Amelia Le Bruin was on Great British Bake Off in 2019. She started baking at age five, watching her mum create beautiful cake decorations before learning how to make her own masterpieces. Among her proudest creations is a madeira and chocolate sponge she baked for her nephew’s fifth birthday, topped with intricately designed tiger and snow-leopard faces with a spider on top.

Amelia said her time on the show was all so much fun, meeting all the bakers, judges, and presenters. We caught up with Amelia and here’s what she had to say about her time on the show and this year’s current series.

Tell us about your time on GBBO

Being on The Great British Bake Off for me was a dream come true, as cliché as it sounds. I grew up watching the show with my mum and would sit and discuss my ideas for each challenge with her as we watched each week. The experience itself went beyond all my expectations. The biggest thing I have taken away from it are the friendships. I have friends for life and people who I speak to almost every day. I also learnt a lot about myself and its definitely given me more confidence in the kitchen to try out new things and push myself further.

What was your most challenging week?

Bread week was always going to be the most challenging for me, so it wasn’t a surprise when I was sent home at the end of it! Bread has been my nemesis since I was about 10-years-old and I avoided making it for most of my adult life too. I don’t have as much experience in making bread compared to other areas of baking so don’t always know how to troubleshoot it if things don’t go as expected – it’s always good to have a plan B when you’re in the tent!

What do you think of this year’s competitors?

This year’s bakers all seem so lovely – you can tell they all made such strong bonds! The friendship between Lottie and Mark L is particularly great. They’re a very talented bunch too. I always love seeing how everyone interprets the challenges and the different flavour combinations they bring to the table.

Who do you think will be final three?

I’m always rubbish at predicting anything in life! But I absolutely love Hermine’s flavour combinations and the judges seem to like them too, so she could be a contender for the final. I would love to see Laura there as well, she’s always so upbeat and when she referred to creme patisserie as ‘posh custard’, I knew we were definitely on the same wavelength!

Tell us how you fell in love with cooking / baking

I was taught to bake as a child by my grandma, I think it was a source of entertainment to keep me occupied more than anything else. My mum also trained in cake decorating before I was born, so I grew up around celebration cakes, watching eagerly from the side-lines wishing to be asked to help at any second. The older I got the more I started pushing myself in the kitchen, some of the birthday cakes I made for friends when I was still at school were pretty impressive for my age. I like to bake for celebrations so if someone’s birthday is coming up, I’ll find out their favourite flavours and go from there. My family also know that I’ll never turn up at my aunties on Boxing Day empty-handed!

Can you give us a secret recipe?

Not so much a secret recipe but two of my top tips: to help get a flat and even rise on your cakes (especially cupcakes) I always bake for the first 10 minutes at 100°C (fan) before turning the temperature up to whatever it says on the recipe. I don’t understand the science behind it or remember how I figured it out but it’s a rule to live by! Also, adding a couple of tablespoons of golden syrup to chocolate cakes never goes a miss.

If someone can’t cook / bake what would you say the easiest three things are to learn?

If you can master a Victoria Sponge, then the cake world is your oyster! It’s a fool proof recipe that can be easily adapted to include your favourite flavours and fillings. You can make it into cupcakes, miniature loaves or the traditional sandwich sponge. It’s one of the first recipes I learnt and still go back to it now for the base of new ideas.

Three ingredient biscuits? Yes please! Shortbread is another great basic recipe worth mastering. It’s a crowd pleaser and another bake that you can easily personalise with different flavours, think zests, herbs and spices. The best part is that you can be eating them within an hour of getting started.

Winter is fast approaching which means hearty puddings are back on the menu. Fruit crumble is another one that easily adapted. You can use fresh or frozen fruits and experiment with different sugars in the crumble topping. You could also add oats or crushed nuts, crumbles are a good excuse to throw in whatever you can find in your fridge and cupboards! If you’re feeling really fancy you could even make your own custard to go with it, also totally fine if you pick up a carton on your way home from work too though.

What was it like when you met Paul and Pru?

It was really exciting to meet the judges and Sandy and Noel. I’ve been such a big fan of the show since it first started. The judging goes on for a lot longer than you get to see in the show, Paul and Pru really know their stuff, so it was great to hear all the tips and advice they gave to myself and all the other bakers.

What’s next for you?

I have recently started working at a swimwear brand which I’m really excited about. I’m definitely still baking as much as I can (much to my housemate’s enjoyment) and always looking to try out new recipes and ideas.

If you want to bake my brownies from my video here is how…

Ingredients:

  • 140g unsalted butter
  • 240g light brown sugar
  • 70g golden syrup
  • 1tsp sea salt
  • 175g dark chocolate
  • 50g milk chocolate
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 75g plain flour
  • Any nuts/chocolate chips/extras (optional)

Method:

Preheat the oven to 180C (fan)

Grease and line a 20cm square tin

Melt together unsalted butter, light brown sugar and golden syrup in a saucepan over a medium heat.

Take off the heat and add salt with the dark and milk chocolate. Leave to melt together before stirring until smooth.

Beat in the eggs one by one, and then stir through flour until combined.

If adding any optional extras to the brownies pour in half of the mixture, add extras, then pour the second half on top.

Bake at 180c for 30-40 minutes, until the centre is risen and fairly firm (there should still be a bit of a wiggle!)

Leave to cool in the tin for about 10-15 minutes before taking out and cutting into 16 squares.