Talented Tipperary student named as winner of ‘CEIST All Ireland Bake-Off’






14 finalists from secondary schools across Ireland went whisk to whisk last Friday to create an array of novelty cakes in a bid to be crowned Ireland’s ’Best Student Baker’ in the ‘CEIST All Ireland Bake-Off’.

The students took part in the fourth annual ‘CEIST All Ireland Bake-Off’, which is organised with the support of Odlums, Ireland’s favourite home-baking brand. The aim of the ‘Bake-Off’ is to encourage a new generation of bakers, with students asked to design, plan and bake a novelty cake.

The ‘Ceist All Ireland Bake-Off’ has two categories - Junior (1st – 3rd year) and Senior (4th – 6th year). While students in the Junior category were asked to present a cake based on a theme they have chosen themselves, students in the Senior category were required to design, bake and decorate a cake around the theme of‘Wellbeing’.

Niamh Doyle from Scoil Mhuire, Carrick-an-Suir, Co. Tipperary was chosen as the winner of the Senior category for her design. Niamh fought off extremely tough competition from the seven other finalists which showcased some magnificent creations.

Tara Maher from Scoil Chríost Rí, Portlaoise, Co. Laois was chosen as the winner of the Junior category for her design. Tara created her Spongebob Squarepants cake with exquisite detail through the use of fondant icing.

Hundreds of submissions were received from 110 schools nationwide and after a tough judging process, these entries were whittled down to just 14 entries. These 14 finalists took part in the ‘Bake Off’ final in Ardscoil na Trionóide in Athy, Co. Kildare, with six junior finalists and eight senior finalists working hard to create their cake in front of judges, including Odlums ambassador Catherine Leyden. Over a three-hour duration, the finalists mixed, whisked, baked and iced their cakes to recreate their shortlisted designs.

For the past three years, Odlums have been a proud supporter of this initiative, witnessing first-hand the truly talented student bakers we have across the country.

Catherine Leyden, Odlums’ brand ambassador and a home baking expert, is one of the competition judges and she says: “It is always encouraging to see the high calibre of entries we receive every year from student’s around the country, and this year was no different. Watching our 2018 finalists pour their heart and soul into their designs, their passion for perfection and desire to create something truly unique has been eye-opening. We have a highly skilled and talented number of bakers across the country. Well done to everyone who submitted entries, to those shortlisted and our overall winners Niamh Doyle and Tara Maher, it has been a fantastic effort by all”. 

The 2018 Junior finalists were:

Sadhbh Ryan, Ardscoil Mhuire, Corbally, Limerick
Tara Maher, Scoil Chríost Rí, Portlaoise, Co. Laois
Ciara Mulligan, Coláiste Muire, Ennis, Co. Clare
Gina McGuirk, Rockford Manor, Blackrock, Co. Dublin
Hannah Murray, St. Vincent’s Secondary School, Dundalk, Co. Louth
Fay O’ Donovan, Coláiste na Toirbhirte, Bandon, Co. Cork

The 2018 Senior finalists were:

Maja Gliszcynska, Ardscoil na Tríonoide, Athy, Co. Kildare
Abbie Deveraux, Presentation Secondary School, Wexford
Melody Mc Guirk, Rockford Manor, Blackrock, Co. Dublin
Orlaith O’ Brien, Presentation Secondary School, Tralee, Co. Kerry
Rachel Ryan, St. Anne’s Secondary School, Tipperary Town, Co. Tipperary
Niamh Doyle, Scoil Mhuire, Carrick-an-Suir, Co. Tipperary
Ava Hovenden, Presentation College, Athenry, Co. Galway
Rachel O’ Grady, Scoil Muire gan Smál, Co. Roscommon

Originally established in Portlaoise by the Odlum family in 1845, Odlums has been an integral part of Irish baking and cooking for generations. To this day, Odlums are dedicated to developing the finest quality ingredients and products at their Mill in Portarlington. Co. Laois.

CEIST, the ‘Catholic Education, An Irish Schools' Trust’ is the Trustee body for 110 Voluntary Catholic Secondary Schools in Ireland. CEIST is a joint trusteeship comprising congregations of the Sisters of Mercy, Presentation Sisters, Daughters of Charity, Missionaries of the Sacred Heart and Sisters of the Christian Retreat and has been in existence since 2007.