Look away if you were all done in January, your presence is not required. Go and be smug in the corner. The rest of you, pull up a seat, grab a cup of tea, (hell, why not a glass of mulled wine and a mince pie?) have your credit card at the ready and relax in the knowledge that these are all recommendations I have used and loved. The baker in your life might appreciate them under the tree too.
1. This Wilton 24 hole mini cake/muffin tin is £10.49. I bought it about 3/4 years ago and have used it so much. It’s happy in the dishwasher, doesn’t mind having all manner of sugary items welded to it and is totally non stick. My mini mince pies pop out with ease and it can be used for mini quiches, tortillas, cakes, muffins, tarts… if you can make it mini then this tin can do it. Also has a handy hole for hanging it up if you’re that way inclined.
2. Nordicware have been very nice to me over the years and sent me all manner of tins to play with, but this one, at £36.99 I bought myself. It is beyond amazing when it comes to anything pastry. Never sticks and makes full size (ie/ regular cupcake type size) tarts rather than the mini ones from it’s Wilton cousin above.
3. A cake lifter is a curious thing. I am not sure how we all managed without it? I do love it though. It’s fabulous for lifting delicate cakes off and onto boards without risking breaking them. Anyone who’s ever made a large celebration cake knows how tricky it can be to move the thing once decorated. This is the answer to all your prayers and is just £8.95 at the mo.
4. These are the scales that got me through Bake Off practice, they have also stood me in good sted since. They’re accurate without being painstaking in a patisserie scale type way (one hundredth of a gram? I don’t need to know that level of detail) and are mid range at £14.33.
5. A million instagram photos can’t be wrong – these gorgeous Falcon enamel pie tins look chic and also conduct heat perfectly. For £6.99 you get two 20cm tins. Of course you could go the whole hog and buy a huge set of 11 the things for £39.99 instead – take a look here.
- Oh I admit I am being a bit naughty including this gorgeous KitchenAid Artisan mixer in the best baking buys post. But I love mine and I think the baker in your life would love it and (more importantly) you, forever. I especially like this blue colour. It is a whopping £446.82 so maybe only buy it for someone who’s been very, very good indeed. (Or… here’s an idea, club together with everyone in the family and grab one for your mother, grandmother, dad etc – imagine their face!)
7. Does your baker love to make a cupcake or dozen? If so then grab them one or two of these Wilton 1M nozzles for piping perfect Mr Whippy style swirls of icing. And here’s another idea, don’t forget to pop a bag of Lakeland’s easygrip icing bags into their stocking. They’re super strong, don’t leak and can even be washed and used again. They’re just under £10 for 50 which works out at about 18p each. You can buy them here.
- Cupcakes are polarising. I don’t get political about baked goods but I am partial to a charm for my charm bracelet. I love pretty much everything Lily Charmed has to offer and this is super cute. It’s just over £30, but price depends on how long you want the necklace etc. Buy it here.
9. Us bakers are precise types. Creative too mind, but we do love a bit of precision. I LOVE my Thermapen. This one, in my favourite colour is just over £28. You can buy it here. If the baker in your life is super precise then think about buying them a an oven thermometer too.
10. I can barely think of a better gift than a huge wedge of Parmesan and a microplane grater. If your baker uses a lot of hard cheese, nutmeg, zest, chocolate or ginger then please, buy them one. They are SO good. Seriously. Just over £20 here.
- It’s a total myth that all bakers and chefs prefer dark chocolate. Paul Hollywood for one is not so partial to the bitter notes in some dark, high cocoa content chocolate. So if your baker prefers their chocolate milky then be out and proud and buy them some chocolate to nibble on for inspiration. How about a £25 ‘sharing’ hamper? (Don’t hold your breath on the sharing front).
12. Make like Nigella and help your baker get their cupboards/larder in order with classic Kilner jars. These are 1 litre jars; 3 for £12.45 here.
- Bakers love books; fact. We’re all collectors of recipe books, hoarding them, borrowing them and even reading them in bed. If your baker rather fancies a bit of GBBO action then this book is the one they need to read. It explains everything, so that when and if the oven goes down in the audition, they know what is happening to their cake through loss of heat and how to rectify it. It will also get them through no end of tech challenges. So much science. (NB: this is NOT a recipe book!) This isn’t easy bedtime reading but it is a must for a GBBO applicant in my humble opinion. I may well have done a little better had I read this first. Sadly I ordered after competing on the show. My other top tip is Bread Matters which goes into a lot of detail on why bread does what it does and how to diagnose problems. It does have recipes, but again, loads of science.
Oh come on, I had to recommend my book! Take a look at the reviews and decide for yourself. It’s under £10 at the moment and can be bought here. Don’t forget that there are lots of other Great British Bake Off alumni books about. Who was your fave? Ruth? Edd? Miranda? Jo? Mary-Anne? John? James? Cathryn? Howard? Ruby? Frances? Richard? Luis? Or how about Mary or Paul?
Have a wonderful, very merry and cakey Christmas!
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