Britain is going baking mad – and nowhere more so than Doncaster.
As the UK’s fascination with TV shows such as Celebrity Masterchef and Great British Bake Off hits an all-time high, closer to home there are some keen culinary cake fans who, armed with wooden spoons and icing bags, are set to impress.
One woman and baker extraordinaire is Heather Smith, aged 49, owner of Amazing Floral Sugar in the Waterdale Centre. Despite building a successful baking business for herself, her educational background is in fact in an entirely different field.
“I went to agricultural college when I left school,” she laughs. “I came out with the top prize for bricklaying and woodwork even though the majority of students there were farmers’ sons, so it was quite impressive.
“I didn’t really do anything with that, although I have used a piping bag to grout tiles when I was tiling once!”
Heather’s love of baking was down to her grandmother.
“My grandmother always cooked and baked. It didn’t matter what she did – it always came out absolutely fantastic.”
In addition to making special occasion cakes to order from her premises, Heather also stocks a full range of baking equipment so people can arm themselves with everything they need to start a Bake Off of their own.
“It’s all ages of people doing it now,” Heather said. “What I have found over the last two to three years is I’ve had customers come in and they’ve gone from baking their first cupcake with a simple swirl of buttercream to making spectacular cakes with all the trimmings in a very short space of time.”
But no matter whether you’re making a simple sponge or a quirky courgette cake – it seems it’s all about the enjoyment you get out of it and the satisfied tummies you are able to fill.
Fellow baker Meryl White, 63, of Sprotbrough, is author of Grandma Abson’s Traditional Baking. She added: “I get a lot of pleasure out of baking. When you combine simple ingredients from the store cupboard to produce a tasty cake or biscuits, it’s always a delight. People always enjoy what I bake and I like it when they tell me so.”
Show led to new careers for contestants
The Great British Bake Off has inspired thousands of TV viewers to head to the kitchen and conjure up culinary masterpieces.
The show was first aired in August 2010.
Judges are cookery writer Mary Berry and professional baker Paul Hollywood.
Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins have presented all three series.