We sat down with finalist Laura for a quick bite and a chat about her time in the tent. Here’s what Laura said about her Bake Off experience:
You were all named Star Baker at some stage throughout the series, can you describe the emotion of getting that accolade? And did you relax a bit as you went through or did you want to up your baking game?
I honestly wasn’t that fussed about getting Star Baker at first, but when my caged tart won me the accolade in Pastry Week I was chuffed to bits. It really gave me the confidence boost I needed and made me feel like I deserved to be there.
It’s always hard to say goodbye to fellow bakers and you guys had to do that over six weeks, how difficult was that?
We all got really close very quickly as we were living together, so each week it got harder and harder. I was gutted when Sura left, but as time went on I also got really close with Lottie and Marc, so them leaving was a huge blow.
Approaching The Final how were your nerves? Did it feel like a competition or three friends going back into the tent for one last time?
Both of the boys were really competitive, so to be honest it made me go the other way. I felt nervous going into the final but not because I wanted to win. I just wanted to do myself proud.
Did you receive any advice or words of wisdom from friends or family ahead of The Final?
My family just told me to be myself and bake from the heart.
Did you ever think that you would spend that amount of time in the Bake Off Bubble?
I never dreamed I would be in the bubble for that long. I ran out of fake tan after two weeks and had to send off for emergency supplies.
How did you adapt to your new bubble life?
I loved the whole experience. We had a lot of laughs and some great nights in the bar playing games or doing karaoke. It’s strange how quickly we all adapted to our new surroundings after being in lockdown for so long.
It got tenser towards The Final, how supportive were Matt and Noel?
Matt and Noel were so supportive and would always be there to give you comforting hugs or make you laugh with a crass joke. I dread to think how mundane and stressful it would have been without them.
Did you ever finish before they shouted: ‘You have 10 minutes left, bakers!’
Only once I think. It was always a race to the finish with me to be honest!
What’s been your favourite and least favourite challenge or theme this series?
I loved pretty much all of the signature challenges this year as they’re things I would normally make at home. Japanese Week was great too as it was something different. Except for the matcha pancakes. Let’s not talk about those…
Did the technical challenge fill you with dread each week and how did you cope with it?
I tried to just go with the flow and enjoy them but towards the end that was impossible because the pressure was so intense.
What’s the best thing overall about taking part in Bake Off?
Having Paul and Prue try my food and (for the most part) enjoy it, was just incredible. I’ve been a huge Bake Off fan for many years so I feel incredibly blessed to have been in that famous white tent.
How have you found it watching yourself on TV, and have you been recognised yet?
Hated it at first but then I just thought that’s me. If you don’t like it, don’t look.
Were you aware of the innuendoes during filming… or is it all part of the baking process and you don’t notice as you are too busy baking?
Yes, very aware. It wouldn’t be Bake Off without the innuendoes would it!
Have you missed not being in the tent?
It’s only now I’m home I realise how incredible the experience was and how lucky I was to be in the famous white tent. I do miss it, but I don’t miss baking under such pressure. Baking at home at my own pace is bliss!
Can you remember the best comedy moment in or out of the tent?
We all did very badly in the Pastry Week technical. Linda’s eclairs in particular were so bad that Paul’s reaction gave me the giggles. I had tears running down my face. So did the crew.
What is your favourite bake to make or most asked for bake?
My key lime pie.
Will the Class of 2020 Bakers keep in touch with each other?
Absolutely! Friends for life.
Would you do it all again?
In a heartbeat. It has been one of the highlights of my life. What an incredible honour to go from being a Bake Off super fan to actually being in the tent.
Worst and best moments for you of being in the tent overall this series?
The best moment was getting star baker. I was so proud of what I’d done and it gave me the confidence boost I really needed. And getting praise from Paul when he called one of my bakes a ‘triumph’.
The worst moment for me was baking in the heat. I was exhausted and the heat just made some things impossible.
Will this be a life change for you, or will life carry on as normal?
I’m a big foodie and hugely passionate about baking, so hopefully it will lead to other opportunities. We’ll have to wait and see!
What are you hoping for now…. is there an ultimate baking dream?
The ultimate dream is to develop my own recipes to showcase my love of proper, made-from-the-heart, comfort food.
Although not baking related, I’m really into my plus size fashion so would love to get involved in that world and help inspire body confidence in other women.
You can now apply online to be a Baker for the next series. Would you encourage any amateur baker out there to apply for Bake Off Series 12? How did you overcome your reservations and who or what made you send off that application form, and are you glad you did?
Don’t worry about being the best baker, or the neatest (ha). If you have a passion for baking just go for it and see where you end up.
If Laura has inspired you to apply for Series 12 of Bake Off, head to applyforbakeoff.co.uk now.
Laura will join Jo Brand and Tom Allen on The Great British Bake Off: An Extra Slice on Friday 27th November at 8pm on Channel 4.