What we learned from baking a new Candy Crush-inspired cake with Great British Bake Off series four winner Frances QuinnHeat Profit
For most of the country, the 10 weeks of the Great British Bake Off has a similar effect on our hobbies as Wimbledon does each year.
Instead of a spike in tennis lessons, GBBO inspires us to all take up part-time baking, become people that would never dream of making a creation with a soggy bottom or under-proof their dough.
Most of us, though, are not bakers at heart. The Capitalist is one of these people.
Which is why, when it came to baking a huge Candy Crush-inspired cake, it was a good thing the season four winner of GBBO, Frances Quinn, was on-hand to teach us the need-to-know tactics.
Here’s what we learned under Frances’ tutelage.
1. Recipes are great, but true bakers follow their instincts
As The Capitalist struggled to get to grips with the electric kitchen implements and diligently tried to work out how much cocoa powder should really be going into the buttercream mix, Quinn brushed off attempts to stick entirely to the recipe.
“I never follow a recipe,” she insisted throughout, relying on instinct to tell her when to add more milk and icing sugar (quite often, if you’re wondering).
Read more: Revealed: Britain’s most popular desserts
Some bakers are probably born with a natural flair, but The Capitalist reserves the right to believe this trait can also be learned.
2. There’s no way to avoid that Candy Crush is tacky… but you can be enthusiastic
Quinn’s baking skills were employed to teach a small group of us how to bake one of the signature Booster Wheel Cakes (see image from awestruck colleague below) from the new Candy Crush Cakes & Bakes recipe book.
— Emma Haslett (@emmahaslett) October 5, 2016
Yep, that’s right. King, the company behind Candy Crush, has moved into the realm of cookery literature. While turning an app with striped candies and colour bombs into a 25-recipe book for adults to actually cook from is undoubtedly a bit tacky, the results are surprisingly impressive.
As Quinn said with gumption, it’s about “bringing the kingdom into the kitchen”.
Read more: Lunch with Candy Crush creator Riccardo Zacconi fetches £18,000 at charity auction
If you’re looking to handbake cakes for those times when Colin the Caterpillar just won’t do, we would actually recommend this £9.99 sugar extravaganza of a book.
3. Bake Off really is finished
“It’s not going to be the same now it’s moved to Channel 4,” Quinn opined. “It was over for me once Mel and Sue left.”
Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you’ll be aware that GBBO recently upped sticks and moved from its BBC home to Channel 4, with only Paul Hollywood moving channels with the programme from the original, four-person judge and presenter line-up.
Read more: Bad News: People don’t want to watch Bake Off without Mary Berry
If a show winner thinks the show’s best days are now behind it, we’re inclined to agree.
4. Sometimes appearing on a reality TV show can be a boost to your career
When handled well, reality TV can be a launchpad for going freelance. Before going on GBBO, Quinn was a baby and toddler clothes designer for posh retailer Joules.
Since the programme she’s worked with brands such as Bloom and Wild and Sipsmith gin, using her background to “design with food, rather than fabric”.
“Professional baking is such a saturated Market,” Quinn told The Capitalist. “You’ve got to find something you’re doing that’s slightly unique to everyone else. I’m coming from a creative side and the design has really helped.”
Read more: How to stop your business from getting a soggy bottom
Quinn is also mulling ideas for a second cookbook to follow up “Quinntessential Baking”, which she released last year.
5. Frances is probably Team Selasi (but she’s just too polite to say so)
Quinn told us she has a “soft spot” for Selasi Gbormittah, who is on this years series of GBBO and works on Deutsche Bank’s global transactions desk.
The Capitalist is a stalwart member of Team Selasi (someone has to be on the City’s side in Bake Off this year), though Quinn is partly a fan because they both attended Nottingham Trent University and because of his tranquil nature.
“He’s very calm and collected. People used to say I looked calm and collected as well but inside I was panicking. But he looks completely chilled on the inside.”