Louise Minchin - why are we are a nation of passionate bakers?

PUBLISHED: 16:37 26 October 2016

Louise Minchin


The television presenter launches her new regular column with some words on her favourite subject – cake

I am so excited and delighted to be invited to write for this magazine which I have been happily reading since I moved with BBC Breakfast to live in Cheshire four years ago.

I feel like I am at the beginning of a journey with you, who knows where we will go and where we will end up but we will have some adventures on the way. Doubtless, it will involve chatting about lots of different things which are most likely to involve cooking, early starts, some news, and an occasional dose of endurance sport, especially triathlon.

I thought the best place to start would be by talking about cake. One of my main motivations for doing a lot of swimming, cycling and running, is so I can have an excuse to eat cake.

There is no doubt we are a nation of passionate bakers, we bake for birthdays, bake for anniversaries, bake to celebrate, bake to commiserate, and if you are like me, bake for the fun of eating cake. The furore over the news that our favourite baking programme Great British Bake Off was being whisked off from the BBC to Channel 4, only underlines our love of all things patisserie.

Eclairs, macaroons, doughnuts, tortes, tiffins, tea-cakes, muffins, cheese cakes and good old chocolate cakes, you name them I love them and for me this month is always a specially important month for baking. Our collective enthusiasm for cakes has helped to contribute staggering amounts of money for Children in Need. There seems to be something about that yellow bear, Pudsey with his spotted eye patch, that encourages people to tie up their apron strings and fire up their ovens.

When we first moved to Cheshire we had a Bake Off inspired tea party to raise money for Children in Need and we were inundated with brilliant home-made confections. From Pudsey shaped ginger biscuits to a Victoria sponge bath covered in fondant icing and over-flowing with baked beans, everyone baked something. Thank goodness I didn’t need to lose friends over the final decision over star-baker, as BBC Breakfast’s adventurous sports presenter Mike Bushell volunteered to judge the competition. He approached it as seriously as Mary Berry does the show-stoppers and he was mobbed as he made his final decision, there were nearly tears – and that was from the grown-ups.

So this month, passionate pasty chefs and ebullient bakers whether it’s to raise money for charity or to satisfy your sweet tooth let’s set to it! Let’s get whisking, beating, proving, kneading, mixing and icing and if you don’t want to bake it, you can help us eat the cakes.

I am looking forward to:

It being just cold enough to light the wood burning stove, and snuggling down in front of it to read the recipe section of the weekend newspapers for cooking inspiration.

I’m not looking forward to:

The nights drawing in even earlier and the sky being pitch black when I get up for work at 3.45am.

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