Ed faces Bake Off tent for Sport Relief

Ed Balls hands out mince pies to Jake Lawson in Morley.
Ed Balls hands out mince pies to Jake Lawson in Morley.

Ex-chancellor Ed Balls will swap financial books for recipe books next week when he appears in The Great British Sport Relief Bake Off.

The former Morley and Outwood MP will compete to impress the tough judges Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry in the charitable version of one the nation’s most popular television shows.

He will go head-to-head with three other celebrities in the Bake Off tent to raise money for BBC Sport Relief.

Father-of-three Mr Balls is no stranger to the kitchen.

In 2013, he took part in Asda’s Come Dine With MP competition where he served a three course meal of haddock souffle, chicken and coriander Laksa, and rhubarb crumble.

And the 48-year-old Norwich City chairman says he has always baked birthday cakes for the three children he has with Pontefract and Castleford MP Yvette Cooper.

Among his creations are an edible iPad, pirate ship, Converse shoe and a cheeseburger cake, which he made for his youngest last summer.

But Mr Balls, who was taught to cook by his mum, said his culinary experience was not quite enough to prepare him for the “tense” Bake Off tent.

He told the One Show earlier this month: “It’s such a brilliant show to get the chance to take part in.

“Being inside the tent, it was exhausting and tense. You expected it to be a bit of a laugh for Sport Relief but actually everyone took it really seriously.

“It’s totally out of your comfort zone to be cooking on TV.”

He added: “I hope people will see some good cooking but also it’s for a really good cause.

“Sport Relief is just brilliant at what they do and I’m really glad to be a part of it.”

“The most important thing for me was not to embarrass our kids and hopefully I have succeeded.”

Mr Balls’ episode airs on BBC One at 8pm next Wednesday, February 3.

Mr Balls is one of 16 contestants taking part in The Great Sport Relief Bake Off, which returns to our screens tonight

He will go head-to-head against Girls Aloud star Kimberley Walsh, writer Victoria Coren Mitchell and TV sports pundit and former Elland Road favourite Chris Kamara . Clips of Clare Balding and Olympic gold medal winner Denise Lewis visiting projects supported by Sport Relief will be shown during the series, which also features the Prime Minister’s wife Samantha Cameron, Spice Girl Geri Horner and former England goalkeeper David James. Sport Relief will run between 18 and 20 March 2016. It raises money to support projects which improve the health and education of people living both in the UK and abroad.