The research found among Bake Off fans, when it comes to the judges Mary Berry beats Paul Hollywood in the popularity stakes.

Durban - If cooking competitions get you excited, note that a good one will be heading for DStv’s BBC Lifestyle at 8pm on Tuesday, March 5.

It is the second series of one of the UK’s best-loved culinary shows, The Great British Bake Off, which offers eight 60-minute episodes and two hour-long masterclass specials.

“It’s the moment every cake, bread and pie lover has been waiting for. The tent is up, the ovens pre-heated and some of Britain’s best amateur bakers are ready to do baking battle,” says a DStv spokesman.

Twelve of Britain’s best amateur bakers take part in the second series, hosted by Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins.

Over eight weeks their cake-baking, pastry, bread-making and patisserie skills are tested to the limit.

All the challenges are devised by legendary cookery writer Mary Berry and acclaimed master baker Paul Hollywood, who are also on hand to judge and taste the contestants’ efforts.

The first season of The Great British Bake Off proved enormously popular when shown in South Africa last September, and the format has now been commissioned in 11 countries, including the US, Australia, Sweden and even France, home of the patisserie.

This makes the niche BBC2 show the broadcasting corporation’s most successfully exported format after Strictly Come Dancing.

In the first episode of the new series, the 12 amateur bakers are challenged to make 24 beautifully flavoured and decorated cupcakes in two hours – and the stress of highly pressurised surroundings of the bake-off’s open-plan kitchen soon shows.

Next up, the technical challenge is to make a coffee and walnut Battenberg cake from one of Berry’s recipes. It delivers drastically different results.

Finally, for a place in the next bake-off round the contestants have to make and bake a tiered showstopper cake.

The second episode sees 11 bakers testing their pastry skills and being scrutinised as they tackle tarts.

“Over two days the bakers will face three increasingly complicated challenges while trying to avoid a soggy bottom,”says the DStv spokesman.

The bakers start with a signature bake: a quiche that says something about them.

Next is the dreaded technical challenge where they are faced with baking a tarte au citron. Finally, our bakers have to deliver in bulk as they are asked to create 24 show-stopping sweet mini tarts.

In the third episode, the 10 remaining bakers make bread while judges Hollywood and Berry keep a close eye on them.

“The bakers face three increasingly complicated challenges over two days and have to work with yeast for the first time.

“They start with the signature bake, a free-form flavoured loaf that produces a variety of interesting results, including a combination of chocolate and onion.

“Then they face the technical challenge – focaccia – that really separates the wheat from the chaff.

“And, finally, a mammoth six-hour challenge requires the bakers to create a display bread basket that is filled with 24 bread rolls.”

Biscuits take the focus in the fourth episode, and we discover that these bite-sized, delicate delights prove too much for some.

It then becomes a case of seeing who is likely to crumble when it comes to judging. - Independent on Saturday