Being on the Bake Off was such a roller coaster, it represents achievement but it is also nerve wracking. It was fantastic meeting the other 11 bakers. What it has proved is that I can cope with pressure, I like to push myself and try new things, and that I am a reasonable baker.
My sister encouraged me from the very first episode of Bake Off to apply, and so this January I finally submitted my portfolio and application. It was at the last minute as I was waiting to finish my Christmas cake, which took longer than I thought. I taught myself how to do the sugar flowers and it turned out really well. I was pleased as it was for the family in honour of my late mum who always used to make our Christmas cake.
I bake to entertain my friends at dinner parties, it’s more of a hobby and an interest to make something memorable to eat when people come to our house. I was genuinely surprised to be accepted as I know the standard gets higher each year. The only moment it really dawned on me that I was actually in the Bake Off tent was when the chocolate cake went wrong in Episode 1.
It’s not just a cake – that was funny to see the reaction come out on Twitter. I was dreading episode 1 – my husband and all my friends, along with the rest of the nation were seeing it for the first time – I hadn’t told a soul the outcome. I knew what was coming but of course I hadn’t seen the tension that was building in the episode. It became known as ‘Mudslide’ on Twitter and I got incredible support, which was great because at the time it was quite traumatic! You get very passionate and involved about your bakes and have every reason to be upset when they don’t turn out as you expect. I really thought I was going home particularly when Sue said ‘you are not going home!’ It was such a wonderful feeling when the public got on my side.
My best moment in the series was winning the Technical for my Arlettes on Week 2, that really clinched it for me – I had given the judges what they wanted and I was really proud – I had never made them before so that was something new for me.
My worst moment was in Episode 3 when I said I hadn’t practised my bread, and you could see by Mary and Paul’s faces that they weren’t happy. At the end of the day you have to remember it’s a baking competition and at home I don’t make bread sculptures!
I am never going to stop baking but I won’t be baking under pressure. My husband was the tester for the amount of cakes that I was making for Bake Off, and it became very clear that he doesn’t like cake, as he has a love of savoury bakes. When we have a dinner party he does the main course and I will do the dessert or cake so we are the perfect complement.
I have noticed how everyone has said how calm I was in the tent and didn’t let my emotions take over, but what people don’t know is that when I got the praise from Mary and Paul for my Arlettes, inside I was doing a little Salsa dance.