Ever since the Great British Bake Off began, I’ve been completely smitten. One follower on Twitter recently said they were having a night in watching the Bake Off in a dressing gown and described it as a ‘Liv night in’. Yes, I’m serious. Maybe it was Mel and Sue, maybe it was Paul and those eyes or Mary and her penchant for a good floral jacket; but this season it was certainly the contestants that had me at hello; in particular Ruby. Not only did her inventive creations blow me away week by week, but I suppose, being one year my senior she almost acted as a bit of a baking-inspiration (corny, I know)- and I couldn’t have been more thrilled to see such a deserving baker get so far. Anyway- I got in touch with the lady herself to chat favourite bakes, setting the record straight with that Guardian article and weekends at Broadway market…
Firstly, congrats on doing so well in the final, you should be so so proud! Have you had a break since?
Bake Off finished in June so I’ve actually had quite a few months for it all to sink in! I actually thought I’d have a break from baking after filming, but within 48 hours I was back in the kitchen. It was nice to know that despite the trauma of Bake Off, I still had that love of baking.
When did you first decide to enter the Bake Off?
I tuned into the last series about halfway through and fell in love with it straight away. It came at a time when I’d been doing a lot more baking anyway, so I decided then and there that I’d like to apply, kind of as a means of improving my baking skills. I never expected to even get on the show, but just the process of filling in the application form alone motivated me to practise and improve.
Which bake in the series were you most proud of? I’d kill for a slice of that chocolate and ginger number…
I loved the peacock! It was so ostentatious and outrageous – very unlike my normal baking. I do have a soft spot for the allotment cake, too. Nothing wrong with a wonky shed.
Would you have done anything differently if you were to have done it again? It must be ever so stressful in the tent- especially with all of the cameras!
If I could go back again I’d probably just lighten up a bit! It was so difficult to relax, though, at the time. So many months of anxiety and preparation were behind every bake, so it wasn’t easy to distance yourself from the situation and get that perspective.
Were there any particular highlights for you throughout the show?
There were so many tiny things that really made the difference. Mel or Sue telling a joke, or another contestant coming over to give you a hand… Just those small instances of camaraderie that really made you feel more at ease.
You’ve just finished university (Massive congrats on the first, too)- I bet your housemates loved your cooking? What’s your speciality?
Actually I’ve only finished first year! The blurb bit at the end of the show was quite misleading! I got a first in my first year exams, and now I’m in second year. Me and my housemates cook together all the time – it’s so great to finally have people to share my food with!
Your article on The Guardian has had such an excellent response- and certainly needed to be said- are you pleased in how it’s been received?
I’m over the moon. I never expected it to be so well received. I’m actually really surprised, too, because there was actually nothing new or groundbreaking in the article – it’s no revelation that cooking shouldn’t be gendered, or that women shouldn’t be reduced to stereotypes. Maybe it just came at the right time, or with the right tone. I’m not sure… but I’m very happy about it.
What is it that you love about baking so much, when did you first become interested in it?
I just love the tactile processes of baking, and I love romanticising the ingredients. I love the creativity of it and the way that it’s so reminiscent of home and comfort.
What does the ideal Sunday look like for you?
A late breakfast with my housemates, a stroll around Broadway Market, a leisurely baking session and a browse of some recipe tome with a cup of tea.
You’ve just finished a year of studying, a hugely successful Bake Off series- what’s next for Ruby?
I’m on a mission to master bread! There’s still so much about baking I need to learn – I’m not done yet!
You can check out Ruby’s blog here for more exciting recipes and baking ventures!