I am originally from Conisbrough, near Doncaster but now live with my husband Ian in Somerton, Somerset. At 15 I took over the family baking and have been staying at the helm of the kitchen for over 50 years.
In my spare time I love to exercise and have even been caught doing aerobics in my kitchen whilst waiting for jam to boil or my bread to proove.
From listening to her sponges to knowing the perfect way to feed a crowd, Val’s experience and warmth in the kitchen comes through in The Cake Whisperer, her first cookbook.
In this collection of 52 tried and tested recipes, Val Stones, star of the Great British Bake Off in 2016, shares the best way to bake cakes, biscuits, pies and bread. She teaches all her skills including how to listen to what your bakes are telling you.
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The Great British Bake Off After reaching Round 5 (and so becoming the eighth best baker in the programme!), I returned to my own kitchen where I saw my Instagram account shoot up to almost 50,000 followers in a matter of weeks! I really hope this website will allow even more people to follow my baking. My first recipes are here under Cookies, Tray bakes, Tea-time and Cup-cakes. More to follow! I’ll be putting recipes up here whenever the mood takes me or followers ask me to – and there will be room for readers to add their own comments too!
UNITS After a lifetime of working in pounds and ounces and more recently in grams and kilos I have decided to enter the twenty-first century properly! All measurements on these pages will be in metric units. As you all know of me by now, there will be the odd pinch, handful or cupful and I urge you to try your own adjustments to suit your own tastes because this is how you become a baker too! All eggs are medium, all butter is unsalted (I use Lurpak or Le Président because they both have less water in them). As to oven temperatures, mine works in degrees celsius and I always use a fan oven. All the recipes here will just show something like ‘160C’ which mean 160 degrees celsius in my fan oven. So if you plan to follow many of my recipes you might need to develop a conversion table to suit your kitchen!
HOW TO LISTEN TO A CAKE Some people like to stab their cakes with askewer to see whether it’s cooked yet. Imagine: the poor thing has been in a hot, hot oven for three-quarters of an hour and suddenly someone opens the door, drives a skewer into its very heart then examines the blade like some roman oracle-reader! My way involves gently sliding my creation out of the warmth of its metallic womb and putting it to my ear. If it’s still burbling away, clearly still a bit over-excited, I’ll pop it back for another few minutes before listening again. With time you’ll learn just how much longer it needs before it’s cooked to perfection. Sounds crazy? It works! What I want to hear is a calm, contented bake that announces – with little more than a whisper – that it is ready to come out into the world and cool down. Beware though the totally silent cake, the cake with nothing to say at all. This is the cake that just might have gone past the point of no return. While it may still be