Bake Off has been one of the most amazing experiences of my life. Everyone put me at ease, from the judges and presenters to the crew and the behind the scenes team, they were all brilliant. I will never forget it!Nikki
Date: 25.11.2016 Last updated: 28.11.2016 at 09.18
Today, Nikki aged 12 from North London won the coveted title of Junior Bake Off 2016.
Thousands applied, but only 40 made it through to the famous tent for the most intense junior baking competition yet. Sam Nixon and Mark Rhodes were the hosts while top chef, Allegra McEvedy and Bake Off winner, Nadiya Hussain had the tough job of finding this year’s best young baker.
Every day for three weeks, the junior bakers battled it out in the iconic white tent offering the judges some of the most ambitious bakes of the series so far. After tough technical challenges and incredible showstoppers, it was Nikki, who managed to win the final accolade in the same year that she was also presented with a Pride of Britain Award.
Nikki started by baking scones in the tent for her first Technical Challenge and ended with a Show-stopping White Chocolate and Raspberry Tiered Royal Garden Cake at the Final which impressed the judges.
Nikki says: "Bake Off has been one of the most amazing experiences of my life. Everyone put me at ease, from the judges and presenters to the crew and the behind the scenes team, they were all brilliant. I will never forget it! I feel much more confident now, and never in a million years did I think that I would win. So anyone that wants to bake, I would say that practice makes perfect and believe in yourself.
"Being on Bake Off was like a dream to me, I was just so excited to get through to the first heat! I couldn’t believe it when I got to the final along with the other junior bakers. Although we were competing with each other we became very good friends, and it was a unique experience to meet bakers of my own age that shared a similar passion. We are definitely going to keep in touch and planning a get together for next year.
"I started baking at four with my mum and made blueberry muffins, and for family occasions we would make chocolate cheesecake. My favourite sweet bake would be macaroons and for savoury I would have to say a salmon and asparagus tart, as I enjoy making it for the family as they all love it.
"As my mum is Indian and my dad is Greek Cypriot, they strongly influence my bakes and I like to use a mixture of spices. I like to mix cardamom with rose water so that is definitely a fusion from both!
"My best moment was getting great comments from the judges in the Quarter Final, but my really best moment has to be winning the title. I couldn’t believe it at the time, and still can hardly believe it now.
"My worst moment was really my worst day which was the Semi Finals. I got through by the skin of my teeth - I didn’t know how to plait a loaf, as bread isn’t one of my strengths. And in the Showstopper I slightly overbaked the dough, although Nadiya said my flavours were good.
"My idols are Mary Berry, Jamie Oliver and Candice from Bake Off, so when they presented the Pride of Britain Award to me I was so nervous. When I got up on stage there was a standing ovation, and it was such a very special night for me.
"My dad has been my guinea pig for trying all my bakes, he gives good honest answers and I think he likes eating sweet things. My mum has been amazing and so supportive, she has encouraged me to keep going. My parents have both been incredible, and my older sister Tasha has been the best help and always compliments me on how my bakes look, even if they look bad.
"My schoolfriends have been so excited for me, but it was incredibly hard for me to keep it a secret. Now that they finally know I am the winner, we can all share the excitement together."
Nikki was diagnosed with AVM [arteriovenous malformation] at the age of just six which affects her arteries and causes great pain and headaches. She said: "I was away from school a lot and would bake at home. No matter how low my day could have been, I would zone out and look at a recipe. Now, if I have a bad headache I will bake and it will take my mind off my headache, and when I present my cake to my family it makes them happy, and that makes me happy.
"My You Tube channel now has about 6 milliion views and I hope it helps people struggling with difficult illnesses. I hope I can improve their day even in a small way.
"I want to continue with my You Tube channel and getting the message out to everyone, and to carry on baking. Next bake for me will be making the family Christmas cake, and I am going for a traditional gingerbread cake with caramel biscoffee icing. Dad can do the tasting and mum can do the washing up! It’s going to be a great Christmas!"
Junior Bake Off is a Love Production for CBBC.
Nikki is half-Indian, half-Cypriot and lives in North London with her mum and dad, brother and sister. She turned to baking as it was one hobby which helped her deal with the medical problems she lives with every day.
Despite her medical condition, AVM and having had 28 operations in the last four years, Nikki believes that nothing should hold you back and to always go for whatever you want. This year she was awarded a Pride of Britain Award as well as the Most Inspirational Child award at the 2013 Well Child Awards and met Prince Harry at the ceremony.
Nikki has been baking since the age of four, and has a food dictionary which helps her decide what flavours go together and is able to substitute ingredients and find alternatives for high sugar recipes. She tweaks recipes herself and supplements ingredients using date syrup and coconut flour, for example.
Nikki bakes almost every day, handing out her bakes to her extended family, learning support assistants and for her dad to take to work. She enjoys baking more extravagant bakes, including multi-tiered cakes, profiteroles, croque en bouche, pastry and adding her own touches including biscoffee icing, caramel and crème patisserie.