The Great British Bake Off final: Nancy Birtwhistle

Nancy Birtwhistle was crowned champion of The Great British Bake Off 2014. Here she tells us what baking in the tent is really like, why amateur bakers should step out of their comfort zones, and what she found most challenging...

10 questions: GBBO finalist Nancy Birtwhistle

What was your best moment in Bake Off -­ which bake were you happiest with?

My best moment in Bake Off was in week one when I got star baker for my Jaffa Orange Cakes. I was at my most nervous and everything was strange, but I still pulled it off.

What was your biggest disaster?

The biggest disaster was my European Savarin, which was over-proved and a bit 70s. Having said that, it was fun and got some giggles on social media!

What were the cooking conditions of Bake Off like compared to your kitchen?

Cooking conditions in the tent were very different to my kitchen, but it's surprising how you adapt. The oven in fact was better than mine at home. Most of the time it felt as though you were working outside, especially when the tent sides were rolled up.

Have you baked much since you stopped filming?

I continue to bake most days, as I did before Bake Off.

Aside from your own delicious creations, who did you feel was pulling out all the stops on Bake Off?

I cannot single out just one baker who pulled out all the stops as each and every one of us did just that each week - some with more success than others, of course. There were some very clever people and I'm sure we'll all stay friends.

What's your top tip for amateur bakers?

Take yourself out of your comfort zone! We all have our favourite recipes but try something different.

Who did you enjoy feeding most, Mary, Paul, Sue or Mel?

Paul's positive comments added value because there were so few! Mary was much more generous.

How much practice did you manage to get in before each week on Bake Off?

I tended to try to practise about four bakes each week - generallly two signatures and two show stoppers.

Which week did you enjoy the most?

I enjoyed week one because I was star baker, but I generally enjoyed all the weeks as we all became really friendly - including the crew, production staff, Mel, Sue and of course, the judges.

What's next for Nancy?

It's been a busy time and I'd like to take some time to consider what to do next, whether that be writing, teaching or demonstrating - exciting times!


More Great British Bake Off

Want to indulge your Bake Off habit a little more? Discover backstage secrects of the Bake Off and read what the other finalists thought of thier time in the tent. Also, 2013 finalist Kimberley Wilson tells us what she thought of the contestants, the bakes and the judges decision in Kimberley's comments.

Did you watch The Great British Bake off this year? We'd love to hear what you thought of the 2014 series. Let us know below...


Comments, questions and tips

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12th Oct, 2014
I watched the Great British Bake Off. It is absolutely the best thing on the television. It makes me laugh at the comments from the bakers and from Sue and Mel, who are so funny, especially when they are doing their foreign accents. hee hee. And it makes me feel sad when one of the bakers has to leave, or when they don't have a successful bake. Mary and Paul are great together too with Mary as the good guy and Paul as the bad guy. Great programme. I shall miss it.
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