Ruby Bhogal

Ruby Bhogal

Ruby Bhogal

The TV baker and author on her top local foodie spots, her new cookbook and her wedding plans

Having first appeared on our TV screens in The Great British Bake Off, Ruby Bhogal has risen to become a top authority on creating stunning bakes. She has just had her debut cookbook One Bake, Two Ways published, which offers a range of sweet treats with a vegan alternative alongside the regular recipe.

She says: “I wanted a book I saw myself in. Someone who wants the choice, someone who won’t commit to either side and who wants to be able to cater for all. Whether my plant-based sister comes for dinner, or my dairy-loving friend pops over for a chat, I’ll have a recipe for most!” Recipes include everything from biscuits and breads to pies and show-stopping party pieces.

Ruby’s favourites? “This is like asking a parent who their favourite child is! However, a few of my firm faves are my Malt & Milk Chocolate Tiramisu, my Lemon Drizzle Loaf with Lemon Thyme & Custard and Banoffee Monkey Bread. I couldn’t even finish saying that without drooling slightly but all the recipes have gone down an absolute hoot whenever I have served them up for guests.”

If you’re a newbie to baking, Ruby has several recipes to start with. “Head to the chapter ‘Taking The Biscuit’, where you will find the easier recipes. It also gives you the chance to batch bake, meaning a secret stash of goodies in the freezer for whenever that cookie craving hits (which is 8pm on a Sunday without fail for me).”

Local favourites

Ruby has lived in south west London for three years and considers herself a south of the river girl for life. “I’ll take all the jokes about needing your passport to get into town any day because we truly have some great spots to eat and drink, as well as a number of incredible parks right on our doorstep.

“My favourite spot to hit every morning is Story Coffee. As someone who never used to be fussed over coffee, I now cannot start my day without a cup from there. There is also a new spot just opened up on the high street called Viet Caphe. You can smell the place before you see it. It smells incredible. I’m looking forward to ordering everything off the menu over the course of the year as I love Vietnamese food and the bits I have tried so far have been so delicious.”

Given baking is her career, there’s plenty of temptation – and, of course, you need to taste your own recipes. So how does she stay fit and healthy? “Being on your feet in the kitchen all day certainly helps. My step counter can be over 20,000 on most days and that is without stepping outside. Turns out walking back and forth from the fridge all day IS actually exercise!

“I also have a dog, so he ensures that I am not a total kitchen hermit and we are out every day, whatever the weather, twice a day. I also love to run and lift weights and tend to get a lot of recipe inspiration when on the treadmill – I only like to run outside when it is painfully cold!”

Ruby is engaged to BBC presenter James Stewart. As for the wedding, she says: “I would love to share wedding plans but quite honestly, we are yet to start! My cousin just got married a few weeks back where I had the enviable duo role of Maid of Honour/Cake Maker and let me tell you, I am slightly wedding’ed out for a while!

“I am torn between keeping the day super intimate with just a handful of loved ones or go all out for a big fat Indian Wedding. My heart says the latter but my brain says the former! All I know is that whatever sized affair we end up going for, I will have a dessert table (possibly plural), because one cake will never be enough and I will be wearing a traditional Indian lehenga because whether there are just 15 people on the day or 150, I will at least have that moment.”

Image by Rachel Sherlock.

Make Ruby’s Basque cheesecake. See the recipe here!