What better way to celebrate the return of Bake Off than to help yourself to a delicious slice of baking drama with one of these stories?
The Art of Baking Blind by Sarah Vaughan
Five amateur bakers compete in a baking competition and discover that the vision of perfect domesticity they aspire to may not be the whole truth. As unlikely alliances are forged and secrets rise to the surface, making the choicest choux bun seems the least of the contestants’ problems. For they will learn that while perfection is possible in the kitchen, it’s very much harder in life.
What more perfect setting is there for a meet cute than a man and a woman crossing forks over the last St John custard doughtnut?! (Nothing, and we can say that because we have conducted extensive taste tests.) This is exactly how food critic Laura Parker first meets Adam Bayley, who just might be the perfect man — except his job means she has to keep hers a secret.
The North Star Bakery has been in Hope’s family for generations, the secret recipes passed down from mother to daughter. But when the bakery runs into financial trouble and her elderly grandmother Rose takes a turn for the worse, Hope’s delicate balancing act is in danger of crumbling entirely. Then Rose reveals a shocking truth about her past and everything Hope thought she knew about her family and the bakery is turned upside down. At her grandmother’s request, Hope travels to Paris, armed only with a mysterious list of names. What she uncovers there could be the key to saving the bakery and the fulfilment of a star-crossed romance, seventy years in the making.
Irrepressible Biddy Leigh, under-cook at the foreboding Mawton Hall, only wants to marry her childhood sweetheart and set up her own tavern. But when her elderly master marries the young Lady Carinna, Biddy is unwittingly swept up in a world of scheming, secrets and lies. Forced to accompany her new mistress to Italy, Biddy takes with her an old household book of recipes, The Cook’s Jewel, in which she records her observations. When she finds herself embroiled in a murderous conspiracy, Biddy realises that the secrets she holds could be the key to her survival – or her downfall.
Laurie loves a challenge. Especially if it involves tea-time and travel. So when British baking treasure Pamela Lambert-Leigh needs a guide on a research trip for her new cookbook, she jumps at the chance. Laurie and Pamela will board a vintage London bus for a deliciously unusual tour of the USA’s East Coast, cruising from New York to Vermont to trade recipes for home-grown classics like Victoria Sponge and Battenburg for American favourites like Red Velvet Cake and Whoopie Pie. All the women have their secrets and heartaches to heal. As well cupcakes galore, there’s also the chance for romance…
What are you waiting for? Treat yourself!