Please wait, the site is loading...

We talk to The Great British Bake Off's 2016 winner Candice Brown about lipstick, life after the TV show and her new book - Comfort...

Your new book is called Comfort. What does the word mean for you?

It’s the kind of food I like eating – dishes that make you feel cosy and warm inside. They are nostalgic, too. I love food that sparks memories; when you take a bite and go, ‘Oh, that reminds me of something my mum used to make, or that we had at school!’

Many of your recipes are inspired by your family – from your grandmother’s clove-stuffed apple strudel to your mum’s quiche. Is family veryimportant to you?

My family are my everything. We are very close-knit. The book is filled with so many of their favourite recipes, and memories – especially of my nan. She was the apple of my eye and such a great cook. When I was a kid, I was attached to her hip. She only passed away recently and I still remember absolutely everything about her. And she made the best roast dinner I have ever had.

Your parents were pub landlords for most of your childhood. What was that like?

They gave us such a great childhood. We moved around a lot, and it wasn’t easy; people always think running a pub sounds lovely, but it’s hard work. But you meet people from all walks of life in a pub.

Are you a very careful cook, measuring everything out by the gram, or do you like to run a bit wild in the kitchen?

I do a lot of what I call ‘guess-a- cakes’, where I throw everything into a bowl, bung it into the oven and hope for the best. If it’s bad, I just don’t tell anyone about it. But when you’re doing recipes for a book, you have to be a lot more careful, and make yourself measure out things very carefully. Still, I say in the book that you should always play around with your baking, especially with different flavours. Don’t be scared of mixing things up – cross out ingredients and add ones you like, and if it goes wrong, well, it’s only a cake! I like it when recipes are passed down and changed – they might start out as mine, but then they become someone else’s.

What are your favourite flavours to cook with?

I really love seasonal fruit. I think it comes from my love of going to markets. Even if I’m on holiday on the other side of the world, I will track down a market. I really like raspberries, passion fruit and anything that is tangy – the kind of food that makes your face go a little funny. And my whole family is obsessed with coconut. We often joke it’s a miracle that I wasn’t born brown and hairy.

A lot of your recipes are very nostalgic, like the Black Forest gateau. Is the past a big inspiration for you?

I love anything old or retro, from clothes to kitchenware. My absolute hero is Audrey Hepburn. I love the way old things have so much character. A French copper pan, or a chipped bowl have stories to tell.

You became famous on Bake Off for your glamorous lipsticks. Has a make-up company asked you do a lipstick range yet?

You know what, I was sent a lot of amazing lipsticks, but nobody has asked me to do that. I’m quite happy doing ‘research’ though – and by that I mean popping out to the shops every few weeks and treating myself to a new one, along with a coffee and a slice of cake. If you feel rubbish, putting on a bit of lipstick always makes you feel better.

You balanced appearing on Bake Off with your job as a PE teacher. Was that difficult?

It was really hard. I taught PE for special needs children, which is a very emotionally difficult job, then every night I was testing cakes and going away to film at the weekend. I certainly didn’t sleep very much. And I had to keep it a secret. Every Monday, I'd go into school and my colleagues would ask, ‘Do anything interesting at the weekend?’ and I would have to reply, ‘Oooh, not really!’

You’ve given up teaching now to focus on your cookery career. Will you ever go back?

There are days I miss teaching – especially when it’s summer, and the kids are finishing exams and they’re all so happy. But I’m doing something I have always dreamt of doing, and I really am so grateful to be given these opportunities.

You tested the recipes for your book at home. How did your partner Liam cope with all that cake?

There were days he’d come home and say, ‘What’s for dinner?’ and I’d say ‘Um, chocolate cake and pavlova…’ He often complains that he doesn’t even like cake but then I’ll find him in the kitchen eating one with a spoon before it has even come out of the tin.

Are you still friends with any of your Bake Off colleagues?

Oh yes. We have a WhatsApp group, and some of them are even going on holiday together soon. We were very lucky that as a group of 12, we got on really well. We laughed a lot during Bake Off, and we still do.

What’s the biggest lesson you took away from Bake Off?

It has made me realise that I can do things, and that I am actually quite good. That was a big thing for me because every week on the programme I would feel so nervous, as if they’d find out that I shouldn’t really be there. I have especially learnt that I can work well under pressure. When Mel and Sue shouted, ‘60 seconds left!’ I’d think, ‘OK, well, now I’ll construct a house’. It turns out you can do a lot in a minute.

Candice's book Comfort is out now. 

 

About the author

Leah Hyslop
Leah is our lovely food director. You'll most likely find her scoffing cake in our test kitchen...

We value your privacy

We use cookies to help give you the best experience on our site and to allow us and third parties to customise the marketing content you see across websites and social media. For more information see our cookie policy.

Cookie Preference Centre

Learn more about what each cookie category does and choose your settings (toggle right to opt in or left to opt out). Cookie policy


Strictly Necessary

These technologies are needed to enable our websites and apps to run and to keep it secure.

Sainsbury's Magazine

These technologies tell us how customers use our sites and apps and provide information to help us improve the website, apps and your browsing experience.

Cookie name Duration
PHPSESSID Until the browsing session ends
device_view 1 month
recentlyViewedRecipes 1 year
subscription-{popup-version-date}-PopupClosed 12 days

Vimeo

Enables Vimeo videos on the site

Cookie name Duration
_derived_epik 1 year

Constant Commerce

Enables shopping tools for recipe ingredients

Cookie name Duration
cc_a_h 10 years
cc_a_s Until the browsing session ends

DoubleClick

DoubleClick Digital Marketing (DDM) is an integrated ad-technology platform that enables us to more effectively create, manage and grow high-impact digital marketing campaigns.

Cookie name Duration
DSID 10 days
IDE 1 year
RUL 11 months

Performance/Analytics

These technologies tell us how customers use our sites and apps and provide information to help us improve the website, apps and your browsing experience.

Google

Google Analytics tell us how customers use our sites and apps and provide information to help us improve the website, apps and your browsing experience.

Cookie name Duration
__gads 13 months
_ga 28 months
_gat 1 minute
_gid 1 day
1P_JAR 1 month
ANID 10 days
CONSENT 18 years
NID 6 months
__Secure-3PAPISID 2 years
__Secure-3PSID 2 years
__Secure-3PSIDCC 1 year

Marketing/Targeting

These technologies help us decide which products, services and offers may be relevant for you. We use this data to customise the marketing content you see on websites, apps and social media. They also help us understand the performance of our marketing activities. These cookies are set by us or our carefully-selected third parties.

Pinterest

Pinterest conversion tracking gathers conversion insights and builds audiences to target based on actions our visitors have taken on the site.

Cookie name Duration
_pinterest_ct_rt 1 year
_pinterest_ct_ua 1 year
_pin_unauth 1 year

Outbrain

These technologies tell us how customers use our sites and apps and provide information to help us improve the website, apps and your browsing experience.

Cookie name Duration
outbrain_cid_fetch 5 minutes
adrl 5 weeks
apnxs 6 weeks
criteo 2 months
obuid 6 months

Twitter

Twitter conversion tracking enables us to measure our return on ad spend by tracking the actions people take after viewing or engaging with our ads on Twitter.

Cookie name Duration
personalization_id 2 years
muc 2 years
ads_prefs 5 years
auth_token 5 years
dnt 5 years
guest_id 2 years
twid 5 years