IT WAS until recently shunned as a pastime of a bygone era but now programmes like The Great British Bake Off have seen baking’s popularity soar, with a third of Britons claiming to create a cake or pastry dish from scratch every week.
The pursuit is most popular among young people, a report has found, with baking taking place most frequently in households where people are aged 25 to 34 – or in those with children aged five to nine.
Sales of kitchen gadgets, such as food processors, blenders, liquidisers and mixers, have also risen, according to the report by market research firm Mintel, while supermarkets have reported an increase in demand for products such as flour, cake decorating materials and baking utensils.
Jane Westgarth, of Mintel, said: “What may have begun as a response to a rising need to be thriftier with the food budget has become a kitchen craft, as people want to create the indulgent treats they see on programmes like The Great British Bake Off.”
One in five mixers or food processors in Britain were bought in the past year – testament of the great British baking revolution, analysts said. Tesco said it had seen sales of baking decoration products almost double during the summer last year, while The Great British Bake Off was being shown.
Sainsbury’s said it had experienced a 6 per cent increase in flour sales, while Asda saw demand for loaf tins almost triple and the sale of cake tins, kitchen scales and cake sprinkles double in recent months.
UK-wide, the volume of flour sold has risen by 5 per cent a year for the past four years, the Flour Advisory Bureau said.
Tesco home baking buyer Darren Atherton said: “There’s no doubt that The Great British Bake Off has inspired a whole new generation of younger bakers and we know that as sales of home baking ingredients rise when the show is on.”
Alex Waugh, director of the Flour Advisory Bureau, added: “The trend started even before The Great British Bake Off, but has definitely been helped by it and programmes like it. One of the good things about baking is that it is something parents can do with children.”
Isobel Robertson, national chairman of the Scottish Women’s Rural Institutes, said younger members had joined in a bid to pick up traditional skills after watching television.
She added: “People have been used to shop-bought baking for years because they think that making their own is too time-consuming and too difficult. However, now that people are watching these shows, they are realising how fun and satisfying it is to bake from scratch.”
Edinburgh-based chef Mark Greenaway, who appeared on TV show The Great British Menu, said baking had “skipped a generation”.
He added: “Bakers are just getting younger.”
• The National Trust last year revealed the classic sponge sandwich to be the nation’s favourite cake, selling more sponge cakes than any other in its tea shops nationwide.
INGREDIENTS: 175g/6oz self-raising flour; 1 rounded tsp baking powder; 3 large eggs; 175g/6oz soft butter; 175g/6oz caster sugar.
• Pre-heat oven to 180C or gas mark 4.
• Grease two eight-inch cake tins.
• Beat sugar and butter together. Beat eggs and whisk into sugar and butter until thick and creamy.
• Fold in the sieved flour and baking powder and bake mixture in oven for around 30 to 35 minutes.
• When the cakes are ready, they should spring back when pressed in the middle.
• Spread with jam and cream and serve.