Junior Bake Off is back! From thousands of applicants, sixteen talented junior bakers aged 9-12 battle it out in the iconic white tent to be crowned winner of Junior Bake Off 2023.
Harry Hill oversees proceedings with his characteristic wit and warmth, alongside seasoned judges Liam Charles and Ravneet Gill.
Charlie lives with his mum and older brother in a small village just outside of Swansea, close to his friends and not far from the coast. In true Welsh fashion, Charlie’s favourite hobby is rugby. He plays outside half for his local rugby team, and he is not afraid of getting stuck in. Charlie has big dreams of being a pilot and loves the idea of being paid to travel the world. Charlie started baking when he was three years old after being inspired by his mum who bakes for birthdays and at Christmas. He’s an experimental baker and loves to challenge himself with new recipes. But above all, he likes to keep things classic.
Elsie lives in Croydon with her mum, dad, two pet rabbits, Toffee and Marshmallow, and tortoise, Rocky Road. Elsie loves gardening and growing carrots and cucumbers. The hardest part is keeping her rabbits from eating her plants! When she’s not planting vegetables she’s dancing, recently winning a gold at a competition! She’s very keen on arts and crafts and regularly creates collages commemorating various experiences in her life. Elsie grew up baking with her nan and sister. Her signature bake is a carrot cake, she’s managed to perfect the recipe to a point where she’s better than her big sister! Wherever possible Elsie incorporates her pets into her bakes, in the past she’s made bread rolls inspired by her two rabbits.
Esme lives with her mum, dad and older sister in a small town in Essex. Surrounded by nature, Esme is the proud owner of seven pet snails and a dog called Flossie. Esme is a creative at heart. She loves to experiment in every field of her life, from the clothes she wears to the things she bakes. Always up for a challenge, especially when nature is involved, she can build a fire in the woods from scratch and loves horse riding. When it comes to sports, she enjoys cricket and tennis. Esme’s love of maths and science shines through in her meticulous baking. Esme has hypermobility so baking is a great hobby to do without getting injured and that’s one of the many reasons she loves it so much.
Ethan was born in Trinidad and Tobago but moved to England when he was 8. He now lives in Bath with his mum and brothers. A budding young author, at aged 10, Ethan had his own book published about learning his ABC in Trinidad and Tobago. He is also an avid Manchester United supporter and plays Centre Defensive Midfielder for his local team. Growing up, Ethan has always been encouraged and inspired by his mum to be adventurous in the kitchen. He has been baking since the age of 3 or 4 and likes to incorporate Caribbean flavours into his bakes such as cardamon, cinnamon and nutmeg. Ethan’s favourite things to bake are cakes & cinnamon rolls and is a self-proclaimed messy baker but you won’t hear any complaints from his family who get to enjoy his delicious creations!
Grace grew up in London but moved to Somerset three years ago with her mum, dad, twin brothers, and cat Twinkle. As a result of her friendly and sporty nature, Grace was voted by her classmates as the school’s Sports Captain. She loves playing netball and learning Taekwondo. From as young as two, Grace helped her mum in the kitchen. From there, she experimented with ingredients and made “potions” at home – with varying degrees of success. Her baking style is bold and involves glitter and colourful designs. In the future, Grace aspires to be a patisserie chef in France, so presentation and execution is important to her. She’s even learning French with her grandpa so that in the future nothing can get in the way of her dream coming true.
Yorkshire and The Humber
Yorkshire born and bred, Isaac lives with his mum, dad, sister and dog Blu. Isaac has always been into cars since he was a toddler and cannot wait to drive when he’s older. He has already accelerated his driving ability and has had several young driver lessons. As well as driving, he also goes to Youth Club and chess club. Isaac has fond memories of baking with his nanna at a young age, but it was only in the last year that he has taken it up more seriously. Isaac prefers to make sweet bakes such as cakes, buns and pastries. His favourite flavours are chocolate, strawberry, and raspberry and his signature bake is a Kit Kat cheesecake! Always naturally curious, he enjoys learning about different countries and cultures, in particular their traditions and food.
Layla loves her home city of Leeds where she lives with her mum, dad and dog Taylor. When Layla isn’t enjoying her favourite spam and egg sandwich, you’ll usually catch her playing football; for her local team and in future wants to play for the Lionesses. When not on the pitch, you’ll find her drumming in her local Church. Her favourite rhythm to play is gospel music. Layla was first inspired to bake by her sister Jasmine, and when she flew the nest, Layla took it upon herself to be the household baker. Her artistic flare also translates into the kitchen, if she’s not painting or drawing, she’s perfecting her cake decorating while taking inspiration from TikTok.
Rudy was born and raised in Birmingham and is part of a big family who he loves dearly. He lives with his Mum, Dad and three younger siblings. Rudy is a huge fan of sports and an avid supporter of Aston Villa. He enjoys keeping his year filled with seasonal sports, such as golf, gymnastics, cricket, and football. Off the field, Rudy enjoys challenging his intellect, reading Harry Potter books, and practicing his Maths and English. Rudy has been baking since he was four years old. He considers himself ‘head of the pancake department’ in his family and, taking over from his nan, oversees the family’s big birthday celebration cakes. For Sunday roasts, he’s the brain behind desserts and even baked a cake for the Queen’s Jubilee. Open to admitting that he can be a messy baker, he would also guarantee, however, that the outcome is always delicious!
Annabelle lives with her mum, dad, younger sister and puppy, Betty . Her extended family live outside, namely their two goats called Gabby and Nelly, seven chickens and two gerbils. Annabelle plays the cornet and is part of a local brass band, who perform in local festivals and competitions. She attended The Royal School of Ballet and now the local Ballet School where she takes Ballet, Modern and Tap classes. Annabelle loves to design and create and aspires to be an Interior Designer. Annabelle learnt to bake with her mum and Auntie Anne. Her favourite thing about baking is spending time with family and making memories. She is creative, precise, neat and tidy – when she’s not baking she will be cleaning her bench to keep busy. She likes to experiment with food from around the world, has a fantastic flavour palette and can name over 15 herbs and spices from sight and smell!
Calvin lives with his mum, dad and dog Scruffy, in Yorkshire. Calvin loves living there as he gets to see deer and sheep every day in the fields surrounding his home. Calvin is incredibly active; when it comes to sports, he’s into gymnastics and cross country. On top of this, he takes violin lessons, swimming lessons, drama classes and is part of a choir. Calvin is a true creative, whether that’s in art, drama or music. Baking from an early age, Calvin’s been introduced to the craft by his Mum. Food has always played a big part in their family life. Nowadays he also takes cooking lessons at school and even received a gold trophy for his bread. When it comes to his baking, he is inspired by the things he likes, for example big celebration cakes which are covered in sweets and chocolate!
Harry lives in the West Midlands where his time is split between living with his mum and dad. He has two younger identical twin sisters and a dog called Molly. Sporty Harry plays football for his school and local team in defence or midfield. He also likes athletics, swimming, basketball and has all the bases covered when it comes to rounders! Away from sports, Harry likes to get creative, drawing and making people’s birthday cards for that personal touch. Harry’s mum taught him the basics, but in the past three years he’s been baking more seriously. Harry enjoys the process behind baking, whether making something sweet or savoury, but the most exciting part for him is sharing the end product with his friends and family.
Ilhām lives in North East London with her Mum, Dad, younger sister and Grandma. Although born in the UK, Ilhām is proud of her Tanzanian and Bangladeshi heritage. A total bookworm, Ilhām adores delving into a book and has even started writing her own adventure novels based on real life scenarios. There are no limits to Ilhām’s creativity; she plays three instruments – the recorder, piano and violin. As well as books and music, she is also on her eighth grade in Kung Fu and is on top form in her maths class where she loves algebra and the endless possibilities to equations. She comes from a family of foodies, but it was her mum and aunts that first taught her all things flour. Ilhām loves to take over the kitchen, especially making treats to share during Ramadan and Eid festivals. Her favourite bake is her signature Zanzibar spice cake, so expect to see global flavours creating the ultimate feast.
Isle of Wight
Leo lives on the Isle of Wight with his mum, dad and two older brothers. They have a cat called Yogi and two dogs, Badger and Spud. Sporty Leo plays basketball for the Isle of Wight team as well as his school. He also enjoys running rings around people in rounders, stumping the opposition playing cricket and playing football. When not playing sport, he has recently been getting green fingered growing herbs in the garden and is planning to grow more fruit and veg to use in his cooking and baking. When it comes to his baking he is inspired by his family and he likes to use flavours such as cinnamon, chocolate and peppermint. His strengths lie with cakes, bread and cinnamon rolls which are infamous within the family. He is always keen to try new things and if he doesn’t succeed at something the first time, he will keep trying and never give up!
Tilly lives in Oxfordshire with her mum, little brother, dog and gecko. She enjoys rock climbing with her brother at the local clip n climb and horse riding. She is a huge animal lover and likes watching nature documentaries. When she’s older she aspires to be a horse groomer. Tilly has been baking for many years and credits her nanny with teaching her everything she knows. Each weekend she tries out a new recipe and improves her skills by watching YouTube videos and reading cookery books. She’s great at adapting recipes to make them gluten free because she has coeliac disease. She plans to sell her bakes soon to save up for her gap year to the rainforest and desert.
Max lives with his mum, dad, two sisters, two brothers, dog, cat and various fish! Max loves to go day and night fishing with his dad, they have two lakes they regularly visit but try to keep them top secret from others! Max also loves football and holds a season ticket for Crystal Palace which he goes to with his grandad. Outside of sport he enjoys playing the piano and beating his family at chess. Max is a self-taught baker but has been inspired by his nan, his mum and his favourite TV chef, Gordon Ramsay. He loves the step-by-step process of baking and compares it to building Lego. At home he’s famous for his chocolate chip cookies and enjoys very honest feedback from his younger siblings.
Santica lives with her mum and fellow baking enthusiast sister in Northern Ireland. She is proud of her dual heritage from Northern Ireland, and Trinidad and Tobago. Santica likes to be competitive and plays a variety of sports including hockey, volleyball, swimming, and gymnastics. She also has a musical streak, playing the piano and cello, as well as loving to dance. Santica aspires to work in medicine and becoming a doctor. With a nod towards her heritage, she describes herself as both a classic Irish and British baker as well as a ‘Caribbean Queen’. Her background has introduced her to a world of new tastes, textures, and flavours that she believes makes her bakes stand out. She has learnt a lot from her grandmothers and Great Aunt, a chef by trade. Family is at the heart of Santica’s baking and she loves to compete against her sister in cooking contests at home.
Junior Bake Off starts Tuesday 2nd January 2024 at 5pm on Channel 4.