Filling our screens with a joyous mix of camaraderie and cakes, The Great British Bake Off never fails to raise a few smiles.
But in the 10 years the Channel 4 series has been whipping up our appetite for home baking, no contestant has embodied the wholesome warmth of Bake Off more than Kim-Joy Hewlett.
Appearing in the ninth series of the show, the now 29-year-old captured the nation’s hearts with her whimsical, fun and artistic creations, which often featured cute cartoon-like characters, including bumblebee biscuits and turtle choux buns – the latter of which even made steely-eyed judge Paul Hollywood break into a grin.
Naturally, her first book, Baking With Kim-Joy, was filled with similarly intricate designs and quickly became an international bestseller. Now, with the festive season in full swing, the bubbly baker has turned her attention to all things yuletide for her second collection of recipes, the aptly named Christmas With Kim-Joy.
“I just love the concept of Christmas – food, colour, decorations and being around your loved ones,” explained the star baker, who made it through to the 2018 final alongside Ruby Bhogal and eventual winner, Rahul Mandal. “And all the Christmas flavours are perfect, too. Cinnamons, cardamom, ginger…it’s all delicious.”
Perfect as a stocking filler (or, indeed, a gift for yourself), the book is described as a “festive collection of edible cuteness” and features everything from marshmallow igloos and reindeer bakewell tarts to woolly jumper cookies and snowmen-topped Bundt cake.
“My favourite recipe from the new book changes depending on my mood – but, of course, I love all the recipes. They’re like my children,” continued Kim-Joy with a laugh.
“Today, the stolen is my favourite. I love marzipan – it divides people but I love it – and I decorate the outside with little Christmas mice. Marzipan is a little yellowy anyway, so I thought, ‘Why not make the stolen look like cheese?’”
Each of Kim-Joy’s dishes is born from a self-confessed natural sweet tooth, which she says ensures baking never feels like a chore, even now it’s her full-time job. Cravings for cookies one day or cheesecake the next mean there’s no shortage of delicious delights in her kitchen, and she also spends time adapting her treats to be more inclusive.
As well as detailing how to make her recipes gluten-free, the expert baker also provides substitution suggestions for plant-based diets throughout her cookbook, which she believes can be just as good as the original, if not better.
“The popularity of vegan baking has been growing recently, and I’ve got a few friends who are vegan, so I try to make my recipes as inclusive as possible,” explained Kim-Joy, who also runs her own YouTube channel, where she shares handy how-to guides.
“If you’re baking a cake, you want to make sure everybody can eat it – and with some recipes, it’s so easy to put in a substitution, so it seems really silly not to. For example, for caramel, you can use coconut milk instead of double cream.
“There are some recipes that are a little trickier, such as choux pastry. But if it doesn’t work, I don’t use it – the adapted recipe has to be 99% as good as the original or even better.”
Christmas With Kim-Joy, Quadrille, £15, is out now
Enjoy the convenience of having The Sunday Post delivered as a digital ePaper straight to your smartphone, tablet or computer.
Subscribe for only £5.49 a month and enjoy all the benefits of the printed paper as a digital replica.Subscribe