extreme cake makers  molly

Extreme Cake Makers:  The show features a ‘new breed of baker’ and their ‘ever more demanding clientele’

Cake has always come with competition. Women’s Institute bake sales turning tense as members politely fight it out for the perfect Victoria sponge, or shamed parents grabbing shop-bought gateau and attempting to pass it off as homemade at the school fête. But it wasn’t until a few years ago - and the advent of The Bake British Bake Off - that it got serious.

Gone are the days that wonky Rice Krispie cakes were acceptable, with works of baking art churned out 10 to the dozen by a new breed of baker featured in Extreme Cake Makers (Channel 4, 30 January, 5.30pm) along with their ever-more demanding clientele.

Baker Molly is tasked by her local dog swim centre with creating a scuba-diving pug fashioned out of three stone of Madeira sponge, while wedding cake connoisseur Nastassja is told by upmarket clients to dream up a cake ‘that looks like it just came out of the gallery.’ She designs an ‘abstract interpretation of a flamingo’ standing 2.8 ft tall and adorned with edible ruffles. As you do. And even rock bands are getting in on the act as Deeside-based cake maker Ben begins spooning 9kg of hand sculpted sugar paste onto a 2.5ft tall, 3ft wide replica of his bandmate complete with full-scale guitar.

They might all look fabulous - even the pug sees her likeness - but taste plays second fiddle to looks with most too scared to breathe too hard nearby, let alone dig in. All in all it’s a cautionary tale: we’ve taken all this competitive cake making too far. Forget all this sugar craft and days spent sweating it out over a ‘masterpiece’. Let them just eat cake.