We chat with Helena Garcia, a name and face you're sure to recognise from the tenth series of the show we all know and love... The Great British Bake Off, of course!
Helena's certainly been busy since she appeared on the show in 2019 and tells us about her wickedly brilliant book, where her love for baking came from, plus pearls of baking wisdom. Happy reading!
1. Tell us more about your new book ‘The Wicked Baker: Cakes and treats to die for'
I think it represents my baking style, my style in general actually, perfectly. Spooky, stylish with a sense of humor. We made sure that the photography was very classic using vintage fabrics and antiques as props that I mainly have displayed around my house.
2. What made you decide to focus on a Halloween theme?
I don’t see it as a Halloween book. I see it as a dark, Victoriana, macabre inspired book which can be used all year round.
3. If you had to pick one recipe from the book that you think everyone should try, what would it be?
Almost impossible to answer, but one that's really delicious and everyone should be able to make is the Eye of Horus chocolate pies. I could eat the filling with a spoon all day long.
4. Where did your love of baking come from/how did you get into baking?
My mum is a good cook, but very efficient and to the point. My grandmother however was a proper home cook, who did everything from scratch, grew her veggies, had chickens, etc. She had a bigger influence on me. Then when I spent my last year of high school in Las Vegas is when the baking really took off. Baking felt like cooking with added creative possibilities.
5. We loved watching you on The Great British Bake Off! What was your favourite moment?
So many, but the bond my year developed was very special. There’s not a day that goes by that I’m not on the phone to David or Priya, Michael or Henry… we are so close.
6. Any advice for budding bakers?
Don’t stress about the technical, they don’t actually count that much.
7. What’s your go-to dessert that you love to make? And why?
Any lemon-based dessert. The slime pudding in the book is so easy and so nice but a good lemon drizzle is always a favourite.
8. Are there any new exciting recipes or baking ingredients you’ve been experimenting with? Or a favourite ingredient you love to bake with?
I’m really into using polenta at the moment – I'm trying to consume less gluten. I made a lemon and rosemary polenta cake that I’m obsessed with at the moment.
9. How would you sum up your style in three words, and why?
Spooky, eccentric and humorous, I think – it just represents me in general.
10. What can we look forward to from you next?
I’m sure more books will come along, and who knows, I’m always looking for the next challenge…