Great British Bake Off youngest contestants in shows history turn to mum

Jamie, 20 Jamie said he believed his grandmother would be happy he had adopted her recipe for simnel cake, saying: “I think she’s pleased I’m using it, I don’t know.”This week’s star baker Michelle used a family recipe for bara brith, while 28-year-old shop assistant Steph produced a version perfected by her late great-grandmother Rosie.  Half of the GBBO bakers are in their 20s this yeara Henry, 20 Dan, 33 Dan, 33Credit:GBBO Half of the GBBO bakers are in their 20s this yearaCredit:GBBO As the youngest cohort ever to grace the screens of the programme, the millennial contestants of the Great British Bake Off have mastered the stylish cakes, biscuits and breads fit for Instagram. When it comes to actual recipes, it seems they could require a little more help, as more than half turned to their parents and grandparents for instructions.Seven of the 13 Bake Off contestants appearing on the first episode used tried-and-tested family recipes from their mothers and grandmothers as they were asked to make a fruit cake.Others received words of wisdom from their parents over the phone before entering the tent, with one proud mother advising by text: “Be calm, be slow, be confident.”This year’s contestants are the youngest group ever, with an average age of 31 and two young bakers aged 20 who were in primary school when the series first aired.  Michael, 26, who says he was taught to bake by his mother using old, handwritten recipes passed down from her grandparents, told viewers: “Mum text me at 5 this morning saying be calm, be slow, be confident. It’s going to be fine.” He went on to slice his finger three times during filming, requiring large plasters.The weekly showstopper challenge saw contestants asked to create the cake of their childhood dreams, with fairy gardens, toadstool houses, pirate islands and purple carousels from the younger bakers and a “retro” rocket from veteran of the group Phil, 56.  Jamie, 20Credit:GBBO And as Toksvig heard Henry, also 20, had not made an Angel Slice Cake before, she told him: “That’s because you’re 12.”After being tasked with making a fruit cake, at least seven bakers turned to recipes provided by their elders at home. Amelia, a 24-year-old fashion designer, plumped for her mother’s technique for infusing fruit with brandy, saying she had been baking with her since she was five and still left “lots of washing up”.  Henry, 20Credit:GBBO The departure of 33-year-old Dan on the first episode last night brings the average age down marginally even further down, while 35-year-old Michelle was crowned Star Baker. Half of the bakers are in their 20s, after the production company said more young people than ever were applying as the hobby grew in popularity among Generation Z. During the first show, presenters Sandi Toksvig and Noel Fielding and hosts Prue Leith and Paul Hollywood teased the nervous cohort about their age, asking one whether his mother knew he was out and whether his voice had yet broken. Toksvig introduced the show by referring to the 13 competitors as the “baker’s dozen”, clarifying for those in the tent that the term was used by “mostly old people”.Asking 20-year-old Jamie how old he was, Hollywood inquired: “Does your mum know you’re here?” Despite their difficulties, the bakers appeared to have impressed the judges. Hollywood said: “Every year of Bake Off, the standard has got better and better and better, and I expect this year to be just the same.”Evicted from the tent was 33-year-old support worker Dan, who said his wife had helped him practice along with his “amazing” parents.  “I am not going to miss the baking under pressure,” he said. “I’m just going to miss everyone in that tent.”The Great British Bake Off will be on Channel 4 at 8pm on Tuesdays. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. read more