photo of VC Bob, Frances Quinn and student finalists of the Great Halls Bake Off in Cognitos

Students showcase artistic bakes as part of LU Arts' Great Halls Bake Off

Five students reached the finals of LU Arts' Great Halls Bake Off and were judged by previous Great British Bake Off winner and Loughborough alumna, Frances Quinn, last week.

Megan Flandrin, Max Holgate, Ross McNaught, Olivia Sergeant and Louise Gillespie brought their delicious cakes to Cognitos in the Students’ Union on Wednesday 8 May.

They represented Falkner-Eggington, Butler Court, Rutherford, Faraday and William Morris in the competition.

They were set a brief to create an edible design that would either use a biscuit base as a canvas or have their favourite shop bought biscuits assembled onto a bake.

On the evening, Vice-Chancellor Robert Allison joined Frances in judging each of the cakes and between them they decided on the best one, considering taste, technique and design.

The winner was Olivia Sergeant, a first-year Civil Engineering student, who impressed the judges with her bake which was inspired by Van Gogh’s famous Sunflowers painting.

Photo of the winner of the Great Halls Bake Off, Olivia Sergeant

Winner of the competition, Olivia Sergeant.

As a result of winning the competition, Olivia has been awarded £500, which she plans to put towards purchasing more baking tools.

Speaking after the announcement, Olivia said: “It feels really nice to have won and I’m very surprised, looking at all the other bakes there are some really good ones.

 “I love baking, the moment I heard about it I applied for the Rutherford competition. I know my friends want some of the biscuit now, so I’m sure this will be feeding them for a week!”

Photo of the winning bake of the Great Halls Bake Off, which was inspired by Van Gogh's Sunflowers

The winning bake was inspired by Van Gogh's 'Sunflowers' painting

Frances won the Great British Bake Off (GBBO) in 2013 and released her first book, Quinntessential Baking, in 2015. She graduated from Loughborough in 2001 with a Foundation Arts Diploma.

She visited the campus in December last year to launch the competition with a Q&A session where she talked about her time on GBBO, the inspiration behind her bakes and shared some practical tips and advice.  

It was at this session that Frances set the baking challenge for the first round of the competition. Halls could sign up to take part and select their own star baker and each of these star bakers was awarded £50 and put through to the final.

Talking about the competition, Frances said: “I thought the standard was great. There was lots of different creative flair, it wasn’t just the case of a cake, there was a lot of thought put into it.

“The winning creation by Olivia was amazing. It would have been nice to have rewarded everyone but there could only be one winner.

“It’s always good to return to Loogabarooga! Loughborough will always have a special place in my heart and I’m very proud to be back.”

The Great Halls Bake Off was organised by LU Arts with the aim of encouraging students living in halls to be creative and get involved in the arts in a fun and engaging way.

LU Arts is interested in funding more arts-related activities in halls in the future – from workshops in common rooms and performances in dining halls to competitions, exhibitions and more. Any interested halls should get in touch with LU Arts to discuss their ideas and find out more by emailing