Briony May Williams is a presenter, proud Bristolian and a much-loved Great British Bake Off alumni. Briony is sharing some of her favourite celebration cake recipes in a selection of special edition Yuup experiences. She tells us about how Bake Off changed her life, why she loves Bristol and what she hopes people will get from her baking experiences...
I didn’t start baking properly until 2013. I was off work for about nine months because I was ill – my colleague knew that I’m not very good at sitting still, so she suggested baking as a way of keeping me busy. The first cakes that I made were a disaster but I got better by baking for family and friends, and making lots and lots of birthday cakes. Initially I learnt everything on YouTube and to be honest I didn’t really do any baking beyond cakes until Bake Off.
I did the application to Bake Off completely in secret – I didn’t even tell my husband or my mum. I just sent it off on a whim one night after watching the semi-finals in 2017. I completely forgot about it, and then I started getting all these missed calls from a mystery London number. I didn’t think anything of it until after about a week I listened to my voicemails... They said they were just about to give up on me – can you imagine if I hadn’t got those messages in time?
I’ve had so much fun since I did Bake Off. Life has taken on a whole new direction, but in the best way possible. I got to go on Blue Peter – I got a Blue Peter badge and I got to say: “Here’s one I made earlier!” And I got slimed on Saturday morning kids’ TV – that was pretty cool. I never thought that’s the direction that my life would go in, but it’s awesome – I just embrace every opportunity that comes my way, and I feel so lucky.
I love Bristol for many reasons… it’s a beautiful city, it’s very green, the people are amazing. You don’t realise that it’s such a big city when you meet the people, because everyone is so friendly. When I was on Bake Off, I felt so supported by Bristol – they were so behind me. I’d get people stopping me on the street saying “we’re so proud of you”. It’s lovely – it still happens now even two years later.
For visitors to Bristol, a must is to go to the Harbourside, and go down to Cargo to explore all the amazing restaurants there. There are so many places to eat – you could literally eat there for days. The food scene in Bristol is phenomenal and it’s just gone from strength to strength in the past few years.
For people who live here, I’d say keep discovering. There are so many new things to explore; new restaurants opening, independent shops, new exhibitions… The city is always changing and it feels like there’s a constant flow of exciting new places to go.
When people come to my Yuup baking experiences I just want them to have a really good time. I want there to be laughter and enjoyment and of course I want people to learn some new baking skills, but also to have a lot of fun doing it. I’d like them to leave with a glorious looking cake and a big smile on their face! My top tip for aspiring bakers? If you’re serious, invest in a good mixer and it will change your life. Seriously!
Bake with Briony in one of our special edition Yuup experiences...
Bake a celebration cake with Briony May Williams