To celebrate the new retro-inspired issue of Baking Heaven
, which is on sale now, we met the lady who loves to bake vintage. Victoria Glass
is an expert cake maker, writer and blogger who has recently released a beautiful book called Deliciously Vintage
. It's packed full of the most loved cakes and bakes of all time – from classic angel cake and jam roly poly to banoffee pie and homemade eclairs. We absolutely love it, and think it's the perfect read for gathering summer party ideas…
We love the idea of your new book, Deliciously Vintage. What inspired you to create it?
I did a lot of baking with my mother and grandmother as a child, which is so wrapped up in fond memories and lots of laughter. Each bake tells a different story and it still amazes me how vividly my memories are brought back simply from the comforting smell of of something baking in the oven. It was this connection with nostalgia and comfort that made me want to write Deliciously Vintage
, so that readers could find all their favourites in one book and to discover a few new classics along the way.
How did you start cooking, and where did you learn to bake?
I learned to cook at a very young age and was always desperate to roll my sleeves up and get stuck into preparing food in the kitchen. I was often trusted to make the starter and pudding for my parents' dinner parties in the 1980s. There was a real thrill attached to it. When I was about 7, I would creep downstairs to create elaborate (and sometimes quite eccentric) breakfasts for the whole family, complete with curled butter and orange juice in champagne flutes. I would then wake the household with the crash of a cymbal and then present them all with a hand written menu with a tea towel folded over my arm. I would also encourage my younger sister dress up in a tutu and play waitress. Cooking and feeding people was always so much fun and has remained so.
Why do you think baking has such a nostalgia attached to it?
Baking and particularly the smell of baking is extremely powerful and evocative. I still get transported back to days when it was raining and we were all snuggled together inside to watch the Saturday matinee as soon as I smell a chocolate Swiss roll baking in the oven.
How did your own childhood fuel your passion for baking?
There is a generosity about baking which always appealed to me. Along with the sense of achievement gained from creating so much pleasure with something so simple. As a child, every stage of baking holds its own special buzz of excitement, from the responsibility of weighing out the ingredients and being allowed to use the electric hand whisk for the first time and then you get to lick the bowl and that's all before it's even gone into the oven! Then comes the arts and crafts fun of decorating and the eager anticipation of finally eating it, but my favourite part of baking as a child was watching my friends' and family's eyes light up at what I had made for them. I still like that bit best.
You've got a lot of British classics in your cookbook. What do you think defines British baking at the moment?
I'm not sure what defines British baking specifically, but there is an appealing simplicity to classic British bakes. Nothing is too fussy or wrapped up in pomp. It's unlikely that you'll need to temper chocolate or spin sugar, but there is still a sense of fun to it, as seen in the wings on butterfly cakes and the cheeky faces made up of flaked almonds and cherries on top of a fat rascal bun.
Where do you think British baking will go next – what trends or fashions do you see coming?
British baking is at the top of its game right now. We are in a lovely phase of really celebrating the recipes passed down from our grannies and our grannies' grannies, but we're also unafraid of intricate patisserie, but there tends to be a little mischievous flair to our fancy cakes. The Brits don't have a tradition of reverence for our culinary heritage, which gives us the freedom and playfulness to do our own thing, creating new from old and being just that little bit cheeky with flavour pairings. I think this will continue and I suspect the Brits will be known for their irreverent experimentation in the world of high end patisserie, while staying true to our classics and rediscovering forgotten gems from the past.
What's your favourite recipe from your new book and why?
I'm not sure I have a definitive favourite, it depends which mood you catch me in, but I am very partial to a slice of Black Forest Gateau!
Do you have any more books planned for the future?
I have a book out later this year called Baking Mash-Up
, which is a book of baking portmanteaus. I have also just been commissioned to write a book on Boozy Milkshakes for Spring 2015 and there are several others in the pipeline too.
by Victoria Glass
is out now, published by CICO Books
, RRP £16.99
. Don't forget that the new issue of Baking Heaven
is packed full of vintage and retro inspired bakes and is on sale now from WH Smiths, Tesco, Sainsbury's, Asda, Waitrose, Morrisons, and independent stores, for £4.99, or available to order from us online here