Schoolgirl Katherine Pennycott has narrowly missed out on the chance to impress Glenn Cosby, winner of last year’s Great British Bake Off.

Katherine, 14, of Cepen Park South, fought off fierce competition to reach the regional final of the Big School Cake Challenge, at Harden-huish School on Monday.

The challenge was launched in December to find the best baker in the southwest, with young bakers encouraged to create an original, extravagant bake within a budget of just £5.

Katherine, who was encouraged to enter by her technology teacher at Hardenhuish, was awarded second place for her chequerboard cake, which reveals alternate coloured squares when cut into. She has been creative in the kitchen since she was at nursery school and likes to bake at weekends, sometimes with her mum.“I like being able to make something, taste it and share it,” she said. “Eating it is even better.”

She had already tried out the recipe three times beforehand. The practice paid off and she was commended for her neat piping and good cherry, almond and coconut flavours by judge Sarah Forward, owner of Chippenham cake-making company Sugar Ice and All Things Nice.

Gemma Clatworthy from Nova Hreod School in Swindon, who scooped first place with a cake that looked like an icecream, now goes forward to represent Wiltshire in the final at The Big Cake Show next month.

Katherine was also competing against finalists from Bradon Forest School in Purton near Swindon and Oakfield Academy in Frome.

Mary Berry, Paul Hollywood and Mich Turner are among the bakers who will attend the three day cake show from March 28.

Mel Edwards from The BIG Cake Show said: “We were astonished by the level of talent demonstrated in the entries.

“The challenge was designed to inspire a generation throughout the southwest to get creative with their baking and we think it has certainly done that.”