go into baking in the future and I feel so lucky and blessed to have been given such a massive opportunity when I'm so young. I haven't done university yet, so I've still got all these things to come. 

Every 30 seconds, somewhere in the world, a child is trafficked. Tearfund is calling for people to help end this shocking reality by supporting the charity's No Child Taken campaign. Visit tearfund.org/nochildtaken

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