Forget home fragrance, if the smell of baking is not wafting through your rooms, you’re missing out on the most fashionable trend of all: homeliness.
It’s blissfully easy to achieve, whether you cheat with baking kits or get inspired by the new series of The Great British Bake Off on BBC Two and impress family and friends with BIM (Baked It Myself) goodies.
The kit’s irresistibly decorative and you can embrace ‘yummy mummy’ style and opt for chintzy, flower-decorated cottage-style flour shakers and tea sets or go funky with vibrant gadgets and gizmos.
To get you started on the baking bonanza, celebrity chefs reveal their top tips and favourite gadgets, and we pick a selection of baking beauties for your kitchen.
l Jo Wheatley, winner of last year’s Great British Bake Off:
Why bake? “I find baking so relaxing, and love the fact I know exactly what I’m feeding to my friends and family. Teaching people how to do it brings them so much joy, which gives me a buzz.”
What do you bake? “It changes almost daily, but I find making bread is very calming and soothing. I wasn’t a huge bread maker before the competition, but now I’ve got the know-how, I create different breads almost daily.”
Top tip: “Don’t worry too much about the end result – after all what’s the worst that’s going to happen if it doesn’t turn out perfectly? You can always try again.”
Favourite kit: “A KitchenAid, a prize when I won the Bake Off.”
t Baking buys: Sainsbury’s Great British Bake Off collection includes cake tin, £10; cake stand, £10, apron, £7, available from October 1; and Jo Wheatley’s book A Passion For Baking, published by Constable, costs £8, exclusively from Sainsbury’s.
l Annabel Karmel, best-selling author and expert on baby and children’s nutrition:
Why bake? “I always associate baking as time spent with my children when they were young, teaching them to cook and making up new recipes. It’s also lovely making something for someone else.”
What do you bake? “Cupcakes are so simple, but you can have so much fun getting creative with decorating with animal faces!”
Top tip: “Don’t rush – allow yourself enough time and the process will be enjoyable and the end result successful.”
Favourite kit: “A KitchenAid mixer is brilliant, especially for a really light batter.”
t Karmel is supporting the Fairtrade Foundation’s Big Fair Bake competition (September 24 to October 7). Visit www.fairtrade.org.uk/bigfairbake from September 1 to post your recipes.
t Baking buys: A KitchenAid 6.9L Artisan stand mixer, £799.95, or its smaller sister, £429.95, both from John Lewis; Swan SF16030N full size cupcake maker, £39.16, Amazon. Dunelm Mill has colourful kit for bakers, including Hanson red traditional kitchen scales, £12.99.
l Jean Christophe Novelli, French chef:
Why bake? “I see cooking, and baking in particular, as being integral to family life. It’s a time for catching up without modern-day distractions, and my fondest memory is being in the kitchen watching my mum bake.
“As a dad, it’s something I’ve done with my own children, and it’s lovely to pass on family secrets and recipes through the generations.”
What do you bake? “Choux pastry ring with fruit compote, because you can use whatever fruit is in season from blackberries and plums to gooseberries and redcurrants and it looks impressive!”
Top tip: “Temperature is key: When baking a cake, use eggs and butter at room temperature. But keep everything cold when making pastry, because if the fat gets too warm, it absorbs more flour and results in a tougher, heavier pastry.”
Favourite kit: “Non-stick bakeware.”
t Novelli is working with Flora Cuisine to launch the first ever recipe book created for mums by mums. Visit www.facebook.com/florahearts
t Baking buys: Orla Kiely set of three round nesting tins, £35, from Illustrated Living.
l Lotte Duncan, cook and broadcaster:
Why bake? “Baking puts a smile on my face, because there’s something wonderful about mixing sugar, flour and butter together to create something else.”
What do you like to bake? “Hazelnut and espresso cake.”
Top tip: “Read the recipe from beginning to end thoroughly and never delay once you’ve mixed the self-raising flour with a liquid.”
Favourite kit: “A Cuisinart food processor.”
t Duncan is part of the Celebrity Bake Book, a charity initiative sponsored by Food Network UK. The book will be published by Accent on September 6, priced £14.99, with proceeds going towards the Ben Kinsella Trust. Visit celebritybakebook.com
t Baking buys: A ‘Keep Calm and Eat Cup Cakes’ mug, which can be personalised, starts from £8, from McLaggan Smith Mugs. Keep an eye on the time with an Iced Fancies clock, £15, by Creative Tops from English Table.
l Tristan Welch, contributor to the Celebrity Bake Book:
Why bake? “Baking gives me such a homely feeling, and it’s great to have something ready to offer visitors.”
What do you bake? “Chocolate brownies, a guilty pleasure, and steamed toffee pudding in winter.”
Top tip: “Always sieve your flour and check your oven temperatures carefully. If your buns or biscuits stick to the greaseproof paper, try putting a dash of water between the hot tray and the paper. Leave for one minute and then they should come off.”
Favourite kit: “My oven – we’re old friends and it’s always reliable.”
t Baking buys: An Elise 110 cooker comes in china blue and cherry red, from £2,574, from Rangemaster; Floral decorated Elizabeth crockery collection includes 2-tier cake stand, £29.50, mug, £7.50, from Marks & Spencer.