Kirsty McLuckie: Bake Off gives us big slice of kitchen envy

The Great British Bake Off’s return is a welcome addition to the autumn television schedules in our house.
Illustration: Zarian / ShutterstockIllustration: Zarian / Shutterstock
Illustration: Zarian / Shutterstock

The programme’s popularity isn’t just about the inspiration it gives to home bakers – the gravity-defying creations in fondant and sponge, the exotically-spiced biscuits or the lingering shots of warm, perfectly-symmetrical loaves that make your mouth water.

Quite a few of us salivate over the kitchen design and equipment too, and from the start of September, internet searches for kitchen items including the words “Bake Off” apparently went through the roof.

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Property portal, Boomin, has helpfully calculated just how much creating a Bake Off-inspired kitchen could set you back, calculating every ingredient of the famous tent, right down to the £4 mixing spoons and £14.95 gingham tablecloths .

Coming in at a total of £15,414, the budget should stretch to the very latest in baking technology, including a Neff Slide&Hide® oven and proving drawer, and the modern-day wonder that is the Quooker Flex tap.

The £15,000-plus kitchen is completed by Shaker-style cupboard doors, bespoke kitchen island and retro duck-egg-blue Smeg fridge.

Two items on the list peaked my interest. We already have a retro Smeg fridge, bought from an online discount outlet 14 years ago.

It isn’t in duck-egg-blue, it is in fact a bold Union Jack design, chosen by my husband in his single foray into having an opinion on kitchen design. He’s a fan of The Jam – the band not the preserve – and aspired to being a mod in his youth. As the West Coast weather is not conducive to keeping a Vespa, a Union Jack fridge seemed at least a nod to past enthusiasms.

Its design has caused much consternation since, with one Glaswegian visitor accusing us of having “a Rangers fridge”.

Friends who are keen proponents of Scottish independence have also raised eyebrows at it, but I note that their disapproval never stops them from imbibing its contents when spending an evening with us.

It is on its last legs now – insert your own jokes about the state of the union here – with a freezer compartment held shut with Blu Tac, a light that hasn’t worked for years and a door that no-one but us can quite master. But at £1,500 for a new one of a similar style, it will need to limp on.

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The other item that I ogle on Bake Off is a KitchenAid stand mixer. The way I feel about this glorious sculptural piece, with its clean lines and curves and air of mechanical simplicity, is akin to the feeling the husband has about his old Vespa – it is a design classic.

They are less pricey, but at £600, I can’t justify the expense, particularly as I’m not a baker and we aren’t particularly fond of cake.

But how nice to have one of these beauties, I daydream. It would somehow make me the type of genial host that can whip up a lemon drizzle in a matter of moments.

I think that given the circumstances this could be an acquisition where style over substance is allowed.

If anyone is getting rid of a KitchenAid mixer whose inner workings are beyond repair, I’d be interested. The cake I can buy.

- Kirsty McLuckie is Property Editor at The Scotsman