When I hear “Nadiya Hussain” and “bake” in the same breath, I know to pay attention. While the season 6 winner of the Great British Baking Show and host of numerous cooking shows, including Nadiya Bakes, is best known for her cakes and tarts, Nadiya Bakes, the book (which came out in the U.K. last September and in the U.S. this July), is her first to focus on baking.
“Baking is my first love,” writes Hussain in the introduction. “So nothing gives me greater pleasure than to finally be able to share this beautiful book with you. I could have begun writing this book and never really stopped, but the powers that be said I had to!” Referring to its contents as a collection of recipes that are “traditional, twisted, and everything in between,” Hussain says she thought about these 100-plus recipes all day, then dreamed about them all night.
From classics-with-a-twist like Earl Grey Sticky Toffee Pudding and Cardamom Lemon Iced Buns to no-bake treats like Banana Ice Cream Cheesecake to savory snacks like Rose Harissa Rugelach and Rainbow Veg Pakora Picnic Pie, there’s a recipe to please every palate—and every level of home baker. If you want to beat meringue and make yeasted breads, Hussain’s got you covered; but if you’d prefer to use premade puff pastry and store-bought jam, there are recipes for you, too.
Indeed, the book was a labor of love to say the least, but what’s particularly refreshing about Nadiya Bakes is the fact that Hussain goes out of her way to acknowledge that not everyone loves baking as much as she does. Or maybe they’re interested in baking, but simply don’t have much experience yet. Instead of writing exclusively for those who regularly spend an afternoon covered in flour and sugar, she addresses less passionate and inexperienced bakers directly: “Baking doesn’t have to be your first love, or indeed anywhere in a long list of loves like mine, but perhaps it’s waiting to become one of yours, and maybe you’ll find just the recipe in here to ignite the love or at the very least fuel it.”
While I happen to be more like Hussain, and count baking among my most-beloved pastimes, I’m looking forward to gifting Nadiya Bakes to those who don’t bake quite as often, because it’s books like this one—heavy on finding joy in baking as opposed to obsessing over technique—that get people into the kitchen to experiment with new recipes, and as Hussain writes, to “bake, eat, love, repeat.”