Baking Books and The Great British Bake Off
By Mary Karayel and Hayley Cadel
This week, series twelve of The Great British Bake Off ended, and what a brilliant series it was. The series gave us strong friendships, whimsical bakes and ended with the most evenly matched final in the show's history. What made this series so special to me was the likeability of Chigs, Crystelle and Giuseppe that made me root for all three of them to win. In the end, Giuseppe won this year's competition with his perfect ‘Mad Hatter Tea Party’ and continuous perfection throughout the series. The episode poignantly ended with the bakers all meeting up in Amanda’s garden before cutting to Giuseppe in Milan and how he is planning to write a cookery book with his father to preserve their family recipes, which I am excited to see on bookshelves in the future. This wish to publish such a book prompted us to think about baking books and The Great British Bake Off’s continuous impact on the baking genre.
There has been a long history of successful baking books from winners of the much-loved baking series, starting with Edd Kimber in 2010. Previously a debt collector, Edd won the competition and has since published three baking books: The Boy Who Bakes (2011), Say It With Cake (2012) and Patisserie Made Simple (2014). He has also written for BBC Good Food and continues to update his blog The Boy Who Bakes. John Waite, Candice Brown and Peter Hawkins, to name a few, have all enjoyed similar publishing success after winning their seasons of the show, respectively.
There is one baker who stands out above the rest and that is Nadiya Hussain. Nadiya competed in season six of GBBO and instantly won the audience’s heart with her family-style baking, her witty humour and lovely personality. Since winning, Nadiya has baked for the Queen’s 90th Birthday, regularly makes television appearances on the likes of the BBC and writes in the food section of newspapers like The Times. Nadiya has also written a whopping nine food related books, targeted at both adults and children that explore sweet and savoury recipes. She released her most recent book, Fast Flavours, in October this year and is currently 14th on the Amazon Bestseller list. If Giuseppe needs any tips to turn his GBBO win into commercial publishing success, Nadiya is the winner to watch!
However, it is not just the winners who secure book deals, notably Chetna Makan, Kim Joy and Liam Charles have all gone on to publish cookery books, with the target audience clearly identified as amateur bakers. And it is not just British audiences who are avidly watching the series, it is being watched worldwide, with cookery books linked to the show being made available to an international market.
As The Great British Bake Off has been credited for reigniting interest in home-baking, it is, therefore, particularly interesting how publishers can capitalise on the cultural phenomenon of the show. According to The Guardian, nonfiction sales rose in 2020, with a 4% increase in cookery book sales. With more time at home, many people turned to baking, much like Chigs, who only started baking during the first lockdown. Interestingly, GBBO has also been used to break into the digital sphere, for example, the Hachette Bake Off app. On the app, users gain access to a selection of free recipes and baking advice from the experts, with additional recipes being sold as bundles. In previous years, book events have coincided with the launch of the season’s cookbook, with bakers appearing at bookshops for signings.
The 2021 cohort of bakers are already enjoying a taste of publishing success with the launch of The Great British Bake Off: A Bake for All Seasons which showcases recipes from the judges and the contestants from this year’s series. The book, published in September this year, contains seasonal bakes such as Pumpkin Rolls, a Banana Tahini Loaf and multi-tiered cakes for the more daring home-bakers! This book gives space for every contestant of 2021 and includes recipes from some bakers who left the competition early, giving readers an opportunity to get to know them and their baking style a little better.
We anticipate that this year will be no different for the bakers, and hope we will see books from all of our finalists, as well as some of the other well-loved bakers. Like Nadiya, we are expecting Crystelle to explore her rich Portuguese/Goan heritage in her savoury bakes and for her to continue to wow us with her aesthetic piping skills on her sweet treats. Chigs, as the newest baker of the finalists, we imagine will focus on home baking style cooking with his Greek influences, which could see him being very successful in the baking genre. Finally, we are rooting for Lizzie to create baking books for younger audiences and Jurgen to help us perfect the art and science of baking.
So keep your eye out next year to see which bakers do jump on the trend of baking books!