A Pietermaritzburg mother of three is among 12 of the country’s best amateur bakers set to showcase their baking skills in The Great South African Bake Off. Kershni Naidoo (34), from Northdale was announced on Monday as one of the contestants who will go all out to impress the judges with their culinary skills. The third season of the cookery show will air in October. Speaking to The Witness, Naidoo, who owns a home bakery, Cakes by Kersh, said she started baking professionally last year.“I started baking because we used to buy birthday cakes for my children and they always tasted horrible. I felt we wasted a lot of money and decided to bake the cakes myself.”Naidoo’s passion for food grew from there and after seeing her creativity and mouth-watering creations, her friends suggested she start a baking business.“I started the business a year ago. It’s become quite popular and I have had many cake orders with recommendations from friends and family.”To prove that her baking skills were up to par, Naidoo also won the Foodpak Baking Fever with Friends monthly competition in January and April. In June she decided she would take a chance and enter the show.“Two weeks before the competition’s closing date, a friend of mine encouraged me to enter. I had never heard of it before so I did research online and randomly entered via Facebook. It was a long and lengthy application process,” said Naidoo. Within an hour she received an e-mail from the adjudicators requesting pictures of her bakes. “I made it through the first selection process and thought that was it. After seeing the creativity and bakes of the 60 shortlisted candidates I didn’t think I stood a chance. I was over the moon when they told me I was one of the 12 hopefuls who made it to the tent.”The self-taught baker said her signature skill is novelty kiddies cakes. “I love baking and trying out new ingredients. I always put my heart and soul into every bake I make. It’s hard work but I have the passion for it.”Naidoo has signed a confidentiality agreement so was unable to reveal how she had done in the show. This year, celebrity TV chef Zola Nene will join the expert judging panel alongside Tjaart Walraven, after former judge Shirley Guy stepped down.The 10-episode season of the show produced by Rapid Blue was filmed in Johannesburg in August.BBC Worldwide said the second season of The Great South African Bake Off pulled an average of 100 000 viewers per episode and made BBC Lifestyle the number one rated channel in its competitor set on DStv.