Meet the Baker: Amy-Beth Ellice
Amy-Beth is one talented young lady, she had her first book, Amy’s Baking Year, published in 2014, and had some of her recipes featured in the Sunday Express when she was just 14 years old.
Amy-Beth has been baking from an early age, inspired by her Mum, Gillian, and she hasn’t looked back since. As one of Britain’s youngest and most successful young bakers, we ask Amy-Beth about all things baking and what lies ahead for 2015 and beyond . . .
Baker Amy-Beth Ellice
We know you as a super talented baker, but how did you get started?
I started baking at the age of three, encouraged by my mum Gillian who is also a passionate home cook as were her parents. We baked for every special occasion when I was younger making edible gifts like biscuits or a cake to give to a friend or family member, which is something I still do today. There is nothing more special and thoughtful than giving the gift of your time by making a homemade treat for someone to enjoy, however simple it may be. I like to package my gifts in cellophane bags tied with a pretty ribbon. Hobbycraft have a great selection.
What was the inspiration behind your book?
My book is based around the four seasons with recipes for every special occasion in the calendar including Mother’s Day, Easter and Christmas along with recipes and tips for preparing the perfect picnic and cake sale. My inspiration comes from my childhood of baking treats for special occasion and times of the year such as autumn leaf biscuits which inspired my autumn leaf biscuits in the Autumn chapter of my book.
Was it hard choosing what recipes (they all look delicious!) to include?
Most of my recipes in Amy’s Baking Year are recipes that I have been making for years, including some recipes that have been passed down from family members like my auntie Lynn’s fudge that she taught me to make when I was younger, with some newer more modern creations of mine. People would always ask me for my recipes and secrets to successful baking, so it felt like the right time to share my recipes that have become favourites of my family and friends them for other people to enjoy as well.
Savoury or sweet, which is your favourite?
I do have a real sweet tooth but I enjoy making and eating savoury recipes just as much as I also have been cooking for just as long as I have been baking and have been brought up making healthy, everyday meals as well as sweet treats for special occasions.
What process do you go through when developing a new recipe?
When developing a new recipe I start by writing the basic recipe before experimenting with new flavours. I’ll then test the recipe, adapting it if needed. Once I am happy with the recipe my family act as my taste- testers.
Is there anything you’ve not yet baked that you’d like to try making?
I have covered a lot of ground in baking, with a variety of different recipes in my book. At the moment I am experimenting with different flavoured breads.
Tell us a bit more about your other crafting passions.
Since I was little I have loved art and design, and trying out various crafts. I have very early memories of making Pom Poms with my Grandma as well as being taught how to sew and to use a sewing machine by my Aunt who is very passionate about craft. She lives in Canada so I would look forward to her yearly visits so she could teach me another technique.
One of my favourite things that I used to make were lavender bags that I gave as gifts. I also enjoyed scrapbooking and making homemade greeting cards. I used to look forward to trips to Hobbycraft to buy all of my crafting tools and essentials. I love art, especially painting with oil paint. I visit Hobbycraft to buy my painting essentials including canvases, paints and brushes.
What are the five pieces of kit you couldn’t be without?
I couldn’t be without my pastel pink Kitchenaid stand mixer. It makes baking a breeze and is an essential for any keen baker who bakes regularly. Another essential is a spatula. I love to make my own decorations to top my cupcakes so fondant icing is a must have in my baking supplies. I have found the Rainbow dust edible glitters are the best with hologram white being my favourite colour to dust my cupcakes with. I have a collection of vintage aprons that I used in my book that I love wearing.
Are there any baking trends you think are going to be big for 2015?
Cookie pops are becoming increasingly popular, they’re like a cake pop but made with a biscuit recipe. I have a recipe in my book for lollipop biscuits which are great fun to bake.
What are your top three baking tips?
For people who are just getting into baking I would tell them to make sure that you measure out your ingredients accurately with a reliable set of scales as this is one of the crucial steps in baking to ensure you achieve the perfect bake. I would tell them to keep an eye on the time when you have something baking in the oven as it is easy to be distracted. I would also say that practice makes perfect so not to worry if a recipe doesn’t turn out perfectly the first time, eventually with practice it will.
Is there anywhere else we can find out more about your baking life?
I write a monthly seasonal column in OK! Magazine with recipes from my book along with gifts perfect for each special occasion. I also have a blog on my website where I write about something I have been doing, share tips for baking the perfect gift and share new recipes. You can also follow me on Twitter and Instagram for updates of what I am doing and baking inspiration.
We’re very much looking forward to you blogging for Hobbycraft! What kind of thing can our readers’ expect?
You can expect helpful baking tips and hints as well as themed recipes including my animal cupcake design for Hobbycraft coming soon.
And for the future? What’s next?
I am working on my next book along with hopefully pursuing a TV career as I hope to be on television baking my recipes with a goal to one day have my own show.