With frothy peaks, soggy bottoms and lovely wobbles galore, the nation’s favourite cooking show – The Great British Bake Off – is back, and it’s as instantly addictive as ever.
We don’t know about you, but the series always seems to make us a little cake obsessed. Well, you know, even more so than usual. If we’re not watching people bake or attempting to make the cakey creations from the show ourselves, we’re devouring novels with a sweet theme. If you’re the same way, here are a few recently risen reads we think you’ll enjoy.
1. That Part Was True by Deborah McKinLay – When English Eve Petworth writes to American Jackson Cooper to praise a scene in one of his books, they discover a mutual love of cookery. Can a romance blossom between two people who only know one another from handwritten letters and recipes?
2. What Would Mary Berry Do? by Claire Sandy – Marie Dunwoody has a pretty good lot in life. A lovely husband, three great kids and a business of her own. Despite all of this, something has really started to get her down. She can’t bake. Lucy Gray, neighbour and nemesis, meanwhile, can whip up perfect profiteroles with one hand, while ironing her bed sheets with the other. Something has to change.
3. The Art of Baking Blind by Sarah Vaughan – In 1966, Kathleen Eaden, cookery writer and wife of a supermarket magnate, published The Art of Baking, her guide to nurturing a family by creating the most exquisite pastries, biscuits and cakes. Today, five amatuer bakers are competitng to become the new Mrs. Eaden. Secrets, unlikely alliances and plenty of drama ensues.
4. The Travelling Tea Shop by Belinda Jones – When British baking treasure Pamela Lambert-Leigh needs a guide on a research trip around the USA's East Coast on a vintage London bus, Laura jumps at the chance. Who knows where the adventure will lead …
5. A Little Love by Amanda Prowse – Pru Plum is the celebrated owner of famous Mayfair bakery, Plum's Patisserie. Few would believe that this elegant woman, who wears Chanel and is always immaculately turned out, turned 66 last year. Nor would they believe some of the secrets Pru is keeping.
6. Delicious! by Ruth Reichl – While this novel isn’t out until September, it’s one we’ve been looking forward to all year. It tells the story of Delicious! magazine intern Billie, who discovers the wartime letters of 12-year-old Lulu Swan, written to distinguished food writer, James Beard.
7. Love, Lies and Lemon Cake by Sue Watson – Faye Dobson dreams of being whisked to Paris for dinner, making three wishes at the Trevi fountain and having sex under the stars. But the wrinkles are multiplying, her husband’s passion is for plumbing, and the nearest she’ll get to Rome is a take-away pizza. Then she meets gorgeous Australian surfer, Dan, who works at the local deli and makes the most amazing lemon cake.
8. Tomorrow There Will Be Apricots by Jessica Soffer – Troubled teenager Lorca is desperate to learn how to make an obscure Middle Eastern dish, which she believes will help win her mother’s affections. When she begins visiting 80-year-old Victoria, lonely after the recent death of her husband, for cooking lessons, the pair bond over freshly-baked almond and pistachio cookies and baklava, and begin to suspect they are connected in more ways than just their love of food.
9. A Piece of Cake by Trisha Ashley – A new short story from women’s fiction favourite Trisha Ashley, professional cake-maker Kate doesn’t have time for a man in her life, especially a boorish, sports-mad one like Wes. He’s definitely not her type. Will the events of summer lead Kate to believe that love is the sweetest thing of all, however?
10. There’s More to Life Than Cupcakes by Poppy Dolan – Perfect for fans of the GBBO (there’s even a cameo from Paul Hollywood), Ellie Redford has a husband, a job and a home. According to the rest of the world, it’s baby o’clock already. Ellie’s not so sure and turns to baking classes, alongside the young, free and sizzling hot Joe.
Are you watching The Great British Bake Off this year? Do you have a favourite already? Are there any baking-themed novels you’d add to the list?