The Handbook
The Handbook

It’s safe to say that Britain is obsessed with baking, a couple of years ago we could barely work out quite how to pronounce frangipane and now we’re whipping them up like nobody’s business (well, we maybe we attempted it once) afternoons are spent perfecting piping skills and Sundays aren’t Sundays without homemade cake and at the centre of it all is Britain’s most loved baker, Mary Berry who published her latest book this year Fast Cakes, so, The Handbook caught up for a chat:

If you were only allowed to bake one thing and nothing else what would it be and why?
Lemon Drizzle Cake, because it’s my absolute favourite.

What should every aspiring baker have in their cupboard?
Ingredients for basic baking, such as flour and sugar.

Who would win on bake-off, you or Paul Hollywood?
It would be a draw!

If you could invite anyone to a tea-party, who would you invite?
Dame Judi Dench

How do you decide what you will cook at the show?
I choose something that will make the audience want to go home and make it straight away.

If you were on a desert island, what three foods would you take?
Bread, English Cheddar, Fruit

How should a novice go about putting a dinner party menu together?
Keep it simple, being inexperienced I would suggest a cold first course and a cold dessert which means they can be made ahead and then just concentrate on the main course.

Had you not been a cook, what would you be?
A gardener

If you weren’t a judge on the bake-off, and had to be a judge on another TV contest, what would it be?
Definitely not Strictly Come Dancing.

What do you feel are not worth the faff of making at home – when does shop-bought win/suffice?
Filo/Puff Pastry

Apart from your own, what cookbooks grace the shelves of your kitchen?
Paul Hollywood, Ken Hom, Rick Stein and Madhur Jaffrey

What ingredient would you put in Room 101?
Any form of artificial colouring of sweetener